The Coalition supports new provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill that promote three main objectives:
- Conserving natural resources
- Improving farmer success
- Protecting farmers’ data privacy
A provision within the 2018 Farm Bill requires a Congressionally mandated report from the USDA; in it, the Secretary will identify available USDA data that can shed light on how conservation practices affect crop yields, farm and ranch profitability, and soil health. The USDA will summarize the data in the report, in addition to detailing the steps the Secretary has taken to provide secure data access to qualified researchers.
This language was directly informed by the Coalition’s consensus recommendations on agricultural data. It mirrors the Agriculture Data Act of 2018, introduced in March of that year by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)—both members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The Ag Data Act intends to improve USDA management of producer data, leading to a more robust understanding of how farmers can adopt practices that improve their profitability and reduce risk on working lands.
The Coalition will continue to work closely with Congress and the USDA, shaping policies that will support greater data integration and analysis—and help farmers make important land management decisions.