How do users of JoinData view data sharing? What developments are they looking for? How do they view data ownership? Which apps and innovations can farmers make good use of? Director Sener Celik will talk to various farmers and organizations in the Netherlands to gauge the mood.
Heleen (42) Lansink has a dairy farm in Haaksbergen (Ov.) with her husband Rogier. They milk 85 dairy cows and have 40 young cattle. The farm comprises 50 hectares of land. A small part of the milk is sold at home through their milk tap called De Melktapperij. She gives lectures, is events host and columnist. She is not (yet) a participant of JoinData and talks to JoinData director Sener Celik about data.
“I looked up what JoinData does,” Heleen opens the conversation energetically at the garden table overlooking the rolling Twente countryside. “I have a need for data, but didn’t know exactly what you guys do. I think many dairy farmers are not aware of how much data is being shared. Currently, I see our data as a fish pond. It contains data from the KringloopWijzer, the May count, fertilization plan, CRV, FrieslandCampina and the milking robot. That data has to be fed back into all sorts of different systems and they don’t always fit together.
I do have a desire for data to be used more, but also have doubts about what you give away as a farmer. We’ve become stricter about who can see what. Many institutions, for example, want to see our KringloopWijzer. We are participating in the Vruchtbare Kringloop Overijssel project, so they are allowed to see it. So is FrieslandCampina, but only if it contributes to our business operations. Nevertheless, data sharing is currently part of our business. In a study group, we got to work on the Totale Eiwit offer. We’re coming from 170 and it’s now at 150. We shared experiences and learned from each other.”
“Being part of that data”
Heleen continues: “But data sharing can also have a downside. It turned out that Mineral Valley Twente had conducted an investigation into the risk of explosion of low-emission floors, but I did not know at all that I was part of that investigation. Louis Bolk also wants this data now. But I only want that if I am also part of that data. Not just like that. Through our participation in the Vruchtbare Kringloop Overijssel, the KringloopWijzer has now become a management tool for us, not a checklist. That’s when data actually gets you something.”
Sener: “We treat all data as personal, because you can trace data about the cow back to an address and therefore to a person.”
Heleen: “I do really see data as an opportunity and not a threat. That data stream is just there.”
Sener explains: “JoinData is a cooperative of FrieslandCampina, Agrifirm, CRV, LTO Nederland, Cosun, Avebe, Vion, POV, Rabobank and VLB Accountants.”
Heleen: “But these are all organizations, except LTO and POV, who have an interest in us continuing to produce as much as possible. How is it farmer’s interest served in this? I would have preferred it from the farmers, rather than the business community. I think there is actually more distrust than trust towards JoinData because of all those parties behind it.”
Sener: “In fact, JoinData was also initiated through the farmers. By supporting JoinData, the representative organizations and cooperatives are serving their members, i.e. farmers and growers. JoinData is an open platform and non-profit cooperative where all your suppliers can connect, so that you can control all your data streams via JoinData. Thus, by supporting JoinData, the representative organizations and cooperatives are serving their members.
The independent Supervisory Board has no ties with the members. An independent audit committee ensures that the platform operates in accordance with its mission (the farmer is in control of his data). This committee consists of representatives from LTO, POV and the VLB offices. We also have an advisory board of farmers who give us solicited and unsolicited advice. We do this precisely to underline that JoinData was created to greatly improve the data position of farmers and gardeners.”
“Be careful with it”
Heleen: “As a farmer, you read, ‘data is yours, but be careful with it.’ This makes it a kind of threat. Through EDI Zuivel, the vet also had insight into our financial results.”
Sener: “Fortunately, that will no longer be possible in the near future. The core of JoinData is that the farmer is in control. The goal is for farmers to do more with data. Then you can take up your position again. Participation in JoinData costs €50 per year. We make it clear who has insight into what, and the farmer can press the red button at any time to limit insight. You are in charge.”
Heleen responds: “I only want to share what a company is actually going to use, no more. I’ve been to Iowa where Bayer and John Deere work together. It scared me. There is software in the tractor from Monsanto and Google.”
“China works a lot with data”
Heleen attended a Nuffield Scholarship this past year. A scholarship awarded annually to some 70 talented farmers worldwide. “This experience cannot be described with a pen. I was in China for Nuffield and the government there is doing everything it can to keep food safety on par. For example, you can type in on a bank app that you need 300 grand, and within 4 minutes your loan is confirmed based on your payment information. They also work a lot more with data. You can buy 10 mandarins online and you will have them at your door in the evening. They trust a digital order there more than one from a market vendor. The disadvantage is that there is less real contact.”
Who is Heleen Lansink
Born11 February 1979
EducationAcademy for Physical Education and Care and Welfare teacher
CareerAnimator camping and events, teacher of physical education in special education, teacher of care and welfare, currently agricultural entrepreneur Dairy farming
Other functionsOwner of De Melktapperij, organization, education and consultancy firm, moderator, speaker with knowledge of the agricultural sector
“Dairy farms also achieve bizarre technical results. We were at a farm where all the cows give 10,000 liters of milk a year with an excellent fat and protein content. But they do buy everything. The alfalfa is shipped in from Australia. I think we can sell dairy to China for another 10 years, but after that they can do it themselves. So we have to work with them.”
“Women on the farm”
Heleen continues about her research within Nuffield: “Farm life is pretty much a closed (men’s) bubble. The milk tap is our doorbell to the environment. Women often have a more holistic view of entrepreneurship. There is still so much untapped potential in the farmer’s wife, she is the one who can break through the closed agricultural bubble. I did research on that during my Nuffield Scholarship.”
“Data on the soil”
“We farm here primarily with the power of nature,” Heleen continues. “For example, we do not use glyphosate and only 30% of the recommended amount of fertilizer. Nevertheless, the production of the cows is the same and the health of the cows has improved. In doing so, we create added value and we must position that value. And data capture and development plays a major role in this positioning. It’s crazy that there is so much data to work with when it comes to cows and milk, but so little about the soil.”