Reflecting the increasing importance of data usage and privacy issues to America’s farmers, the American Farm Bureau Federation has joined AgGateway, the non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, enabling and expanding eBusiness in agriculture.

“Our farmers are continually seeking better tools to increase profitability, and there are multiple exciting projects at AgGateway designed to improve how farmers use data to meet that goal,” said American Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy Mary Kay Thatcher. “We look forward to participating in and supporting the efforts that will make it easier for farmers to use data, and in a secure and safe way.”

“It’s very timely and helpful to have the participation and support of the Farm Bureau,” said AgGateway Executive Vice President and COO Wendy Smith. “Growers are faced with increasing operational complexity, regulatory requirements, and domestic and international market pressures – but at the same time, they are hampered by the inability of their systems and equipment to exchange data in a way that could help improve their productivity. They’re also concerned about data privacy, ownership and security. These are some of the key issues that AgGateway is focusing on today.”

AgGateway’s Precision Ag Council is currently working on field operations, precision water management, telematics and crop insurance/compliance reporting. More than 90 companies are participating in the Precision Ag Council. One of the council’s projects, the Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) Project, is addressing the problem of moving data from machine systems to farm management information systems (FMIS) and to other FMIS so that the farmer and ag retailer can improve decision-making and improve productivity.

As the work within SPADE is implemented, growers and ag retailers will be able to easily move data between software programs and systems to securely share data. Among other things, this will simplify mixed-fleet field operations and improve decision making, and make it easier for growers to share data with their trusted advisors and other partners.

In addition, AgGateway’s Data Privacy and Security Working Group will soon publish a white paper that examines the historical, legal and regulatory perspectives on the issue, provides key terminology and principles, and in general gives a roadmap of how to proceed in establishing security, protection and privacy standards and procedures.

More information on AgGateway projects will be available at the AgGateway Mid-Year Meeting in Altoona, IA, June 9-12.