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Producers embrace technology, but want control over their data, FCC survey

  • Feb 05, 2019

Farmers are cautious when it comes to sharing their data, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the potential for agriculture information technology to improve their farm operations, according to a recent Farm Credit Canada (FCC) survey.

The FCC Vision Panel survey shows 25 per cent of the more than 2,000 Canadian farmers questioned have become less comfortable sharing data with outside organizations – such as suppliers – over the past two years, while 58 per cent say their comfort level hasn’t changed.

Seventy-one per cent of those surveyed said data treatment is “very” or “extremely” important when selecting an agriculture technology provider.

“There is no doubt that privacy protection and control over where and how farm data is used is a top-of-mind issue for a majority of producers,” said Fred Wall, FCC marketing vice-president. “At the same time, most see the benefits of using technology to improve their operations, reduce paperwork and help them make better decisions in a growing and dynamic industry.”

In fact, 69 per cent of those surveyed believe technology can increase efficiency, lower costs and result in better yields, while 65 per cent believe it can improve management control and decision-making.

In 2018, FCC AgExpert became the first agriculture software in Canada to receive the Ag Data Transparent (ADT) seal for its commitment to safeguarding farmers’ data. The not-for-profit company’s North American certification standard means FCC has taken steps to ensure farm data inputted into its new web-based software package is secure, so customers can enjoy the benefits without the worries.

Last year, FCC launched AgExpert Field, which enables producers to record, share and analyze field data, such as inputs, yields and field conditions – right from their mobile phone. FCC also just launched a web-based version of its farm financial software, AgExpert Accounting.

FCC AgExpert software suite has been certified by ADT for adhering to industry-wide principles, including transparency in data collection, access, use, portability, availability and retention.

“Our survey shows data transparency is top of mind for our customers and it’s a priority for us,” Wall said. “This certification tells producers exactly how we handle their data, what we do with it and who has access to it.”

“We encourage our customers to tap into new technology and we encourage them to be well informed as to how their data is being handled by their technology partners,” he said. “Our software certification demonstrates our commitment to safeguarding customer data and ensures they control who sees or uses their data.”

FCC Vision Panel members share their ideas and opinions about Canadian agriculture and how FCC can serve this exciting industry. You do not need to be an FCC customer to join – members come from all facets of agriculture. If you are interested in joining or want to learn more, visit fccvision.ca.

FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $36 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and its role in feeding an ever-growing world. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and agri-food industry. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, our profits are reinvested back into the agriculture and food industry we serve and the communities where our customers and employees live and work while providing an appropriate return to our shareholder. Visit fcc.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on Twitter.

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For more information or interviews, please contact:

Éva Larouche (bilingual)
Corporate Communication
Farm Credit Canada 
1-888-780-6647 
eva.larouche@fcc.ca