Updated: Are We Ready for Autonomous Tractors?

Updated: Are We Ready for Autonomous Tractors?

Although Google’s autonomous car appears to be getting most of the press, the auto-guidance system on tractors, combines, sprayers and other farm equipment has been around for years. 

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Will “Big Data” Help the Small Farm, Large Farm, or Both?

Will “Big Data” Help the Small Farm, Large Farm, or Both?

I have spoken at a number of events this past six months about the legal issues arising from the transfer of ag data from the farm into cloud-based platforms managed by ag technology providers (ATPs). Moving to the cloud is not for everyone, but what has surprised me is that the complaints I hear are from both “small” and “larger” farms.  This post explores those complaints and asks, who is big data really for, the small farm or large farm?

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Big Data Considerations for Rural Property Professionals

Big Data Considerations for Rural Property Professionals

I recently contributed to an article about big data considerations for rural property appraisers and other professionals in Journal for the The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.  Here is an excerpt and link to the full article.

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Ag Data Survey: Providers Must Do More to Explain How Data is Used

Ag Data Survey: Providers Must Do More to Explain How Data is Used

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) conducted a survey of farmers to determine whether their attitudes about ag data had changed since the prior survey a couple years ago.  The results were very interesting. Most farmers still do not have a solid understanding on what happens to their data when they move it from on-farm storage to cloud-based storage with an ag tech provider (ATP).

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Addressing Ag Data in Custom Farming Contracts

Addressing Ag Data in Custom Farming Contracts

As custom harvesters make their way across the United States and Canada this summer, I keep wondering what happens to all that yield data these machines are collecting.  I am sure much of the data is forwarded to the landowners and farmers so that they can make decisions for next year.  I hope so.  But do custom harvesters address this in their agreements?  Here are some suggestions for how they should.

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Frustrations with the Cloud

Frustrations with the Cloud

Janzen Ag Law recently converted from Windows laptops to Apple MacBooks.  I could write a book about the changes from Microsoft’s Windows to Apple’s OS, but one thing is the same—both Microsoft and Apple are now insistent on forcing users to use their cloud platforms.  Windows embeds its cloud, “OneDrive” into everything. Apple’s mandatory sentencing to iCloud is not much better. Avoiding these cloud servers takes time and effort. As a result, I cannot tell you how many times I have saved a document into a cloud drive when that was not my intent.

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Searching for Ag Data's ROI

Searching for Ag Data's ROI

Countless articles have been written about the potential value of ag data.  But the immediate question for farmers trying to decide whether to invest in an ag data product is what is the return on investment (ROI) for this year? Listening to grower panels at precision ag events has convinced me that most farmers still don’t know what the ROI is for most ag data products on the market. 

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Defining the Ag Data Pipelines

Defining the Ag Data Pipelines

There are many ways to describe the data that is streaming off the farm today.  This post explores five currently accepted categories of ag data and how they are being used.

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Interview with Precision Ag about Ag Data Transparency

Interview with Precision Ag about Ag Data Transparency

While attending Commodity Classic, I did an interview with Matt Grassi at PrecisionAg.com about the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator.  Here is an excerpt and link to the full interview.  

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When Will Tesla's Electricity Come to the Farm?

When Will Tesla's Electricity Come to the Farm?

Tesla is revolutionizing the automotive industry. My new office is near a Tesla store so I frequently see the Tesla Model S driving by.  For those not acquainted with Tesla, the company builds all-electric cars that have a range of over 250 miles per charge. No complicated hybrid drive. No gas required, ever. I keep wondering when Tesla will step into other markets and more importantly, will agriculture be one of them? This post explores whether the “all-electric” philosophy would work on the farm.  

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The Ag Data Transparency Evaluator

The Ag Data Transparency Evaluator

The problems farmers have with embracing farm data programs are well documented, but I think it comes down to three things: trust, time, and complexity. Trust--many farmers don't know what happens to their data after they send it to an ag technology provider (ATP).  Time--farmers are already busy. Who has time to read detailed privacy policies and data license agreements.  Complexity--farm data contracts are different than normal farm contracts.

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Do Farmers Need Legislation to Protect Their Ag Data?

Do Farmers Need Legislation to Protect Their Ag Data?

Federal legislation often arrives in areas where state laws are so inconsistent that citizens or industries demand uniformity. We have seen this over and over in the history of the United States. For example, we are seeing inconsistent GMO labeling laws prompt a push for a national GMO labeling standard (Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act).  GMO proponents would not normally want mandatory labeling, but a patchwork quilt state-regulatory system is much worse. Will the same issues arise with agricultural data?

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How a 1940's Chicken Farmer Case Answered: Who Owns the Sky?

How a 1940's Chicken Farmer Case Answered: Who Owns the Sky?

Who owns the air above your farm?  Although UAVs have caused many people to ask this question recently, the United States Supreme Court addressed this issue way back in 1946. This post tells the story of chicken farmer that sued the US government because military aircraft were "trespassing" on the airspace above his property.  

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What Makes Ag Data "Ownership" Unique

What Makes Ag Data "Ownership" Unique

The concept of ag data “ownership” is not recognized by United States law.  Farmers like to say “I own my ag data.”  Ag technology companies like to say “the farmer owns their data.” And the industry representatives like to say “the farmer should own their data.”  But the reality is that “ownership” is a legal principle that must be recognized by courts or a law, and that has not happened yet in the United States.

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Janzen Ag Law's Year in Reverse

Janzen Ag Law's Year in Reverse

As 2015 comes to end, here is a look back at the top five stories from the Janzen Ag Law blog over the past year.

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The Janzen Ag Law Blog 3.0

The Janzen Ag Law Blog 3.0

Five years after I started the Janzen Ag Law Blog, I decided it was time to take a look back at what led to this point.  This post looks at the evolution of the blog.

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Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data

Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data

It has been nearly a year since American Farm Bureau Federation led a consortium of interested ag technology providers (ATPs) and industry stakeholders in an effort to bring some standards to the growing ag data field.  I thought it was worth taking another look at the result of these efforts, the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data.

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House Ag Committee Holds Hearings on Farm Data

House Ag Committee Holds Hearings on Farm Data

The US House Ag Committee recently held hearings on farm data issues, including privacy, security, use and control.  

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Four Takeaways from the Ag Data Platforms Conference

Four Takeaways from the Ag Data Platforms Conference

I recently attended the Precision Ag Data Platforms conference in Champaign, Illinois.  Here are my reflections on the state of the ag data platforms industry.

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My Top 10 Farm Data Posts

My Top 10 Farm Data Posts

This recaps ten of my most popular posts about the legal issues surrounding farm data.

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