Involving Farmers in the Data Conversation

In my previous posts on this subject, I wrote about how New Zealand farming organisations and farmers are attempting to improve how data flows and is used in the agricultural sector. We are addressing this with a Code of Practice for Farm Data that addresses issues of transparency and good data practices, along with a common vocabulary that helps organisations to use the same terms and technical descriptions for data, making it meaningful to share data.

The third aspect is involving farmers in the data conversation. Organisations that represent farmers (such as Federated Farmers and the levy bodies) are already involved at a policy level, but I’m talking about allowing individual farmers to have a say in how the data about their farms is used, and by whom.

In my earlier post I used the term “data sharing technologies that support access control and security” as a description of this. I can best explain this with an example, and perhaps an illustration.

Let’s imagine that two organisations are ready to share some data. They comply with the Farm Data Code of Practice, so they have good data management policies and understandable terms and conditions. They make use of the Farm Data Standards, so they have common data that it makes sense to share.

How do they make sure the farmer knows what data will be shared, and check that it is OK to do so? How does the organisation that collected the data ensure the recipient uses the data in a way that lines up with the terms the collector agreed with the farmer?

The problem to solve


What a solution might look like


A group of organisations led by two Primary Growth Partnerships – theTransforming the Dairy Value Chain PGP and the Red Meat Profit Partnership PGP – have been considering this and we think there is opportunity to lift the data integration approach up a notch. The approach our group is proposing would make use of modern Internet standards such as OAUTH (a way of getting permissions) and REST (a data transfer approach), in combination with a way of agreeing some standardised licences (and perhaps custom ones if necessary). A small, lightweight central portal will help organisations discover who holds data and provide confidence that participating organisations have agreed to the necessary terms and/or the Farm Data Code of Practice.

This is a more focussed exercise than the wider Farm Data Code of Practice and Farm Data Standards work, so the PGP project (managed by Rezare Systems and Scarlatti) are putting together a coalition of willing organisations initially, and then widening this to other companies who manage farm data and are willing to be involved.

Would your organisation be interested in participating? Want to know more? Please get in touch.