American Farm Bureau Federation Survey Finds Majority of Farmers Fear Data Use without Consent

“As the Internet of Things expands and data collection remains a multi-billion dollar business, we’ll see concerns about data privacy in every sector, industry, and profession,” says TrustArc CEO Chris Babel.

A recently published survey of 3,380 farmers from The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) conducted from late July to September this year found that the majority of farmers feared their data could be used without their consent. The farmers surveyed cite privacy as a top concern when it comes to their data –particularly keeping their data anonymous so it cannot be traced back to their operation.

Key takeaways from the survey:

    • Three out of four farmers are concerned that their farm data could get in the hands of an entity and be used for regulatory purposes.
    • More than 50% of farmers indicated that they plan on investing in new or additional precision data technologies in the next couple of years.
    • More than half of farmers indicated they were unsure whether or not their farm data could be shared with an off-farm company’s third party, business partner, or affiliate.

Today’s farmers utilize technology to measure yield, soil conditions, fertilizers used, and much more. For major operations, this software is necessary to compete with other farms. Understandably, privacy is a concern for farmers because if their competitors were able to access this data, they would know everything about their operation, including the farmer’s cost structure. This would allow competitors to bid for land or seeds successfully.

The companies that make this software for farmers hold the keys to the kingdom of a farmer’s operation, which is why it’s essential for these companies to have a solid privacy policy in place. Farmers want to use this helpful software, but companies need to ensure transparent and compliant privacy practices are in place in order to assuage consumer concerns.