Climate change policy and the emissions trading scheme (ETS) are farmers’ biggest concerns.
The new Code of Practice outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers' data. Adoption and implementation of the Farm Data Code of Practice is expected to improve how farm information is shared and used.
Development of the Farm Data Code of Practice was funded by New Zealand dairy farmers through DairyNZ, and also the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and FarmIQ. It is part of the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain programme, led by DairyNZ and Fonterra, under MPI's Primary Growth Partnership.
DairyNZ, CRV Ambreed, FarmIQ, Federated Farmers, Fertiliser Association of NZ, Fonterra, LIC and Te Tumu Paeroa formed the industry steering committee which oversaw the development of the Farm Data Code of Practice. It is relevant to all organisations that collect, store or manage farmer data.
DairyNZ CEO, Dr Tim Mackle, says widespread adoption of the Code of Practice will increase the security of information as well as the speed and ease with which it is shared.
Long-term, he says adoption should encourage a faster rate of innovation in the agricultural sector. "The reality is that the terminology used by farmers on a daily basis is defined differently by the range of organisations with which they communicate and share information.
"Organisations adhering to the new Code of Practice commit to use common terminology and dictionaries to make it easier to share land and animal data in a very secure manner.
"At the moment, farm data is not moving between organisations in the volumes it could - often due to differences in data definitions, the need for multiple data entry or complex integration software.
"By increasing the rate at which data can securely move between service organisations, the speed of innovation will surely increase. That's great news for farmers and New Zealand's rural sector as a whole," Mackle says.
Although development of the Farm Data Code of Practice is a dairy initiative, it is relevant to all New Zealand farmers.
Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills, says the organisations' adherence to the new Code of Practice will give farmers peace-of-mind that their farm data is secure when it's outside their hands, making it easier for farmers to manage their data.
"Farmers share a lot of valuable and confidential information every day with everyone from their farm consultant to their fertiliser company. Organisations adopting the Code of Practice are able to demonstrate their information management systems are secure, reliable and up to the task."
DairyNZ Strategy and investment portfolio manager, Jenny Jago, chaired the steering committee responsible for overseeing industry consultation and Code of Practice development. She cautioned that the development of the Code of Practice was the first of many steps forward for the industry.
"Organisations' adoption of the Code of Practice is part of a bigger picture, which is all about the industry working together to improve the management and effective use of farm data."
Six industry organisations provided the mandate for the establishment of the Farm Data Code of Practice: Beef & Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ Limited, Dairy Companies Association of NZ, Federated Farmers, Te Tumu Paeroa and NZ Veterinary Association.
The Farm Data Code of Practice will be administered by DairyNZ through the establishment phase. An independent review panel will assess applications. The accreditation process involves both a self-assessment and statutory declaration of compliance to prove processes, policies and systems are up to the highest security standards.
Complying organisations receive an annual licence and certificate from DairyNZ and use of the Farm Data Code of Practice trademark. Organisations pay a one-off fee of $1400 to register and an annual licence renewal fee of $900.
The Farm Data Code of Practice was developed over a two-year period in consultation with around 60 rural organisations and 200 industry professionals and farmers. Rezare Systems project-led the Code of Practice development on behalf of funders.
For more information on the Farm Data Code of Practice, visit www.farmdatacode.org.nz
or phone DairyNZ on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ.