Precision farming and smart farming are great promises for the future. The increased and better application of data certainly offers opportunities. But then an important condition must be met first: data produced on the farmer’s barnyard belongs to the farmer and that should be continued. As soon as that is well-arranged, a pig farmer can share his data with others hassle-free and experience the benefits of it. And the sharing of data can add value to the chain.
That is, in summary, the vision of the Producers Organization Pigs (POV), as voiced by chairman Linda Verriet and vice-president Eric Stiphout.
“In order to ensure that pig farmers seize and retain control of their data, the POV will join JoinData,” Verriet says. “Farmers can easily and safely share their data via this platform. By checking or unchecking boxes, a pig farmer autonomously decides which parties get access to his data and what the data can be used for.”
According to both managers, this is the first step required where data is concerned. The great changes, predicted by many, in the cattle farming, on basis of data, like further efficiency increase, better traceability and far-reaching automation, can only come into existence if data sharing is well-arranged.
And then there are some great and interesting perspectives. “Pig farmers can share data to be applied in the chain to give quality guarantees and make the origin of meat insightful,” according to Stiphout. This could, for instance, serve to improve the revenue model in the pig chain. But also closer to home, there can be a benefit for pig farmers when sharing more data. “We have study clubs where a lot of data is being exchanged. Currently, this mostly happens on paper. But if we, as pig farmers, share our data digitally, we can assure better benchmarks. That way, individual entrepreneurs can better emulate the actions of others to optimize their own company management,” Stiphout explains. He himself has a business with 365 sows and 3.000 porkers in Boxmeer.
But what is the concrete benefit for the pig farmer? After all, data is worth money, at least that is what you often hear. Verriet: “I think that data in itself is not worth a lot. It is about the benefit you can gain by sharing and combining data. A close to home example is the accountant. If he can do his work better and faster, because a cattle breeder shares the necessary data, then the farmer should also benefit from this. For example, in the form of a lower invoice from the particular accountant, or because comparable identification numbers can be supplied better and quicker. Also a reduction of costs should be possible in the short term.”
Something similar applies to all kinds of checks by public authorities or chain parties. These checks can become more risk-oriented if cattle breeders supply relevant data automatically. “This can be done via the platform JoinData, which results in a reduction of the checks frequency and thus a reduction of the related costs. In our opinion, these benefits must end up with the pig farmer sharing his data.”
The POV itself also makes use of data of pig farmers. On the basis of I&R-information, the pig flows can be inventoried. “This way, we signal the possible effects in the market and, in turn, share that information with our members,” according to Stiphout. This does not lead to instant benefits. “But it does enable us to provide our members with good market information and warn them if certain developments threaten to disrupt the market.”
Not all pig farmers are eager to share their data. Stiphout signals certain hesitation with part of his constituency. “Some of them feel that there is little in it for them. They think that certain parties want to collect data but give little in return. Entrepreneurs also notice that authorities already have huge amounts of data about their business, without them being aware where that information may end up one day.”
Both POV-managers can appreciate this critical attitude. But it would be a waste if this would stagnate more and more frequent sharing of data. “That is why we are positive about the JoinData initiative,” according to Verriet. “This is an organization that was set up by the agricultural sector itself and for the pig farmers, POV is at the helm. It is a corporation, so no profit is flowing into the pockets of external parties. And we are the ones in control.”
And the main thing: the platform of JoinData more or less shows your own data flows. “You can arrange anything yourself, at any time. So if you notice an outdated authorization for your last fodder supplier, you can uncheck it immediately and this party will no longer get any data,” says Stiphout. He suspects that a number of pig farmers on the JoinData platform will still identify pending authorizations, that they didn’t know existed. “That is also an advantage of this approach. Just like the low fee of 50 Euros per year, applied by JoinData; that also shows that it is a corporation initiative that can help all of us to get more out of our own data. Those 50 euros will be earned back in no time, otherwise we must have done something wrong. And we are to decide what we gain from it. Discuss this with someone at POV.”