National Farmers' Federation

New certification scheme to protect farm data

The National Farmers’ Federation has today released a new certification scheme, aimed at helping farmers choose tools and services which protect their farm data.

The new scheme – which builds on existing schemes available in the United States and New Zealand – will certify products marketed to farmers to ensure they comply with the Australian Farm Data Code (the Code). An updated Version 2 of the Code has also been released today.

NFF Vice President and Chair of the new Certification Panel, David Jochinke, says the scheme is about informing farmers and lifting industry standards.

“We’re in the digital farming era, and the volume and value of our data is growing every day. There’s a gold mine of industry data held with service providers. Everything about our production systems, our soils, our yields and our finances is in a cloud somewhere.

“As a farmer, I want to know that whoever I give that data to is going to look after it. That means keeping it secure, not sharing or selling it to third parties, and giving me control to delete it or move it to another service.

“We know there are a lot of companies doing this well, and we also know there are a lot of fledgling companies looking for guidance on what farmers think is fair.

“That’s what this certification hopes to achieve – lifting standards by recognising best practice, and helping farmers make informed choices.”

The certification has been developed over an 18-month period with support from the Australian Government and in consultation with farmers and product providers.

“This has been under development for quite some time, and we’ve spoken to a huge number of farmers to understand what’s important to them. We’ve also piloted the certification with several organisations.

“What we’ve learned is that farmers want a simple answer: do providers meet the standard or not? That means to get certified under the code is a high threshold, with providers having to meet 100% of the requirements.

“Those that don’t meet the standard will be offered an assessment report, made public on the NFF website, so farmers can dig into the detail for themselves.”

Certification will be available to providers from today, with NFF hoping to assess and certify several providers before the end of this year.

“If you’re a business that holds farmers’ data, now’s the time to get in touch. It’s a straightforward, low-cost step to give your customers confidence in how you’re handling their data.

“Farmers should start looking for the certification tick and asking their providers whether they’re certified against the Code. As a voluntary scheme, it’s that market pressure that will ultimately lift standards and keep everyone accountable.”

For more information about the Australian Farm Data Code and Certification Scheme, click here.

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