WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security convened a hearing titled “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming,” which examined the potential benefits of advancements in agricultural technology and the collection and utilization of data in farming. Kansas wheat farmer Justin Knopf, the Vice President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and a National Association of Wheat Growers board member, testified on his own behalf.
“Data is a valuable tool for Kansas wheat farmers, and future legislation regarding data and its ownership is a pressing matter for farmers around the country,” said Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. “Justin Knopf is a cutting edge farmer who realizes the importance of data, and the significance of farmers retaining ownership of the data gathered on their farm.”
In his remarks, Knopf discussed how he collects and utilizes data to improve his farming practices. He stated that this is the “obvious benefit of data” which is to help farmers improve their management decisions. With the world population growing to more than 9.1 billion people in the year 2050, Knopf argues that farmers will need to rely more on data and technological advancements to produce more food on less land and with fewer inputs.
“We are pleased that the Committee held a hearing on this very important topic and invited a wheat farmer to testify. Wheat farmers are continuing to utilize good stewardship and conservation practices on their farms which can be leveraged even more with better data,” stated NAWG President Gordon Stoner. “However, as Justin Knopf remarked, while we find new ways to collect and utilize valuable data we need to make sure we protect the ownership interests and rights of farmers. Data must be used to help farmers improve their management practices and not misused or misconstrued by those who are not aligned with our interests.”
Additional witnesses included Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University; Dr. Dorota Haman, Professor and Chair, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Gainesville, FL; Mr. Todd J. Janzen, President, Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC; and Mr. Jason Tatge, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Farmobile.