By John Fulton, Kaylee Port

When it comes to making decisions around selecting a data service(s), understanding “Terms and Definitions” becomes an important component of the decision. The Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data published by AFBF states that “Farmers should know with whom they are contracting if the ATP contract involves sharing with third parties, partners, business partners, ATP partners, or affiliates. ATPs and data service providers should clearly explain the following definitions in a consistent manner throughout all of their respective agreements:

1. Farm data;
2. Third party;
3. Partner;
4. Business partner;
5. ATP partners;
6. Affiliate;
7. Data account holder;
8. Original customer data.

The need for definition of any of these terms or similar ones used in the agreement is need for clarity and transparency. The absence of definition to any of these terms within an agreement should result in the ATP providing defining an alternative term in the contract and privacy policy. There is not standard terminology to date for much of the terminology used within agreements, contracts and privacy statements. AgGateway has developed a glossary of terms and definition as related to ATPs providing a foundational start to standard terminology.

So often, words are interchanged for each other, but many may not be familiar with the array of synonyms for several of these words. Especially in the agriculture industry, terminology can change from one company to the next, leaving the consumer, or in this case the grower, to sift through user manuals to determine what words align with which definitions. For example, between two companies, the act of a planter NOT dropping a seed into place could be referred to as “skip” or a “miss”, but both can be interchangeable as related to planting. Within contracts between growers and ATPs, there can be a lot of terminology that may have a variety of definitions. It is also extremely important that all participants within a data contract have a clear understanding as to what specific terms mean. Knowing specific terms and their accompanying definitions allows for contracts to be clear, concise, and better understood among all participating parties. Make sure you fully understand the terms and their respective definitions used in data service agreements, contracts and privacy statements. It is important for such concerns as who can access your data or who data can be shared with outside the ATP.