How Can Farmers Share Data With Confidence?

Dec. 27, 2022

Posted in Data

Sarah Bell on the farm

Farming Matters – Farmers Guardian, November 2022

Data is touching the whole industry. The mere mention of it leaves some people cold, some perplexed. But collecting and sharing data is becoming increasingly unavoidable in farming. There are more and more demands for intelligence, analytics and data sharing in the food supply chain’s drive for greater efficiency and sustainability.

What is important therefore is that there is a gold standard for secure data sharing and use that is not abused by those who have greater understanding or power.

The majority of decision makers in farming and agribusiness recognise there is a need for sharing data in the quest for more efficient and sustainable businesses, or to meet standards imposed by contracts or government. However, there is unease about how it will be used once imparted, who to trust and who owns it. There are currently no safeguards beyond GDPR. There are no standard recognised guiding principles for farm data governance or a dedicated framework as seen in the EU, US and New Zealand with their voluntary opt-ins.

How do you know what is ‘good’?

This creates a barrier for farmers to gain the full value of sharing their data – data governance and standards in the UK must keep pace with the technical innovation around it.

On the back of this, and some time in the making, comes the Farm Data Council. We are proud to be working with some very interesting people embedded in the industry, vitally in very different ways, to shape the way forward for farm data governance standards. Our mission is to create a gold standard that is recognised up and down the supply chain.

The aim is to build control, quality and integrity to support the full supply chain to feel confident in how they manage and share data. If we can build trust within the industry, we will unleash data sharing on a scale that will make it significantly more meaningful and productive. The volume and quality will allow us as individual businesses, an industry and a nation to leverage it appropriately to promote greater sustainability, production and performance.

The Farm Data Council will start by reviewing the current farm data sharing ecosystem to establish guiding principles for a secure and safe data environment. We’d like to see this extend to certification, and we will use our insights to routinely assess the guidance, to advise lobby groups and policy makers and to build leadership in this still hugely opaque arena which can be tricky to navigate.

If you’d like to find out more, see