Who, What and Why?
Q. 1 What is the Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC)?
Organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the ADC is a collaborative effort across multiple ag industries serving farmers in conjunction with farmer organizations and universities to create a place where ag data can be stored and shared giving the farmer, their trusted service providers, and research institutions the freedom to work with whomever they choose.
Q. 2 What are you doing to achieve your goals and objectives?
Getting all these different organizations together to form this common set of goals was an important milestone in and of itself! That said, one of the biggest achievements has been the creation of an environment, a repository where subscribers can acquire an account to manage, store and share data. ADC also represents the only independent place we know of where equipment manufacturers, crop input producers, farm management information systems (FMIS’s), or any other entity poised to work with farmer data, can engineer their own internal and proprietary systems to connect. This represents a significant opportunity to the entire industry to simplify this whole data storage and transfer question and do so at a low-cost point. We think this is a great start, but we have lots more to do!
Q. 3 What ADC is and what ADC is not.
ADC is a non-profit organization comprised of companies and organizations you know and trust. A necessary first step for ADC was to facilitate the creation of the ADC data repository or environment so that farmers and those who work with them, have a neutral, unbiased place from which to share and store data as they see fit. ADC Members are those dues-paying individuals and entities of ADC the non-profit organization. ADC Customers are those who acquire accounts to utilize the ADC repository or environment.
ADC is not an (FMIS). There are already many FMIS solutions in the marketplace today who provide valuable functionality to the industry. ADC does not share, sell or otherwise, make available any of the data that comes to exist in the ADC repository because it is not ADC’s data: it belongs to someone else. The owners of that data in ADC’s repository controls how and when they choose to share data, not ADC.
One day, soon hopefully, ADC wants to facilitate the connection between those looking for data with which to do research and those who may be interested in participating in this kind of thing but it will be up to the data owner to decide if they want to participate. However, ADC provides a safe, secure way for a farmer to do that so that this valuable and important research take place and not compromise the security and privacy of farmer data.
Q. 4 Why do farmers need ADC?
As farmers and service providers across all areas of agriculture embrace more technologies and information systems, there is a growing list of opportunities for ways this information and data can be used to create value. It is in the best interest of all involved to spend more time, energy and resources focusing on ways to create value rather than building and managing connections to different environments. Especially with the current economic environment, farmers who know the most about their operations will be best positioned to make profitable decisions on how to operate them. Today there is no one place dedicated only to this process of facilitating efficient data transfer and storage so that data sets can be shared from one central location of the data owners’ choosing.
Additionally, as more of this data becomes stored within systems tied to seed, chemical, or machinery companies, land grant universities and other organizations face a challenge in accessing real on-farm data. Farmers rely on these institutions for a neutral, independent review of new technologies, whether they be biological, electronic, or mechanical. Without a common, independent data repository, farmers in the future may lose this independent review and be forced to make decisions based on the marketing materials provided by seed, chemical and equipment companies. Ensuring land grand universities and other research organizations have an easy, secure, and efficient platform to engage with farmers directly for access to real data generated on real farms will provider farmers with an independent voice to validate the claims on new technologies in the future.
Q. 5 Why did the founding members start ADC?
Many of those involved with ADC getting started were around in the early days of the “technology boom” in ag back in the 1990’s and remember how the facilitating of sharing data took a back seat to building a “better mousetrap”. The industry created islands of data and it took a very long time to realize sharing data was equally important to the drive to innovate and be different in the marketplace. Today, all the ag news is filled with seemingly endless solutions promising new measures of value where the emphasis is on getting farmer’s data, much more than facilitating the farmers’ ability to share that data with their trusted advisors. The founding members of ADC felt we were reliving those days two decades or more ago when we all got caught up in the technology of the day, forgetting who ultimately is the real customer. ADC is about putting the focus and ability to control and share data back with the farmers where it should be, with no strings attached.
