Ag Data Act

On March 1, 2018, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), both members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced the Agriculture Data Act of 2018 (S. 2487) to strengthen USDA management of producer data so that it can be used to study the impacts of farm conservation practices on risk, yields, and profitability, while protecting producer privacy and anonymity.

A bipartisan coalition of 28 producers, national and state commodity groups, supply chain companies, and environmental and conservation groups signed a letter to U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) urging them to support the legislation.  

S. 2487 builds upon consensus recommendations developed by the Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force. The legislation directs USDA to create a secure data warehouse that would collect and aggregate agricultural data to enable cutting edge research and analysis about conservation practices and economic and environmental sustainability. It also calls for improved procedures for data interoperability and opportunities for producers to voluntarily elect to participate in research and data generation activities. This is underpinned by strong safeguards prohibiting the sale of data and requiring published research to release only aggregated data, ensuring producer anonymity. The bill protects producer privacy while allowing for research that answers important questions about the connections between soil health, yield variability, and risk.  

AGree also released a paper in July 2018 that discusses the potential uses of ag data and offers insights about new circumstances that may enable USDA to strengthen its data management.

Learn more:

Recent Press:

  • The Columbus Dispatch: Senate Farm Bill Promotes Best Practices, Results (07/23/18)
  • Morning Consult: Data Will Empower Smart Farming Practice (06/04/18)
  • Agri-Pulse: Ag Data Act Will Increase Public Trust and Support (05/16/18)
  • Kansas City Star: Data Produces Economic, Environmental Benefits for Farms (05/22/18)
  • High Plains Journal: Food and Agriculture Groups Endorse Legislation to Study the Impacts of Farm Practices (04/12/18)
  • AgWeb: Big Data Plan for USDA Conservation Programs (04/12/18)
  • Successful Farming: Coalition Urges Support of Agriculture Data Act of 2018 (04/12/18)
  • Agri-Pulse: Farm Bill Proposal Would Use USDA Data to Assess Farm Practices (03/06/18)
  • Feedstuffs: Ag Data Act Helps Farmers Secure Value From USDA Data (03/02/18)
  • Politico Morning Ag: Klobuchar, Thune Introduce Conservation Data Bill (03/02/18)
  • Tri-State Livestock News: Thune, Klobuchar Introduce Ag Data Act (03/08/18)
  • Farm Futures: Klobuchar, Thune Introduce Agriculture Data Act (03/12/18)
  • Environmental Defense Fund: The Farm Bill Can Make the Ag Data Revolution a Reality (3/12/18)
  • High Plains Journal: Legislation Introduced to Improve Research of Conservation Practices (3/7/18)