Ohio State joins initiative to put farmers in control of data they collect


Staff report



The Ohio State University has joined a coalition that will put important farm data into the hands of farmers while keeping it secure.

The Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC) is dedicated to helping farmers better control, manage and maximize the value of the data they collect every day in the fields. It is the result of years of planning and coordination by AGCO, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Auburn University, CNH Industrial, Crop IMS, Mississippi State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Raven Industries, Topcon Positioning Group and Ohio State.

ADC’s goal is to build a national online repository where farmers can securely store and control the information collected by their tractors, harvesters, aerial drones and other devices. Over time, that data can then be scrubbed, synced and transmitted in an efficient and uniform way to third parties — whether they are researchers, crop insurance agents, government officials, farm managers, input providers or any trusted adviser the farmer chooses.

“We are excited to be a member of the Agricultural Data Coalition,” said Scott Shearer, professor and department chair for the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He is also a member of the Translational Data Analytics work at Ohio State. “This effort will help farmers and their advisers capitalize on the data they are collecting today, while maximizing options, opportunities, and needed security to take full advantage of prescriptive agriculture services and Big Data offerings.”

Ohio State created Translational Data Analytics (TDA) at Ohio State in 2014 to integrate the university’s data analytics expertise and – among other goals – to create multidisciplinary solutions in precision agriculture. Funding for TDA was made possible by the university’s Discovery Themes initiative, which is dedicated to using the university’s unmatched breadth and expertise to pursue solutions to the most important challenges of our times.

Being a member of the ADC and having access to data sets will accelerate the development of new and innovative crop, pest, hydrologic and business models for agriculture, said John Fulton, precision agriculture specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the college. Fulton and Shearer have been working together on this project since Fulton started at Ohio State in 2014.

“We will be able to evaluate and enhance ag data services, and Extension will be able to enhance programming with near real-time information delivery on cropping conditions, growing condition alerts and recommendations,” Fulton said.

A press briefing on the ADC was held today in New Orleans for media attending the annual Commodity Classic.

“The key is that farmers are in complete control, and they decide who is allowed access to their data,” explains ADC Interim Executive Director Matt Bechdol. “That’s what sets ADC apart.

“This is not about profit for others, it’s about streamlining data management, establishing clear lines of control, and helping growers utilize their data in ways that ultimately benefit them.”

Farmers interested in learning more about data collection, and organizations interested in joining ADC’s efforts, may visit www.AgDataCoaltion.org.

Staff report

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