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Latest from Janzen Ag Law Blog

For years, farmers have asked, “Who owns my ag data after I share it with an ag tech company?” This has not been an easy question to answer as a lawyer because: (a) data is intangible; (b) data can be replicated infinitely with exact copies; (c) ownership of data is not established by statute; and (d) case law takes years to catch up with technology and so we are still a long ways from having…
Farmers are given many reasons to collect ag data about their farming practices, but using that data in court rarely one of them. However, at a recent trial about crop damage, we proved just how useful ag data can be to help a court understand complex. Our case involved a lake dam that had been mismanaged by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR established trigger levels for when to open and close the…
A reporter for a national publication called me recently to ask some ag data questions. One of his questions was: Who is the ag data watchdog for farmers? Stated differently, who is looking out for farmers to make sure their data is not misappropriated? It was a great question. There is really only one organization that is looking out for farmers’ best interest when it comes to ag data—Ag Data Transparent (ADT). The ADT…
Real property law is probably the most antiquated of all legal subjects. Many legal subject matters have been through periods of modernization, when lawyers, judges, and legislatures worked together to update laws for the times. For example, commercial law was modernized in the 1950s when the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) was published as a model act. Most states subsequently passed legislation adopting this new framework for resolving commercial disputes. This not only replaced old common…
In my last post, I discussed how unauthorized secondary uses of ag data, when collected for a different purpose, are privacy violations. This post looks at another concept from Professor Solove’s Taxonomy of Privacy—how “decisional interference” is a form of privacy violation. “Decisional interference” occurs when someone interferes with another person’s decision making through manipulative techniques, such as misleading content, obscuring relevant information, or mind games. Such interferences are a type of privacy violation. An…
Privacy as an idea seems simple. We all have an understanding of what privacy is and means.  Generally, most people probably consider privacy as the right not to disclose certain information. Blinds on your windows ensure visual privacy from neighbors—the right not disclose what happens behind the window to the outside world. But privacy is a much deeper concept than just the right not to disclose information.  This post digs into some of those nuances and how they…
At a farmer meeting I attended recently, the hot topic was carbon reduction contracts. There was a lot of curiosity, confusion and skepticism among these farmers. Many questioned how the various offerings on the market work, whether these tools make financial sense, and whether farmers are better off holding out for more lucrative, future possibilities. Many questions involved questions about how “carbon credits” work. This post will explain more about carbon credits, who generates, verifies,…
The market is buzzing with carbon reduction platforms designed to pay farmers for following established carbon reduction protocols. Indigo Ag, ESMC, FBN, Bayer/Climate Corporation, Nori, and Nutrien are just some of the players in these new carbon reduction platforms for row crop and grain farmers. Livestock producers are also seeing changes in how they produce proteins driving by the buyers of these commodities. What all of these efforts have in common—they all rely on data…
The ag data transformation of agriculture is well underway. Five years ago, the Ag Data Transparent (ADT) launched with a mission to bring clarity and simplicity to farmers’ decisions to use online ag data platforms. The central part of ADT’s vision was fulfilled by creating a certification process that involved tech providers answering 10 questions about how they collect, share, and use farmers’ ag data. Online ag data platforms have matured a lot since 2016,…
Here are the 11 questions that ag tech companies must answer in order to become Ag Data Transparent certified. Who is the tech provider? What products, platform, or services within the tech company are certifying as Ag Data Transparent? Who are the primary users of the product, platform, or services? What categories of data does the data platform collect? Do the tech company’s agreements with the user address ownership of user data?  Does the tech…