An ongoing research program  with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) to identify behavioral trends in how farmers collect and share their production-level data and how they feel about it. 

THE ISSUE: Farm-level data collection and sharing is critically low

Farm-level production data is a critical element  for environmental, financial, and social sustainability of  farm operations. Without  ready access to that data, farmers and their advisors don’t have the information they need to make informed decisions about  operational sustainability action. According to previous research by The Sustainability Consortium, nearly 50% of food and beverage companies report having no visibility into the on-farm practices of their suppliers, revealing a critical gap in meeting consumer expectations and corporate environmental commitments. . 

OUR SOLUTION: Survey farmers annually about their perspectives on data collection and sharing 

To help close the gap between in-field practices and supply chain information needs, we survey American farmers on their perceptions and behaviors related to data collection and sharing each year. In 2020, insights from nearly 400 farmers across more than 40 states were collected. This annual survey identifies not only how farmers collect and share their production data using digital tools, but their perspectives, attitudes, and beliefs around production data as well.   

WHAT’S NEXT?: Building trust, functionality, and profitability are key 

In 2020 our research found that the majority of farmers cite trust, functionality, and profitability issues as central to the reasons they aren’t adopting data collection and sharing practices at a higher rate. Many farmers say they don’t trust the government or private organizations with their data, and fear potential negative impacts or reprisal from sharing their production data. They believe that downstream companies profit from their data without passing those increased profits along to farmers. And many say that current usability of data collection platforms is lacking; they see no usefulness in it, it doesn’t make managing their farms easier or more profitable. 

By giving farmer voices a platform through this research, we aim to empower farm data and supply chain companies to improve their offerings to better meet farmer-identified needs. In doing so, enabling the increased flow of information around data collection and sharing. 


A press release on the 2020 report can be viewed here:

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