The development of a secure, online repository where farmers can store, manage and control the information generated on their farms took a major step forward as the Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC) initiated its pilot to demonstrate how a neutral repository of data would work to connect data among growers, service providers and machines.
A group of growers, service providers and university researchers from different parts of the country, representing numerous commodities, is participating in the testing phase to offer feedback on pace and direction for ADC's data bank before it is officially offered to the entire farming community.
"This is an exciting phase for ADC and underlines that a focused approach to solving key basic data challenges is appreciated," ADC interim executive director Matt Bechdol explained.
Bechdol described the new repository like a bank: Farmers deposit, or upload, data to a secure cloud, where they can organize, manage and share it. When farmers want to share information – with service providers, insurance agents, researchers, input providers or farm managers, for example – they authorize ADC to transmit it with the click of a button. Service providers can also make deposits with the grower's permission.
"The key is that farmers remain in complete control of their asset," Bechdol said. "We just streamline the process for them and ease the data management and transmission burden along the way."
He added, "We have been working hand in hand with technology experts and farm leaders to ensure that the product will be secure, user friendly and address the primary pains of data management and sharing. While this is certainly only a first step, our next steps will be dictated by the farmer leadership on our advisory board, the pilot users and our diverse group of founding members."
Bechdol noted that a key message from advisors and stakeholders was to be efficient and leverage strong partners in the marketplace to support the pilot. To achieve that goal, ADC is working with technical partners: Independent Data Management LLC, the first company to receive the Ag Data Transparent seal, and AgIntegrated Inc., an expert in connecting a disconnected agriculture for nearly a decade.
"This is a very important step in our efforts to allow for our farmers and growers to fully harness the power of their data," said Deb Casurella, chief executive officer of Independent Data Management. "We are very excited to be working with the ADC as a technical partner and look forward to helping the coalition in the future as we continue on our mission to build a neutral, efficient and cost-effective repository to store this valuable information."
ADC's founding members include: AGCO, American Farm Bureau Federation, Auburn University, CNH Industrial, Crop IMS, Ice Miller LLP, Mississippi State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, Raven Industries and Topcon Positioning Group.
For more information, visit www.AgDataCoalition.org.