Draft Privacy Guidelines and Proposal Outline to Create a Field-Scale Trial Data Repository for Data Collected by On-Farm Networks
Implementing better management practices in corn and soybeans that increase profitability and reduce pollution caused by the practices requires large numbers of field-scale, replicated trials. Numerous complex and often unmeasurable interactions among the environment, genetics and management at the field scale require large numbers of trials completed at the field scale in a systematic and uniform manner to enable calculation of probabilities that a practice will be an improvement compared with current practices. Farmers have been completing such trials in large numbers since yield monitors on combines became widely used in the early 2000s. Upwards of 3000 field-scale trials have been completed on corn and 1500 on soybeans in the US, with the likelihood of many more trials completed in other countries with these crops and other crops like wheat. Creating a curated, anonymized data repository for these types of data that is available for use by the agricultural community, especially farmers, farm advisors and scientists, would enable farmers to grow more food at lower cost with much reduced pollution. This paper contains three parts, all in draft form: 1) an outline of a proposal to establish a Field-Scale Trial Data Repository (FSTDR, pronounced faster) for results from replicated field-scale trials harvested by combines with calibrated yield monitors, 2) a set of guidelines for the privacy and security of the farmer data, and 3) a list of the minimum data collection requirements for trials to be included in FSTDR. We welcome edits and comments to improve this paper. We also welcome collaboration with anyone who is interested to join the Working Group entitled “On-Farm Data Sharing” (https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/farm-data-sharing-ofds-wg) in the Research Data Alliance organization that has the goal of providing a venue to make these types of data available.