Big Data: Securing And Sharing Ag’s Most Precious Assets

Paul Schrimpf and Harlan Little PrecisionAg Institute Booth
Topcon’s Harlan Little (right) talks with PrecisionAg Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf during the 2014 InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, MO.

Reached early on a frigid and grey work-from-home Wednesday morning at his home office, Topcon Precision Agriculture’s Harlan Little, his two canine companions draped over his feet, slumbering soundly, talked about the current status of data security as agriculture’s ongoing Big Data Revolution continued its forward march.

“I’m not sure anybody is overly concerned on a regular basis about data security in precision agriculture; on one hand, pretty much everybody (in the industry) has talked about it at one point or another,” says Little. “On the other hand there’s still varying degrees of understanding as to what data security and privacy actual mean, and we may be overblowing it a little.”

Little, a marketing manager with the Livermore, CA-based outfit, says that although he certainly doesn’t wish for such an event to occur, it may take a debacle similar to the holiday season hackings at Big Box retailers Target and Home Depot to get the ag retail industry around a table and talking about just how secure agronomic data actually is.

“For one thing, data must have a perceived value for a hacker to want to steal it, and while we as an industry perceive the value of such things as yield and as-applied data quite highly, what we’re dealing in probably doesn’t have as large a perceived value for the criminal element as simple dollars and cents,” he explains.

“The ag retailers, the input suppliers out there, they all probably have sufficient security already in place with their Websites, retail accounting software, etc. — that in itself lends a level of protection for any agronomic data that flows through that organization because now it’s behind their firewalls and their policies on data.”

A couple aspects of Big Data that could use some refining, according to Little, are standardizing agronomic data file formats and cloud computing.

“When we talk about file formats today we’ve seem to come to the conclusion as an industry that shape files are what we need to move data around, but shape files are actually one of the least efficient ways to do that,” he says. “Then there’s all the cloud stuff — I like to say I get cloudy in the cloud. How secure is the cloud? Is there one cloud where all this data resides, or is it in bits and pieces that reside on different servers?  I’m not really sure.”

Deere Plays Nicely With Others

Ag equipment titan John Deere, meanwhile, is focused on three little letters (A-P-I) that will go a long way in making the Big Data Revolution a successful campaign.

Speaking at a November “Develop with Deere” Application Program Interface (API) event in Kansas City, MO, where third-party software developers collaborate with Deere to ensure their yield monitors and rate controllers “talk” (or exchange data via ISOBUS) with Deere’s sprayers and combines, marketing manager Swarupa Bakre discussed her view on the Big Data Revolution in ag.

“The next big step for agriculture is data enablement — what can we do with all of this data,” she said. “Precision agriculture needs a consistent and accurate flow of data, the grower or consultant’s expert decision making and the ability to execute and monitor for it to be successful.”

APIs promise to play a prominent role in the Big Data Revolution going forward, according to Bakre.

“By working with and making our APIs available to these third party equipment companies we are trying to enable our customers to do more with their data — more analysis to gain more insights,” she said. “For me, the most exciting part of all of this is that Deere in the precision ag world has typically been looked upon as a closed entity, and making these APIs open and available helps us break down that barrier.”

Another tidbit that came out of the Develop with Deere meeting was the launch of Deere’s own Data Policy and Principles Website. The site breaks down Deere’s three main principles around data — value, transparency and control.

“The ultimate control when it comes to the data is always with the customer,” said Bakre. “Who they can share that data with, what happens to the data when it’s stored — that’s all controlled by the customer. We look at a grower’s data like it’s their bank account, and we need to be totally mindful and respectful of that and continue to build on Deere’s strong foundation and legacy of trust.”

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Data ManagementChecking the Box: FBN Garners Ag Data Transparent Certification
May 30, 2018
Farmers Business Network (FBN) recently completed Ag Data Transparent (ADT) third-party certification, affirming that the FBN network’s data and analytics Read More
CAMP3-team
Data ManagementHow AI, Data and Voice Analysis May Transform Farming — And Grow a New Industry in the South
May 22, 2018
In 2015, an estimated $800 million worth of crops in Georgia — a number that amounted to about 13.8% of Read More
Farmer-tablet
Data ManagementWhen It Comes to Farm Data, How Good Is ‘Good Enough’?
May 21, 2018
Ron Farrell, a frequent sounding board for my wacky ideas and a source of ongoing encouragement to stay the course Read More
Data ManagementDigital Farming: Keep It Simple Analytics
May 15, 2018
In previous articles, I tried to lay out some logical components and processes that enable digital farming to get inside Read More
Trending Articles
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
Ernie-Chappell-Screenshot
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
UCANR_booth_Food_IT_forum
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Latest News
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australian-Farmers
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
Drone-exhbitor-at-Drone-Show
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Specialty CropsGrowingProduce.com: Fruit Growers, It’s Time to Mechani…
May 30, 2018
If you’re into conspiracies, you might be interested to know that I have stumbled onto a doozy. And it looks Read More
Service ProvidersDeere Launches Bale Mobile App with Hay and Forage Yiel…
May 30, 2018
John Deere introduces its Bale Mobile app to help hay and forage producers get detailed information, improve efficiency, identify bale Read More
AGCO White planter 9800VE
Service ProvidersPrecision Planting Announces Ready Row Unit Planter Cus…
May 30, 2018
Precision Planting is reportedly making it easy and affordable for farmers to upgrade and customize their planters for their farms Read More
Data ManagementChecking the Box: FBN Garners Ag Data Transparent Certi…
May 30, 2018
Farmers Business Network (FBN) recently completed Ag Data Transparent (ADT) third-party certification, affirming that the FBN network’s data and analytics Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Forms Development Partnership with AgIntegrated
May 29, 2018
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment solutions, has announced a development partnership with agricultural technology company Read More
AmericasWilbur-Ellis’ Vradenburg: ‘Complexity of Ag Is Going to…
May 29, 2018
  Wilbur-Ellis announced earlier this month that Dan Vradenburg, longtime Agribusiness division president, will take on a new role in Read More
PrecisionHawk-drone-flies-over-strawberry-field
DronesHow High-Flying Technology Can Be a Game-Changer for Be…
May 29, 2018
Imagine waking up to find that Mother Nature cursed your crop with monsoon-like rains, writes Karli Petrovic on GrowingProduce.com. Despite Read More
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Robotics/Labor SaversChange is Coming to the Fruit Industry: Mechanization i…
May 29, 2018
When it comes to the mechanization of the fruit industry, and the overall goal of reducing reliance on laborers who Read More
Galileo-GNSS-Satellite
AmericasMajor GNSS Project to Boost Potential for ‘Satellite’ F…
May 29, 2018
The University of Nottingham is working with Brazilian and EU partners to solve atmospheric interference problems that hamper satellite-based positioning Read More