Media Release (3 March 2016)

The first accreditations have been approved for the Farm Data Code of Practice. The code sets the rules for how farmers' data is handled between various organisations.

Leading farm management software provider Farmax was the first company to begin the accreditation process, followed by farm information hub FarmIQ Systems and environmental management information host Gateway Data Services.

The code's board approved these three accreditations on Wednesday, March 2, following a review process.

The Farm Data Code of Practice is one of three interlinked Primary Growth Partnership farm data initiatives that will help make seamless data exchange in the agricultural industry the norm. The other two projects are the Farm Data Standards and Data Linker.

The Farm Data Standards project defines the various ways data can be exchanged between different farm software.

Data Linker, still in development but expected to launch soon, allows organisations to exchange data on terms that are agreed by both parties. Farmers are asked to provide permission before any data transfer occurs.

Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said farmers were becoming increasingly concerned about who had access to their data and how it was being used.

"Companies able to show their Farm Data Code of Practice membership will help demonstrate to farmers that their data is being handled in a responsible and ethical manner," McEwen said.

FarmIQ chief executive Collier Isaacs said the Farm Data Code of Practice accreditation provided assurance to customers.

"FarmIQ has built integration with devices including Tru-Test, Gallagher, Iconix and Te Pari products, and has also created data links with specialist software: Cashmanager Rural for farm finances and feed budgeting with Farmax. This means users can easily move files and information, avoiding having to enter it twice and assisting accuracy and consistency."

Gateway Data Services managing director Janet Brooker said accreditation had been a thorough process.

"For Gateway Data Services accreditation confirms our investment in high level data encryption, gap redundancy and high end data integrity as the future standard for moving farm data. Excel spreadsheets and CSV files will no longer be acceptable," she said.

Rezare Systems was contracted to develop the Farm Data Code of Practice. Managing director Andrew Cooke said the code had sparked a conversation between farmers and their providers.

"The actual arrangements around rights to data and its use will vary depending on the type of data and who is paying, but clarity for farmers is crucial, because data is becoming essential for profitable farming," he said.

Federated Famers of New Zealand Dairy Industry Group chairman Andrew Hoggard, who serves on the Farm Data Accreditation Board, was excited about the first accreditations.

"One thing farmers are always saying is that they are sick and tired of having to supply data three, four or five times to different people," Hoggard said. "It's all about putting systems in place and getting the ground work right."

The Farm Data Code of Practice defines disclosures and behaviours required of organisations storing, handling or moving data on behalf of farmers within the New Zealand agricultural industry.

Development was part-funded by New Zealand dairy farmers through DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Primary Growth Partnership funding to the Transforming the Dairy

Value Chain, led by DairyNZ and Fonterra. It is also part funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership through its Primary Growth Partnership with Ministry for Primary Industries, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef and Lamb New Zealand Limited (representing sheep and beef farmers), Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank, and Silver Fern Farms. Co-funding was provided by FarmIQ Systems Limited. These PGP programmes are helping to enable collaboration across the different sectors.

The data governed by the code includes: animal, land application, stock reconciliation, feed, grazing, irrigation, effluent, financial and chart of accounts data.

Compliant organisations will receive an annual licence, certificate and use of the Farm Data Code of Practice trademark. Participation is voluntary.

Rezare Systems, based at Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton, was contracted to develop it.

Areas covered in the Code of Practice:
  • Rights to data of the primary producer, the organisation and any third party.
  • Access to the data by the primary producer, the organisation and any third party.
  • Security standards under which data is stored on behalf of the primary producer.
  • Data sovereignty – where the data is stored and where back-ups are kept.

Federated Famers of New Zealand Dairy Industry Group chairman Andrew Hoggard, 027 230 7363
Rezare Systems Managing director Andrew Cooke, 027 557 0822

Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen, 021 428 467
FarmIQ chief executive Collier Isaacs, 0274 445 412
Gateway Data Services managing director Janet Brooker, 021 278 6623