Farm Futures will foster a conversation on the pros and cons of Big Data, one of the hottest topics in agriculture. The Big Data debate is one of 21 sessions that will take place during the 2015 Farm Futures Business Summit, being held Jan. 7-8 at the Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel in St. Louis.
“While companies have collected and analyzed agronomic data for some time, the amount of real-time information we can collect now is staggering,” says Brian Marshall, a Missouri farmer who will speak at the summit. “It is a big change that is cause for both excitement and concern.”
Several agricultural equipment firms have introduced technology whereby the data from combines is uploaded every few seconds to the Cloud. Real-time yield data is available to whoever controls those databases. But more important, who owns and controls the data?
“A farmer’s information is valuable, so farmers should have a say in and be compensated when their data is sold,” says Marshall. “Farmers need to protect their data and make sure they bargain wisely as they share it with suppliers and interested companies.”
Along with Marshall, the panel also includes Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation; Bruce Erickson, education distance and outreach director, Purdue University; and Jim Krogmeier, Open Ag Data Alliance.