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HARVEST Speaker Series - Dr. Brianna Posadas

On Friday November 6, 2020 Dr. Brianna Posadas kicked off the HARVEST speaker series by bringing to light issues relating to regulations of big data in agriculture. Her presentation was entitled “Current State of Regulations of Big Data in Agriculture”. Below is an abstract of her talk as well as a recording of the presentation and links to related issues from people who participated in the Q&A session after the presentation.

Current State of Regulations of Big Data in Agriculture

In agriculture, what you put into the field (fertilizer, water, fungicide, etc.) affects the output (yields). Precision Agriculture (PA) is the practice of mapping out precise input applications to maximize the yield. To do this, Agricultural Technology Providers (ATPs) collect input and output data from farmers to build prescription maps which farmers can program farm equipment to follow. The use of PA has allowed farmers to use less resources, which saves money and reduces environmental impact. However, the methods by which Agricultural Technology Providers (such as John Deere and The Climate Corporation) inform farmers of how their data is collected, used, and stored have come into question.

Data ownership and dissemination is a concern for farmers who sign user agreements with ATPs who decide how and when they take data from the farmers. The terms of data privacy are often not written clearly for the farmer. For example, 55% of farmers have signed contracts with ATPs that did not explain data ownership; farmers often inadvertently waiver their data ownership rights. The farmers are left in the dark about how their data is stored, traded, and analyzed by ATPs. There is no guarantee that the data collected by the ATPs will remain private as there are no federal regulations to enforce that guarantee. Data has become a valuable commodity in agriculture, and farmers need the ability to protect their data and to bargain with ATPs for their valuable contributions.

In this presentation, the current state of big data in agriculture and the issues it raises will be summarized. The current solutions in the United States and around the world will be described and analyzed. Proposals for improvements on these solutions will be discussed.

NY Times Privacy Project:

The Data Dividend Project:

Dr. Brianna Posadas' personal page:

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