University of Maryland Extension

Farm Leases and Big Data: Issues That Cannot Be Settled By a Handshake Deal

Paul Goeringer

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

This post should not be considered legal advice

Before we get started on the topic, I have to issue a nerd alert because I find most of the issues related to data gathered from precision ag, yield monitors, etc. to be utterly cool and dealing with the ownership issues of the data even cooler.  With that said, on with this post. 

Earlier, Ashley Newhall posted an overview of legal issues associated with farm data ownership which may have gotten you thinking about these issues.  Recently reading Todd Janzen’s ag law blog got me thinking about data ownership and farmland leases.  Todd has written a good series on this issue and you would be wise to check it out.

Farm data is valuable information.  This data includes yield data, the amount of inputs utilized, soil mapping, nutrient levels, etc.  The form this data could take is currently endless.  This information has value to both landlords and tenants; tenants because the data will help make better management decisions in inputs to use and apply,  landlords because this data is useful to pass on to future tenants to demonstrate the history of the rental land.  Both parties will see value in the information when it comes time to renegotiate rental rates.  Landlords and tenants will both have an idea of what the farm is producing and the level of inputs required.  This data gives both parties a good idea of what the farm is capable of producing.

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