What is all the rage about farm data? Some think it is worth a lot of money, evident in the $1B acquisition of Climate Corporation by Monsanto in 2013 and billions that have been invested into new software startup companies and by well-established agribusinesses. How can you benefit from technology and data?
There is no data or technology that will magically turn you into the most profitable producer in your county. However, software and immediate and secure access to your data from any device should provide a better path to business growth. It will also enable you to spend more time at the lake or at the kid’s baseball game or livestock show, rather than searching over piles of paper or spreadsheets.
First, do your due diligence. Reputable software companies want you to continue to buy their software. The more data they collect, by your use, the more data they can model for building new features and products. For example, a financial software application might analyze multiple years of farm expenses and generate a recommended budget that you can share directly with your lender or financial team. You, your family, and advisors can use this “business intelligence” to manage for profitability.
As far as security…most reputable companies build technology that protects your data because they know how important it is, and they want you as a customer for life. Always read the Terms and Conditions Agreement (usually a box that you must check before you purchase). These agreements contain language that establishes ownership of data, security details, refund and cancellation policy, and other important items.
If that doesn’t answer your questions, contact the company and ask directly! Don’t subscribe to an agreement that doesn’t firmly establish you as the owner of your farm’s data. If it comforts you, have an attorney review the agreement before you buy.
Technology can help transform raw data into valuable information. Do your homework to decide which technology fits you and your operation best and then reap the benefits.
Brought to you by Farm Financial Standards Council. The opinions of Scott Sartor are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.