The ability to collect, control and harness data in any given industry is critical towards the creation of goods and services that generate distinct market advantages. 

Farm data is the staple of our business at KG2 as it provides necessary insights into the Agricultural industry that can be used to benefit both farm gate and agribusiness. Digital agriculture has become the focus tool used to collect, store and share this data along the Agricultural supply chain and a focus of our market research in recent years.

With enhanced technological products and knowledge of how these products work comes greater productivity and exponential income growth for farmers. It is our job to make sure these farmers-particularly smallholder farmers- can actually benefit from this new age of data and transparency, because at the moment many are not.

Using our farmer database at KG2 we speak to thousands of farmers each week, many of whom are reluctant to share their data due to privacy and security concerns. This is an absolutely fair justification on their part given the current lack of transparency on legislation issues such as data ownership, data rights, data privacy and data security – however it also makes it much harder for these farmers to adopt the most up to date and profitable practices in an increasingly digitized world.

Fortunately for farmers, codes of conduct are beginning to emerge to fill this legislative void which has been causing strain on advancing industry data sharing. 

Some of the centralised issues these codes look to cover include:

  • terminology
  • data ownership
  • data rights
  • privacy issues
  • security
  • consent
  • disclosure
  • transparency

Whilst these codes are not yet legally binding, they do serve to build awareness around the importance of big data and data flows in agribusiness and making farmers more aware of their rights, which should give them comfort to participate in increasingly more open talks regarding their properties.

Who are these codes aimed at?

One key issue that still needs addressing is the fact that these existing codes do not have farmers as their primary target audience, but rather the agribusinesses and Ag tech companies that collect and use their data.

 KG2 currently acts as the bridge between farmers and these companies because of our relationships and trust building with farmers across every agricultural industry in Australia for more than 20 years. However, we agree that moving forward necessary changes need to be made to legislation that put the farmer’s interests above agribusiness and Ag tech companies. Undoubtedly, Farmers associations will play a vital role in representing farmers and negotiating future legislative changes regarding data.

Our hope is that by including the farm gate in developing digital agriculture codes of conduct, the power imbalances and data asymmetries that currently plague the industry will be quashed. Ultimately this should generate a more ethical approach to data management in the sector which will enhance trust and transparency alongside efficiency and profitability.