Q. 6 Who are the founding members?
AGCO, the University of Nebraska, Auburn University, Topcon, Raven, The Ohio State University, CNHi, Mississippi State University, Crop IMS, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Purdue University, Ice Miller, Iowa Ag State, and Agri-AFC
Q. 7 I see lots of universities listed as founding members. Why are they involved?
The research community is being charged with answering tough questions about agriculture today and are not armed with the necessary tools (data) to do their job. Whether it is concerns from farmers about who might access their data if they participate in a research effort or whether it is because there is a lack of good data in ag to answer these questions, the point is our existing data solutions in ag are not filling this need to represent America’s farmers. The ADC gives researchers, farmers and their trusted service providers a secure, safe mechanism to represent our industry.
Q. 8 What’s the benefit to me for engaging with the research community through ADC?
An ADC data repository account provides farmers a secure and neutral option to participate and benefit from Land Grant University and other research efforts focused on agriculture production. Conversely, research member universities and research organizations can both analyze and contribute to a larger pool of reliable, real-world agronomic data. The resulting research will, in turn, lead to more accurate insights on efficiency and productivity for participating farmers.
Cost and Availability of ADC
Q. 9 When will the ADC be available?
ADC is open for business today! ADC is adding more features to enhance our customers’ experience when using our toolset. Rest assured that ADC’s focus will always be to maintain a safe, secure environment where a farmer can easily and efficiently gather , store and share data about the operation as they see fit..
Q. 10 How much does an ADC account cost?
The cost varies according to the account feature set deemed most appropriate. Our standard account engineered to meet the needs of most farmers costs $24.95 per month. We also offer commercial accounts more suited to organizations and service providers as well as account designed for individuals with smaller data sets to work with, like those that might be participating in research work. For more information, go to https://web.agdatacoalition.org/register .
Q. 11 Why should I pay anyone to store my data?
Some systems that provide some of the data storage and data sharing features found at ADC may be lower cost options or even free if you upload data into them. Many of these alternatives either have data privacy policies that not all will agree to or they tend to not be focused solely on facilitating the user’s ability to share and store data. At ADC, we make no claim or take no liberty with any data in our environment. Our solution is unique in the industry. Our goal is to make those relationships you already believe in better and more efficient.
Q. 12 Can I share data with anyone, or do they have to be members too?
To take advantage of some of the advanced sharing features in ADC, both you and the person with whom you are sharing data must have accounts with ADC. However, you can always share data from your account with anyone else as long as they have an email address.
Q. 13 Will I be able to use the ADC for more than just crop data?
Your ADC account is your place to store anything you want in any way you want AND share it or not share it, as you see fit.
“Competition and Confusion”
Q. 14 How is ADC different than my current service provider?
That depends on your service provider but some things are clear. Not many, if any, data storage are focused solely and completely on facilitating data storage and sharing while at the same time, making no claim on the data stored in that environment. Because that is the stance ADC takes, we have found many service providers who are happy to work with us because not only do we NOT compete with them in their efforts to add value to their customers’ operations, we make their jobs easier.
Q. 15 How is ADC different than AgGateway?
AgGateway is a non-profit consortium of businesses serving the agriculture industry, with the mission to promote, enable and expand eBusiness in agriculture. ADC is a member organization of AgGateway. ADC is focused on one very specific body of work — to create and operate a place where Ag data can be stored and shared efficiently. The objectives and workings of these two groups are aligned and complementary. While AgGateway works to provide an easy means to utilize data from the technical perspective of translating between different formats and systems through projects like ADAPT, ADC focuses’ on providing farmers a place to store their data, regardless of the data type or format.
Q. 16 How is ADC different than the Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA)?
ADC is a collaborative effort to create a neutral, independent farmer-centric repository for farmers to store data. OADA is an open-source effort with the goal to enable data security, privacy, and interoperability for the entire industry. OADA is not a data storage entity but serves to facilitate data movement in real time.
