Climate Corporation makes data access commitments

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Data science has the potential to fundamentally improve the productivity and sustainability of global agriculture. With recommendations customized for their fields, farmers will continue to make more informed decisions that help them maximize their yield potential and use our planet’s finite resources more efficiently. However, some barriers still exist to unlocking the tremendous potential of data science in agriculture due to understandable uncertainty about the privacy of farmers’ data.

The Climate Corporation is announced a number of groundbreaking principles and commitments related to data use and privacy in an openly published Guiding Principles on Data and Privacy statement, available online at www.climate.com/principles.  

“The application of data science in agriculture is relatively new, and with the development of new technologies comes some level of uncertainty about its potential implications. In our experience, farmers are more likely to embrace new technologies that will drive the evolution of agricultural production when they have certainty about the use, privacy and control of the data they personally generate on their own farms,” said David Friedberg, CEO of The Climate Corporation.

“We want to immediately and transparently address some farmers’ concerns about data use and privacy, while advancing the conversation about industry standards that support farmers’ needs. Farmers come first and we need to do what we can to make sure the industry is adopting practices and standards that do what’s best for the farmer,” said Friedberg. 

Two years ago, Monsanto established its Integrated Farming Systems platform that aimed to combine data science with precision agriculture technologies to help farmers derive new value. Recently, these research and product development teams, along with the Precision Planting group, transitioned to The Climate Corporation, led by Friedberg. 

“Throughout the process of building our platform, we’ve reached out to our farmer customers and industry stakeholders for their input and they’ve told us that farmers need to know how their data will be used and protected in order for them to embrace data science in agriculture. The Climate Corporation believes that farmers must have control over the data they provide to us, and they must be able to move it easily across different technology platforms,” said Friedberg. “It’s our responsibility to remove the roadblocks to the growth and adoption of these important technologies. We realize that combining farmers’ data with unique modeling capabilities requires trust. Thus, we are sharing our guiding principles and commitments today.”

The company is committing to several guiding principles that will drive its development of data related products and services:

  • Farmers own the data they create.

The company will make it easy for farmers to control who can access the data they provide and for what purpose, and enable farmers to easily remove that data from our systems. We will only use a farmer’s data to deliver and improve the services for which they are subscribing. We will ensure safeguards are in place to protect farmer information from outside parties, and we will not sell customer-provided data to third parties.

  • We will provide basic data services for farmers free of charge. 
    Farmers need to be able to easily create, store and access their data, and The Climate Corporation will provide basic data services free of charge.
  • Farmers need to easily access and share their information across technology platforms. 
    The company will enable farmers to share their data across other platforms at no cost.  This approach requires industry standards that enable both consistency in the collection of data and farmers’ easy transfer of that data between platforms.

The Climate Corporation is forming an Open Agriculture Data Alliance (OADA) of providers and farmers to act as an independent body that will ensure that different platforms share common interoperability, common data formats, and security and privacy standards. Enabling different systems to work together will give farmers more control, and can ultimately help farmers optimize yield, improve conservation practices, and improve the profitability of their operations.

Many other industries, including healthcare, banking, retail and online services, are leveraging data to deliver improved customer experiences and new value.

“As data science is applied to agriculture, The Climate Corporation understands and respects our need to earn the trust of our farmer customers,” said Monsanto President and Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann. “We’re at the forefront of a revolutionary new opportunity to advance agricultural productivity. We’re taking a bold step in the direction of transparency to enable the growth of this platform and to make farming more sustainable as we work to meet the demands of a growing planet.”

To read the The Climate Corporation’s guiding principles for data access and privacy visit www.climate.com/principles.


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