Progress on Farm Data Exchange

Many people will be aware that the team at Rezare Systems has been working alongside others in the New Zealand dairy and red meat sectors to support easier and more frequent interchange of farm data. Our particular focus has been on information that supports New Zealand’s pastoral agriculture industries, but much of the work has application to other primary sectors, and draws on or supports international efforts.

We have identified three underlying components that together support primary producers (farmers) and organisations who interact with them in more effective data sharing:

  • Behaviours that support trust;
  • A common vocabulary for describing information; and
  • Data sharing technologies that support access control and security.

Behaviours that support trust

Effective sharing of data requires a level of trust that the recipients of data (be they the businesses farmers deal with every day, customers, or research organisations) will behave in an ethical way with the data.

Much of the data collected concerns the farmers’ own operations and is collected by farmers. Other information is collected by the effort of the organisations involved, or utilising their intellectual property and methods. For this reason, “ownership” of data is not always clear cut – but organisations and farmers can go the extra mile to ensure that there is understanding about what rights each has regarding the data, how it can be used, and how to access it.

The Farm Data Code of Practice is the method that the New Zealand pastoral industry (and hopefully wider primary industry) is using to encourage good practices in this area. The Code is managed by Farm Data Accreditation Limited (a new organisation with Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Dairy Companies Association, Meat Industry Association, Veterinary Association, and the Maori Trustee as its shareholders). Organisations can apply to be accredited under the code, showing that they have good policies and practices in place to ensure:

  • Transparency with farmers about who has rights regarding the data collected, how the data will be used, release to third parties, and use in aggregation – in other words, effective and understandable terms; and
  • Practices that support the commitments an organisation has made, including security policies, control over data, and availability of data utilising common data standards.

For organisations, applying to be accredited under the Code of Practice is not onerous, but may require some attention and work on their terms and conditions of use, privacy policy, and other IT access and security policies before they are comfortable to apply. Once accredited, these organisations can display the seal or logo of accreditation – providing farmers and data interchange partners with a higher level of trust and confidence.

You can read more about the Code of Practice for Farm Data, and apply, at We can also provide New Zealand primary sector organisations with assistance in understanding the Code of Practice and how they might comply – just drop Doug Lineham or me a note.

Next time I write I’ll update you on the Common Vocabulary work.

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