Farm Data Ownership
Modern farm technology is not only designed to produce more crops, but also to produce more data. The question of who owns this data, is not as clear as it may seem. Part of the problem, says Kansas State University Ag Economist Terry Griffin, is that data falls somewhere between a private good whose possession can be guarded, and a public good that’s available to all.
Griffin… “And where does data fall? It's not either one really. It's kind of a weird product here we're talking about. And one of the things I think that trips up agriculturalists, whether it's crop consultants or farmers, is that we as humans tend to think of ownership the way we consider a pencil or land or livestock. And that's not a really good litmus test for ownership of data.”
Dr. Griffin says because data is an intangible good, the same rules as tangible assets don’t necessarily apply.
Griffin… “We tend to want to say farmers own data coming from their equipment and farm fields. But in reality, we don't think American law - federal or even any of the States cover this concept of ownership when it comes to intangible goods, like data.”
Griffin advises farmers to know exactly who has access to their data, and how it will be used and shared.