Farmers produce a lot of data and companies want their information. What are they going to do with it? Should farmers be getting something out of it, monetarily-wise, for that information? 

That’s an excellent question. There’s two schools of thought here. There’s some farmers who are like, ‘I don’t care what companies do with the data as long as they simplify my operation and I can produce better recommendations and make more profit per acre.” 

However, there’s another school of thought. That being farmers should be able to get those recommendations anyway because they are paying for the service. So if companies want to take the farm data that’s been produced over the years, there should be a value to that data.

Right now, there hasn’t been a lot done in that second scenario. But there are some companies and there is a movement to ask ‘What is the value of farmers’ information?’ 

This is kind of like data cooperatives that I’ve seen. There’s one just outside of Kansas City, a couple hours from where I live, that has been successful with sales of farm data. The farmers involved were all in agreement with it and they decided to do that so they put their data in that data lake. If any company wanted to use it, they would have to pay for it. 

Based on what I’ve seen, a lot of companies are trying to have a fine line inside their privacy agreement about data aggregation being okay. They can’t single out a farmer’s data, but they can aggregate it, use it for other things without paying for it. 

The only way farmers are going to get paid for that data is if more and more farmers start speaking up and saying that they’re not putting their information on this platform unless a company tells them how they are going to be reimbursed for any use of this data outside of what it’s intended for, which is the individual farm.

Hear more from Dr. Ray Asebedo in our Strip-Till Farmer podcast series, sponsored by Topcon Agriculture and read more from his Technology Tips series