Data, it’s ownership and privacy have been a hot topic of conversation this year in ag. Who owns what? Who should have access to your data? Or even, what data should be available for purchase?

The conversation I’m interested in isn’t about finger-pointing, it’s about transparency and understanding of what we have.

If you’re getting a free service or app, you probably should expect that your data is going to be sold and used in marketing efforts by other businesses. These may be either positive or negative to you, I should add.

Then there’s the paid services. Is it ok to still sell data if the user has paid to use the platform?

Agriculture is on a new path where data is vital. We’re seeing those who buy your grain wanting more of your data.

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe if you’re sending data indicating that yields, quality profiles and time of harvest is going to be different this year compared to last, the buyer will make better decisions to value add the grain and return some of those better returns to you.

I like to think eventually this is where we’ll go, but for now, data is handled selfishly. “How can I benefit from this?”

We’ve seen the rise of service providers in recent years offering their service for free, in exchange for your data. Google has become one of the biggest companies in the world by doing it, so I can’t blame anyone for following. But as business owners, we need to be sensible with our assets. Then again, is it an asset if it’s not generating revenue?