Data sharing continues to be a source of both opportunity and irritation within the ag industry. While some farmers have pursued the potential advantages of sharing field data, others are reluctant to grant access, control or ownership of that information to third parties.

Regardless of what is driving the decision-making process at the field level for farmers, companies are aligning to leverage and capitalize on the value of collected farm data.

Ag tech data company Conservis recently partnered with Rabo AgriFinance to develop tools that help farmers connect real-time field data with financial reports.

So what approach to soliciting farmers for their data will they be most receptive to, in terms of compensation? Going forward, it may not be purely financial, says Patrick Christie, founder of Conservis.

“For most of the farmers we talk to, it’s one of two things. They want to have control of where their data goes, and in many cases are more than willing to share or even have an exchange of value. I’ll give you access to my data, or give you my data, but I’m going to get something in return and it may not be cash. It may be insights. It might be a trading partner that is able to provide a premium because you are able to disclose certain data sets. But that’s a very personal decision. That’s not benchmarking. That’s not a group of farmers. That’s ‘I’m going to put value on my data because of this commercial transaction we can create.”

Christie adds that control remains an important factor in farmers’ decision to share farm information. Key to increased data sharing will be showing farmers the practical benefit on individual operations.