Ahead of the 51st plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 51) next week in Rome, Solutions from the Land has released a new report outlining a farmers’ view of how data should be collected, analyzed, and used in support of investments, markets, and programs that enable and scale agricultural solutions to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) attainment.
The report, “Data Policy Guidance on Farm Data: Strengthening Collection, Analysis and Use of Agriculture and Food System Data for SDG Attainment,” was written by a team of farmers representing different production systems across the U.S., including:
•Lois Wright Morton, Ohio specialty crop grower, data team co-chair
•Fred Yoder, Ohio row-crop farmer, data team co-chair
•Jocelyn Anderson, California almond and walnut grower
•Kyle Bridgeforth, Alabama row-crop farmer
•Brad Doyle, Arkansas soybean, rice, wheat and grass hay farmer
•Ray Gaesser, Iowa row-crop farmer
•A.G. Kawamura, California produce grower
•Amelia Kent, Louisiana beef producer
•Verity Ulibarri, New Mexico crop and livestock farmer
“Solutions from the Land recognizes that data goes hand-in-hand with climate-smart agriculture and that this is a topic on which farmers need to have their voices heard,” says Lois Wright Morton, a specialty crop grower, board member of Solutions from the Land and co-chair of the data team that developed the report. “We wanted to be able to contribute guidance on farm data, from farmers’ perspectives.”
The report affirms farmers are the owners of the data they generate on the farm and details fourteen recommendations for those who make data management decisions.
Highlights from the report include:
•The need to recognize farm data as intellectual property of farmers and to maintain farmers’ ability to voluntarily participate in the ag data marketplace.
•The size neutrality of data. Any farmer from anywhere in the world with access to a cellphone and internet signal, including large, mid-size and small holders, should be considered valuable contributors and users of data.
•The need to innovate and collaborate to seek solutions that strengthen and help agricultural and forestry enterprises thrive, protect and enhance the environment, and provide multiple benefits in support of sustainability and SDGs.
Kyle Bridgeforth, whose family grows cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and canola on more than 10,000 acres near Huntsville, Alabama, will present the report at a side event at CFS 51 in Rome next week.
Bridgeforth sees exciting opportunities for farmers and general society as demand for farm data expands. Data helps paint the picture of soil and water stewardship. It’s the foundation of proving and improving climate-smart agriculture and productivity — both critical for addressing issues like food insecurity, biodiversity loss and climate change. But with these opportunities come concerns.
“If farmers, whether large or small scale, are the ones generating data, we want them to be able to participate in the ag data marketplace,” Bridgeforth says. “Principles and standards still need to be lined out. This document is a great first step. I’m looking forward to everyone having access to this document and using it as a template as negotiations start and international leaders make decisions.”
To read the full report and details on the 14 farmer-developed recommendations for data policy guidance click here.