Environment
2:10 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Farmers concerned about sharing data

As farmers use information technology to grow more with less money, many are being asked to share their data. But they're worried about security, privacy, and other problems that could crop up. 

This month, the American Farm Bureau Federation met with officials from six, large companies, including John Deere and Monsanto, to talk about "ag tech" information. 

Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Relations for the federation, says midwestern corn and soybean farmers have used GPS and weather information to maximize yield for years. But now the question is whether to share the data with agronomists to analyze and help improve efficiency.

Farmers want to know how their data would be used and who'd have access to it. Thatcher says the vast majority of the 60 companies that offer "ag tech" services say they will make the information anonymous, but not GPS coordinates. That could give "data miners" a way to identify farmers and their locations.