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Latest from Janzen Ag Law Blog

You may have missed the release of a farmer survey about ag data during the middle of the first COVID-19 wave. In May 2020, an organization called Trust in Food, a collaboration of Farm Journal and The Sustainability Consortium, released the results of its survey of 393 farmers about their opinions on ag data collection, sharing and sustainability (Farmer Perspectives on Data). Here is a summary followed by some concluding thoughts. Of the…
While participating in a recent podcast hosted by United Soybean Board’s Tech Toolshed (Getting to know Ag Data Transparent), the host asked this question: What does data transparency mean? I asked a few industry leaders about what “data transparency” means to them. Billy Tiller, CEO of Grower Information Services Cooperation (GiSC) and Texas farmer: Transparency means that the farmer understands what is happening to their data. The farmer is a businessman and should…
As someone who is immersed in legal issues related to data privacy and ownership, it should come as no surprise that I have a Google alert set up so that I get notified when a company uses the words “transparency” and “ag data” in a sentence. I get 2-5 emails per week, so there is still a lot of buzz in the industry surrounding ag data. What I observe from the email traffic is interesting.…
The National Farmers Federation of Australia has published a Farm Data Code to assist tech providers with development of policies for collection of agricultural data. The Australian Farm Data Code arrived nearly five years after the North America’s “Core Principles” for ag data, the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data, so I thought it would be worth examining how these two documents compare, and whether Australian Farm Data Code is a refinement of North…
The struggles of the dairy industry have been widely covered by the farm press and national news organizations. Decreased fluid milk consumption, large dairy processor bankruptcies, small dairy exits, and the rise of plant-based alternatives are all causing headaches for the industry. But there is a bright spot. The demand for clean energy is causing a resurgence in interest in anaerobic digesters. Although digesters have been “on the horizon” for years, the economics never made…
Almost no one reads tech contracts (privacy policies, EULAs, terms of service, etc.) This fact has led tech providers to go overboard, creating long and complex agreements. This makes users even less likely to read the agreements, and bolsters the tech provider’s belief that no one cares about what they sign. It is an endless, shameful, cycle. However, this cycle breaks when something goes wrong and users start to ask questions. That’s what happened this…
I first read the article in Car and Driver, an automotive publication, which titled the story: “Midwest Farmers are Tired of Tech-Loaded Tractors They Can’t Fix.” As someoe that writes about agtech, this sort of Luddite-themed headline grabbed my attention. Are farmers really ditching new high-tech tractors for 1970s and 1980s models? The original Star-Tribune article explains why older equipment does appeal to some Midwestern farmers: The other big draw of the older…
Electrifying the Farm. In November, Elon Musk rolled out the electric Tesla Cybertruck, and though I am still uncertain how many of these we’ll see on the farm, I am certain we will see more electric equipment. The ag industry is long behind the automotive industry in delivering all-electric equipment. But that is slowly changing. Deere unveiled an electric tractor at Agritechnica, as well as an electric garden tractor. Fendt already sells an electric…
The Trump administration recently announced that the US intended to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement was a global accord in which participating countries agreed to work to limit global warming this century to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement has been signed by 195 countries, including the US. The US is the first major country to announce its intent to withdraw. The effect of withdrawal from…
In 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower led a military convoy across the United States, from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. The excursion took 62 days and left a lasting impression on Eisenhower. After seeing the Autobahns that Germany had successfully built prior to the Second World War, Eisenhower decided to make creation of an interstate highway system a priority for his administration. In 1956, the Interstate Highway Act was passed…