UK farmers are being asked for their views to help AHDB shape a code of practice which will promote safe sharing of data across the industry.
Once developed, the code will provide a framework of trust and transparency, so farmers are confident they know what will happen with their data when sharing with the agri-food sector.
“The use of data is transforming every industry, including agriculture, and we need to have the systems in place to embrace this. The lack of a coherent set of principles that the agri-food sector can sign up to is, we believe, a significant gap which means data is not being shared in the volumes we’d like to see,” said Tom Hind, AHDB chief strategy officer.
“There are potentially huge productivity gains to be made from better data sharing throughout the supply chain. But these will not be realised unless farmers are confident that their data will be used responsibly and its use supports their business.”
Data sharing codes in agriculture have started to emerge in the past few years in New Zealand, the US and Europe. The main driver for these has been to protect farmers’ rights in relation to data that’s come from their farming operations.
“It is crucial farmers have confidence that they control their data and where they release or share that control it’s clear under what terms and conditions this is done,” said Rezare Systems UK’s managing director Julian Gairdner, who is leading the project for AHDB.
“The code we developed in New Zealand was strongly focused on this and has subsequently lead to other initiatives to standardise data and provide flexible technologies to transmit and share it.”
Over the summer, Rezare conducted a series of industry stakeholder workshops to understand the key issues around data sharing and to help develop a draft code of practice.
“Over 60 organisations and farmers took part,” Mr Gairdner confirmed. “But now we need more farmers to have their say through the online survey. It’s a relatively short questionnaire that should take around five minutes. It will allow us to gauge farmer views on the importance of sharing data, the relevance of a code, and how it should operate and be governed.”
The survey, which can be found at https://www.ahdb.org.uk/unlocking-the-potential-of-farm-data–survey, will run until Friday 30 November.
The aim is to share the code of practice and recommendations for roll out in the new year.