A cooperative of growers and an agricultural data nonprofit have agreed to combine their technology platforms and create a vital resource for data-driven agriculture – a neutral, secure and private data storage repository controlled by growers. The combined platforms will be known as AgXchange and will be an independent data repository commercially available through the Growers Ag Data Cooperative (GADC) where producers can control, store, view and share their farm data assets.
The effort resulted from dialogues between Grower Information Services Cooperative (GiSC), a grower-formed data warehouse and sharing cooperative, and Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC), a nonprofit corporation formed by 14 founding members, including universities, industry organizations, agricultural groups and companies. The two organizations have been in communication since the ADC announced its mission to help farmers better control and manage their electronic data and facilitate noncommercial research.
Realizing their common vision and missions based on grower-controlled data, GiSC and ADC have agreed to combine their efforts and create more synergy between the two organizations and their members. GiSC will rebrand and become Growers Agricultural Data Cooperative, and the two organizations will work closely to provide producers, universities and others a platform to securely store, control and, if they choose, share their data.
“After meeting with each other, we realized we were working toward the same end goal, though from slightly different approaches. It was quickly clear that combining efforts would provide substantial benefits and move us all toward the objective of a grower-controlled, independent data storage repository,” said ADC President Ben Craker.
AgXchange is a platform developed through the collaboration of GiSC and ADC. GiSC has a working data storage and visualization platform. ADC developed a data storage and sharing pilot repository, featuring data connections to several precision farming data platforms. The two entities will integrate their complementary platforms to improve functionality and value, improve grower control over their data and allow growers to share their data with universities and other researchers, in addition to other service providers, if the growers choose to do so.
“The central idea was to use the capabilities and resources of the diverse members of the ADC to establish a centralized, dynamic, but completely neutral, resource,” Craker said. “Any time a grower who has an AgXchange account wants to share their data with a service provider, researcher or other business interest, they will be able to grant permission if they so choose.”
“GiSC, now recognized as GADC, will fill a need many growers may not have recognized yet – neutral and secure data storage,” said Billy Tiller, the founder of GiSC. He explained that many growers do not currently maximize the opportunities to use their data, while others may use third-party services to do it for them but often unknowingly grant perpetual rights to use their information to the service providers.
“Growers not only need to be able to maximize the use of their data through capturing and sharing data, but they also need to be able to control the use of that data generated on their operations. When a grower gains complete control of his/her data, the grower will then be able to maintain complete control of his/her operation from the present to the future,” said Jason Ward, CEO of GiSC.
Announced just one year ago, the ADC is the result of years of planning and coordination by AGCO, Agri-AFC, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Auburn University, CNH Industrial, Crop IMS, Ice Miller LLP, Iowa AgState, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, Mississippi State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Raven Industries and Topcon Positioning Group.
Grower Information Services Cooperative, GiSC, is the only grower-owned data cooperative in the United States. GiSC is made up of growers across all geographies, commodities and demographics. The coop, and the data that resides within the organization, is governed by a board of directors composed of the growers’ peers. GiSC works to protect growers’ data rights as well as provide a secure place to warehouse and share growers’ data.
Growers interested in learning more about data collection should visit www.GiSC.coop, and organizations interested in joining ADC’s efforts, should visit www.AgDataCoalition.org.