Q. 17 Does ADC compete with other agricultural service providers?
This is a good question; one we like to think the answer to is NO. Most Ag service providers work to create value for their customers. Most, if not all, of them require data to do that. ADC believes that when Ag service providers work with ADC that they will realize new cost savings (assuming they were trying to build some sort of data storage place too) by giving them a way to avoid these data handling costs and focus on what makes them unique and valuable to their farmer customers. However, there ,may be service providers who are tempted to use a data repository as a way keep their customers from doing business with others.
Q. 18 What are ADC’s plans for the future, once you begin to accumulate a lot of data?
ADC’s focus will be to continue to enhance our customers’ experience as it relates to bringing in their data from as many different sources as possible so they can share that data with their trusted service provides as efficiently as possible. There are no plans to mine or aggregate data in ADC now or in the future.
Privacy, Security, and Control
Q. 19 What about privacy concerns?
ADC uses state of the art tools to make sure your data is safe from prying eyes. Our business relationship with you as a customer is clear. Data in your account is your data. ADC does nothing with or to that data. It is your data to do with as you see fit.
Q. 20 How will the ADC help me connect data to service providers?
As more service providers, ag software companies, and equipment manufacturers develop their own cloud environments, ADC is there to take responsibility for connecting to all of them with a desire to connect to us. Because ADC’s goals are simple and straightforward, odds are your service provider with a cloud environment is or could be connected with ADC directly. This is more likely to be the case than if we offered services that competed directly with what your service provider offers today. Also, there are advanced data sharing tools in ADC that can make even easier and more automatic the data you want to share with your service provider.
Q. 21 Does the ADC follow the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data endorsed by almost 40 agriculture groups and businesses?
ADC strongly supports those principles. Some of the major principles in that document include items already mentioned in this paper including Ownership, Collection, Access and Control, Choice and Portability.
Q. 22 Does the ADC support the efforts of the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator (ADTE)?
The ADTE is a tool used to help companies demonstrate how their data privacy policies match their marketing materials and how they represent themselves to their customers. ADC supports ADTE completely and intends to apply to get the ADTE Transparency Seal soon to show its support for this important objective.
Q. 23 Will the ADC sell my data?
No, not now, not ever. No one accesses your data unless you initiate it and you always have the ability to cease sharing any data at any time. The ADC even gives you the ability to download all data from your account in one convenient file. We are not aware of any other system that allows this functionality.
Q. 24 Will the ADC be standards based?
This is a great question! There is a great deal of debate in the ag data industry about this very topic. At ADC, we don’t intend to pick winners and losers in this debate. We are focused much more on raw data or helping to store and share data created by others. Since we don’t do processing or any value-added service to the data itself, we keep our focus very simple and pure. Our goal is to be the best, most widely-used data repository in ag, regardless of the file format.
How can I make a difference?
Q. 25 Is it the same thing to have an ADC account as it is to be a member of ADC?
No, it is not. It is not necessary for a person to be a member of ADC the non-profit entity to acquire an ADC account (become a customer) to take advantage of the value the ADC environment provides in terms of providing data storage and sharing tools. Customers of ADC pay the applicable fee to have access to the desired account type. The Founding Members of ADC and others who have joined recently are members of the 501(c)(3) The Ag Data Coalition, Inc., dedicated to achieving the goals of that non-profit entity. Members of the non-profit pay annual dues to support that entity and do not necessarily hold any active accounts with ADC.
Q. 26 I want to support this effort; how can my farm support ADC?
Here are four ways:
- Sign up today for the ADC account type that’s right for you and start storing your data in ADC!
- Start sharing your data with your trusted service providers and share with them your support for ADC and encourage them to get ADC accounts too.
- When given the chance respond to any opportunity to participate in research work as ADC offers a great way to do that and protect the privacy of your operation’s data.
- Consider becoming a member of ADC the Non-Profit and encourage your service providers to consider joining too.