Safeguard on farm data
The Farm Data Code of Practice, launched earlier this month, is a first for the New Zealand agricultural industry.
The code outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers’ data. Adoption and implementation of the code is expected to improve how farm information is shared and used.
DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said widespread adoption of the code would increase the security of information as well as the speed and ease with which it was shared.
Long-term, he said adoption should encourage a faster rate of innovation in the agricultural sector.
‘‘The reality is that the terminology used by farmers on a daily basis is defined differently by the range of organisations with which they communicate and share information.
‘‘Organisations adhering to the new code of practice commit to use common terminology and dictionaries to make it easier to share land and animal data in a very secure manner.
‘‘At the moment, farm data is not moving between organisations in the volumes it could – often due to differences in data definitions, the need for multiple data entry or complex integration software.
‘‘By increasing the rate at which data can securely move between service organisations, the speed of innovation will surely increase. That’s great news for farmers and New Zealand’s rural sector as a whole,’’ Mackle said.
Although development of the code was a dairy initiative, it was relevant to all New Zealand farmers he said.
Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said that organisations’ adherence to the code would give farmers peace-ofmind that their farm data was secure when it was outside their hands, making it easier for farmers to manage their data.
‘‘Farmers share a lot of valuable and confidential information every day with everyone from their farm consultant to their fertiliser company. Organisations adopting the code of practice are able to demonstrate their information management systems are secure, reliable and up to the task.
‘‘There has been a positive reception from both farmers and service organisations. They know initiating a code of practice will bring transparency as organisations demonstrate they have good security processes in place. Another bonus for farmers is the code of practice requires organisations to clearly define who owns the rights to farm data after it’s been collected,’’ Wills said.
All organisations collecting, holding or sharing information about primary producers and farming operations are being strongly encouraged by DairyNZ to adopt the code.
DairyNZ strategy and investment portfolio manager Jenny Jago chaired the steering committee responsible for overseeing industry consultation and code development. She cautioned that the development of the code was the first of many steps forward for the industry.
‘‘Organisations’ adoption of the code of practice is part of a bigger picture, which is all about the industry working together to improve the management and effective use of farm data.
‘‘Completing the development of the code of practice is a major piece of work and a key first step. Now it’s up to the industry to action it. Over the next year, our steering committee will continue to release additional data standards which will add further benefits to the industry one by one.’’
Development of the code was funded by New Zealand dairy farmers through DairyNZ, and also the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and FarmIQ.
LAUNCH: DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle, left, and president of Federated Farmers Bruce Wills launch the Farm Data Code of Practice on June 10.