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Ohio State University Extension


The Big Data Confusion: Part 2 - Education

This week’s topic in “The Big Data Confusion” series touches on the importance of education.  According to the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data, Grower education is valuable to ensure clarity between all parties and stakeholders. Grower organizations and industry should work to develop programs, which help to create educated customers who understand their rights and responsibilities. ATPs should strive to draft contracts using simple, easy to understand language.”  Producers should utilize any online fact sheets, brochures, and frequently asked questions pages for companies providing data services and tools.  Probably the most important item you can do is to ask questions.  Questions are key to learning as much as possible as you consider how prescriptive agriculture services can bring value to your farm but also understanding aspects such as data usage, access, sharing, privacy and security.  If confusion still exists about how data is shared and analyzed, growers need to reach out to ATPs and data service providers to gain clarification.  An open-line of communication is vital to the framework of a trusting relationship.

As part of the educational effort, a page on The Ohio State Precision Ag website ( has been devoted to providing information around this topic of Big Data in Agriculture.  The page currently provides common terms with definitions but also a growing list of links to other relevant information.  We invite you to check back occasionally for new content.  Here are couple of points on this topic of Big Data education:

  1. Ask questions before making a decision about sharing your data or signing up for a service.  This series will cover specific questions to consider.
  2. Do not ignore the mountain of real-time data being generated and that you can collect today.  It can provide opportunity today and tomorrow.
  3. Commit to learn more on the Big Data topic.
  4. Understand that as a producer you should retain a personal copy of your precision ag data and at minimize organize by year.  
  5. Finally, commit to improving your farm operation so it can be more competitive.  Data can be one asset to improve your operation’s profitability.

At this time, we think it is important for producers to work with their (or their prospective) Agricultural Technical Provider(s) and data service providers to obtain the company’s data privacy policy.  The companies who have signed on to the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data document realize that the waters can become murky when producers start sifting through privacy policies and consent agreement verbiage.  That being said, as you choose your preferred ATP or data service provider(s), compare their privacy policies and consent agreements to ensure that they align with the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data Policy.  Education on this topic of Big Data is important to your farm operation with the growing availability of prescriptive agriculture services and use of consumer devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets, etc.) where data sharing can occur.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.