3 Components of a digital strategy
Digital agriculture provides new opportunities for farmers to utilize data in order to improve efficiencies and maximize revenue potential for the farm operation. In order to accomplish those goals, farmers should consider developing a digital strategy. A digital strategy should focus on the process of collecting, storing, and sharing data and how to manage each step.
First, identify and list all the precision ag technology being used on the farm and what data is (or can be) produced by these technologies. Include other data resources, too, such as remote sensed imagery.
Determine where data will be stored and organized. There are many convenient data storage options including the cloud, apps for phones and tablets, and desktop computers. Data should be organized in a way that considers long-term access. At the very least, data should be organized by year and then by crop, field, or farm, as appropriate for the operation.
Another critical aspect of storage and organization is ensuring that an original copy of data is able to be stored both on-farm and off-farm, and that a backup copy is available. “Raw” display data should always be stored long-term. Make sure to have a method in place to ensure all data collected is complete and of sufficient quality.
Determine how data can be accessed, who has access to the information, and how it will be used and shared. Data should always be protected with passwords and never shared without permission. Outline a strategy to share files on and off the farm with trusted advisors and those providing precision agriculture services.
Define how to handle the legal aspects of farm data. This can be a challenging aspect of developing a digital strategy, but many digital tools and technologies are available to help farmers better understand the “terms and conditions” and other legal matters.
Having a thorough understanding of collecting, storing, and sharing farm data is an important part of keeping the farm operation competitive and profitable.
By: Dr. John Fulton, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University
Dr. Fulton is the Precision Agriculture specialist at The Ohio State University. Dr. Fulton’s research is in the areas of precision agriculture and machinery automation.