Farmers Must Retain Control of Their Data

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said any proposal asking farmers to share data has to be considered very carefully and fully agreed with farmers. 

Last year IFA wrote to Teagasc, Bord Bia, ICBF, the EPA, Animal Health Ireland and the Department of Agriculture asking them a number of detailed questions about their policies around the sharing of farmer data. 

We received detailed replies from each organisation and we have had some follow-up meetings.

“We are seeking very clear undertakings that each agency has a robust set of arrangements around the reasons for collection; the storing of the data; and any use that it might be put to,” he said.

“There must be full transparency about what any organisation is doing with farmers’ data.  IFA is clear that any benefits arising from the data must accrue to farmers,” he said. 

IFA is in the process of developing a protocol that we expect everybody to follow in relation to farmers’ data. 

“There is no doubt that farms contain valuable information. Farmers will rightly ask what benefit will come to them if they are being asked to share this information. The increased costs and upskilling necessary from additional data generation and sharing requirements on-farm will also need to be factored into any proposal”.

“There is a real danger that benefits from farmers’ sustainability data will be gained by those further up the value chain, with farmers left with no return,” he said.

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