Friday, May 29, 2015

Are Livestock Farmers Being Left Behind in Ag's Big Data Revolution?

The rapid spread of the avian flu across the Unites States has been cause for concern for a lot of farmers and consumers.  I can’t help but wonder whether wide-spread adoption of data collection and sharing by poultry farmers could have helped stop the spread of the avian flu.  Most of the focus on farm data the past few months has been on the impact on corn, soybean, wheat, canola, and cotton farmers.  I keep wondering when the big data solutions for livestock farmers will appear. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What Makes Agronomic Farm Data Different from Other Forms of Intellectual Property?

I often hear other attorneys say that agronomic farm data is just like other forms of intellectual property, and that the issues farmers are confronting have already been dealt with in other areas of law.  But the truth is that agronomic farm data is unlike any other form of property. Agronomic data is unique. As a result, how much protection the law will ultimately afford farmers for their agronomic data is an open question. This post explains why agronomic data is different than other forms of intellectual property.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Farm Machinery, Copyright, and the Right to Tinker

It may not be enumerated in the Bill of Rights, but the Right to Tinker with farm machinery is well embedded in America’s rural culture.  I grew up a first-hand witness to farm tinkering.  I still remember when my dad and Uncle Herman thought it would be a good idea to “marry” a header from a John Deere chopper onto a Farmhand silage cutter.  Farmhand made a good harvester, but a lousy header.  With some farm-engineering and a lot of welding, a new Farmhand/Deere silage cutter was created. The machine wasn't perfect, but it cut a lot of silage. It was the epitome of tinkering.