Rapidly advancing precision agriculture has enabled farmers to
collect data on yields, soils, inputs applied and other variables.
These advances in data collection hold the potential to be a very
beneficial management tool for farmers and agriculture companies.
However, control of the data and its uses are of growing concern to
Illinois Farm Bureau's data policy, which was a new policy
submitted and adopted by the delegates, requires the American Farm
Bureau Federation to support efforts to better educate farmers and
ranchers on data collection and to support the rights of farmers who
provide their data to agricultural companies.
"Proprietary data collected from farming and agricultural
operations is valuable, should remain the property of the farmer and
warrants protection," said Rich Guebert Jr., president of the
Illinois Farm Bureau. "The policy Illinois submitted to the AFBF
Resolutions Committee, which was subsequently adopted, encourages
protocols and calls for compensation to farmers whose proprietary
data is shared with third parties."
Additionally, Illinois Farm Bureau delegates helped to block
submitted changes to AFBF's policy on the Renewable Fuel Standard,
which would have eliminated renewable fuels tax incentives for
biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol as well as federal incentives for
gas stations to install blender pumps.
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"We understand as an organization that any type of federal
tax incentives must be justifiable to the taxpayers," said Chris
Hausman, Illinois Farm Bureau delegate and District 11 director.
"We believe the old blender's credit did serve its purpose, so
when it expired, we accepted that. But cellulosic fuels are
still in their infancy stage and still need help, including
blender pumps and infrastructure. Until that industry matures,
we feel it's going to need help."
The AFBF annual meeting took place Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio. An
estimated 7,000 people from 50 states and Puerto Rico attended,
including 362 farmer and rancher delegates who voted on grass-roots
policies and policy amendments.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Farm Bureau]
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member
of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization
of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a nonprofit,
membership organization directed by farmers who join through
their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more
than 400,000, a voting membership of more than 82,000 and
represents 3 out of 4 Illinois farmers.