The rising issues surrounding farmer-created data and sharing of that information gets a new advocate with the creation of the Open Ag Data Alliance. First announced Jan. 31 by Climate Corporation, OADA is rolling as an industry group - not a Climate Corp. group.
Today, the group announced its early partners in the initiative, including AgReliant Genetics; CNH Industrial (including Case IH and New Holland); Climate Corporation; GROWMARK; Valley Irrigation; Wilbur-Ellis Company; Winfield; and Purdue University's Open Ag Technology Group.
Aaron Ault, a farmer and leader of the Purdue program is taking the project lead at OADA. During a media conference call briefing, Ault explained that the group's mission is to help farmers increase yield from the systems they have on their farms by helping gather data from disparate systems on the farm, provide farmers control over what happens with their data; and maximize data privacy.
"We're going to work to develop protocols," Ault says. "The farmer owns the data collected on his farm by his equipment and his employees." Ault is also an Indiana farmer and says he's concerned about how his data will be used. He wants control of that information.
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He adds that OADA will not sell a product, provide cloud storage, become a lobbying organization or endorse any products. It will, however, conduct software tests in accordance with the goals of providing an open standard for data sharing.
The key is that today if you own a rainbow range of equipment and collect data with different systems, getting them all to line up is a challenge. OADA will help develop standards for application program interfaces that companies can use to provide open sharing.
OADA is an open standards group where engineers and others with different approaches can share their ideas, code and other technology through the group. The eventual aim is to create a data sharing backbone, much like the banking system uses where financial information is shared between institutions but it remains secure.
The group has created a website - openag.io - which is an engineering-focused hub repository (not much there for a farmer to check out). But it's where engineers and innovators can push code to be reviewed and tested by different OADA participants.
"The big distinction here is that this is a true open standards project," says Greg Smirin, Climate Corp. "They really can take input from all comers and actually build solutions that can begin to be implemented by consultants, companies, individuals. The narrow mission is to create technology underpinnings and the mechanism for safe data exchange with sufficient security and privacy policies."