Termination signifies ending an obligation under a contract. Sometimes, terminating a contract can be a difficult process. Verbiage used within a contract about terminating can vary as it relates to the ability of the customer to cancel the contract or services being provided. One should take the time to read contracts or agreements specific to termination and what it means to you as a user but also the company or agency, if you decide to cancel. The 11th principle of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s “Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data” includes Contract Termination stating that “farmers should be allowed to discontinue a service or halt the collection of data at any time subject to appropriate ongoing obligations. Procedures for termination of services should be clearly defined in the contract.”
Contracts between farmers and their Agricultural Technology Provider(s) (ATPs) should clearly outline the provisions for cancelling a contract around data collection, storage, sharing and services being offered. The ability to opt out of a contract is important along with knowing what happens to your data once a contract is terminated. The principle of choice allows a farmer to be engaged in services and features offered by an ATP or data service provider plus extends to the ability of the farmer to choose to terminate his/her contract. Another important aspect to consider is the conditions in which the ATP or data service provider can terminate the contract. Understanding the conditions that the company can terminate the contract could simply include not providing “all” your data or not actively using a digital tool. If a farmer is unhappy at any time with the services, features, or other components of their contract(s) with an ATP, and assuming all ongoing obligations are being considered, they should be able to terminate. It is recommended that the farmer thoroughly reads and understands the contract in which they are engaging in with an ATP. Often, being proactive about concerns or questions relating to the contract (including services offered as well as each party’s rights and responsibilities), help to form and maintain a strong partnership that will provide for increased productivity and profitability through data management.