Farm Bureau Addresses Data and Technology Privacy

The American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress Tuesday that one of the most important issues related to big data goes directly to property rights and who owns and controls farm-level data that may be collected. According to Farm Bureau - the risks to privacy that farmers face are of great concern. Missouri Farm Bureau member Brian Marshall testified before the House Small Business Committee on behalf of AFBF. He told the committee that farmers are right to be concerned about data privacy - in part because the information collected is valuable to companies. Also of concern - Marshall said - are the risks farmers could face related to the release of information about pesticide use or biotech crops - which are accepted farming practices dubbed politically unpopular. In addition - Marshall said farmers should have a say in and be compensated when their data is sold.

Farm Bureau also has a data privacy concern related to the use of unmanned aircraft systems - or drones - for commercial purposes in agriculture and forestry. On that issue - Marshall said operators of drones should be required to gain the consent of the landowner or farmer if surveying or gathering data about the landowner's property below navigable airspace. Farm Bureau opposes federal agencies using drones for regulatory enforcement, litigation and as a sole source for natural resource inventories without the consent of the landowner below navigable airspace.

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