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
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
Trending Articles
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Latest News
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 ac…
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
EventsAg Experts Discuss Big Data Challenges in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Agricultural experts at a Houston conference praised the advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and data-collecting technology used in precision Read More