Social media, click bait and online shopping can swallow up endless amounts of time, increasingly connected in that they’ve all become more customized to us as individual consumers.

For me, it’s still as unsettling as it is convenient to see a “suggested” post filtered into my Facebook feed on a product I spent perhaps 2 minutes browsing for online. Accessing almost anything online now requires a password and a “user agreement” which of course, none of us read.

But as we all know — reinforced by the recent data-collection debacle with Facebook — online information is attainable, whether we agree to it or not.

As farmers are uploading planting prescriptions this spring and then collecting data to apply for the following year, many are utilizing app-based platforms that integrate into the display in their tractor or their mobile device.

Vetting those providers ahead of time is good practice, to avoid any unexpected consent to share collected data with third-party vendors. Precision dealers can serve as resources to their farm customers, advising them on the policies and practices of data providers.

Talking with one precision farming manager recently, he notes that one of his responsibilities is to “care about the privacy of my customers’ data, more than they do.”

He sees this as a proactive approach to avoid having to explain to a customer that their data was breached or they unknowingly authorized it to be shared. Even a small percentage of affected users could create a ripple effect of problems.

Even though a fraction of Facebook users were impacted by the recent data collecting effort, it was enough to create pushback and prompt an investigation. The precision manager doesn’t want to see this scenario play out with his customers.

“We've got to make sure we care on behalf of our customers,” he says. “There's going to be a day they do care, and if we weren't doing our homework or doing the right process ahead of time, those aren’t going to be pleasant conversations.”