Who owns the data collected on your farm?

13 Apr, 2017 11:03 AM
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Farmers should be aware of who owns the data collected in their farm software packages.
Some terms about control and access to farm data can often be can be locked under layers of detail.
Farmers should be aware of who owns the data collected in their farm software packages.

Clicking the ‘I agree’ box on digital farming software could see some farmers giving away their valuable farm data, according to a leading legal academic.

Associate Professor Leanne Wiseman will be sharing insights into on-farm data-mustering at the free national Farming Together conference on June 6.

She will explain to attendees at the Adelaide conference how farmers could gain the upper-hand in data ownership.

Based at Griffith University, Dr Wiseman said: “Some terms about control and access to farm data can often be can be locked under layers of detail. This can create a power imbalance between multinational agribusinesses and small farming businesses, as farmers are often unaware of the terms upon which they are giving away their farm data.

“A recent extension of Australian unfair contract laws to include small farming business contracts provides a golden opportunity for a rethink as to the approaches to farm data ownership.”

The Farming Together project has been helping farmers across the country form into groups to gain marketplace strength. Some are seeking ways to share their digital farming information for productivity and profitability gains.

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon said: “Leanne’s knowledge is another way that this program is helping to tip the balance of power back in favour of smaller farmers, especially when it comes to innovations involving data.”

Before joining Griffith University, Dr Wiseman was a senior lecturer in law at QUT and worked in private practice and government as a solicitor. She is leading research into the legal issues arising from the collection, aggregation and dissemination of on-farm data through the Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture (P2D supported by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. http://www.farminstitute.org.au/P2Dproject)

Farmers from across Australia are expected to attend the Farming Together forum. They will be hearing from farmers who have used the program to form or expand co-operatives and collaborations as well as experts, such as Dr Wiseman, offering practical ‘how-to’ advice.

Free farmer registrations for the Adelaide conference are now open at https://www.surveymonkey.com /r/2017adelaideforum.

Farming Together is a two-year, $13.8 million initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.

Farming Together is being delivered by Southern Cross University on behalf of the Australian Government. It comprises a highly experienced senior team drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

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