Monday, June 6, 2016

Legal and Economic Implications of Farm Data

by Ashley Ellixson

Discussions of farm data are a hot topic not only in today’s agricultural industry but also across the legal field.  I recently authored an article that describes the legal and economic concerns surrounding data ownership, privacy rights, and possible recourse in event of intentional data breach.  The publication aims to answer the questions around “who owns farm data?”, “what happens when farm data is misappropriated?” and “what can I do to protect my farm’s data?”  These questions and many more are swirling around industry, legislatures, and farm organizations.  

Until the law defines farm data or a court speaks to the protections of such data, experts in the field can only suggest best management practices (both at the farm-level and the legal liability level). From the farm perspective, not only the law but the relative value of farm data will direct the optimal choice for damages, if any. Damages may be realized as loss of local bargaining power or a direct cost to the farmer; however, only time will tell. This collaborative effort between Kansas State University and University of Maryland can be found on the website.  

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