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Putting farmers in control of own data

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April 18, 2017

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon said Prof Wiseman's knowledge is another way this program is helping tip the balance of power back in favour of smaller farmers, especially when it comes to innovations involving data.

CLICKING the ‘I agree’ box on digital farming software could see some farmers giving away their valuable farm data, according to a leading legal academic.

Associate Professor Leanne Wiseman will be sharing insights into on-farm data-mustering at the free national Farming Together conference on June 6.

She will explain to attendees at the Adelaide conference how farmers could gain the upper-hand in data ownership.

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon said Prof Wiseman’s knowledge is another way this program is helping tip the balance of power back in favour of smaller farmers, especially when it comes to innovations involving data.

“Farming Together is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs,” Lorraine said.

“It is being delivered by Southern Cross University on behalf of Canberra,” she said.

“It comprises a highly experienced senior team drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from WA, NT, SA, NSW and Victoria and Queensland.

Based at Griffith University, Prof Wiseman said some terms about control and access to farm data can often be locked under layers of detail.

“This can create a power imbalance between multi-national agribusinesses and small farming businesses, as farmers are often unaware of the terms upon which they are giving away their farm data,” she said.

“A recent extension of Australian unfair contract laws to include small farming business contracts provides a golden opportunity for a rethink as to the approaches to farm data ownership.”

Farmers from across Australia are expected to attend the Farming Together forum where they will hear from industry peers who have used the program to form or expand co-operatives and collaborations, as well as experts.

Free farmer registrations for the Adelaide conference are open at surveymonkey.com/r/2017adelaideforum

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