Agriculture Data Act


Jason Degenhardt, right, and NRCS soil health specialist Aaron Hird examine a soil sample for structure and for earthworms. Photo credit: NRCS.

Jason Degenhardt, right, and NRCS soil health specialist Aaron Hird examine a soil sample for structure and for earthworms. Photo credit: NRCS.

The Agriculture Data Act

S. 2487

The Agriculture Data Act was introduced with bipartisan support in the Senate on March 1, 2018 by senior members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). This legislation will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal crop insurance program by improving the program’s collection and use of agriculture data research of conservation practices that help farmers reduce risk and increase profitability.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently manages and stores important producer data as part of its mandate, whether through the Risk Management Agency (RMA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Economic Research Service (ERS). Oftentimes, however, this data is underutilized and opportunities to improve program performance can be missed. The Agriculture Data Act will ensure that valuable data about conservation practices is properly collected and leveraged by federal agencies so that family farmers and ranchers are able to make the best decisions regarding stewardship and risk management.

The Agriculture Data Act of 2018 will:

  • Direct the Secretary of Agriculture to collect, collate, integrate, and link data relating to the impacts of covered conservation practices on enhancing crop yields, soil health, and otherwise reducing risk and improving farm and ranch profitability.
  • Grant the Secretary the authority to establish a secure, confidential cloud-based conservation and farm productivity data warehouse to store operational, transactional, and administrative program databases and records that support scientific, statistical, and other analysis.
  • Uphold all privacy protection laws and require the Secretary to establish procedures to protect the integrity and confidentiality of proprietary producer data, including prohibiting the sale of any producer data and requiring any published research to release only aggregated data.
  • Direct a report to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to produce annual reports on the data collected and any additional or new activities planned for the next fiscal year.

NSAC thanks Senators Klobuchar and Thune for championing the Agriculture Data Act of 2018, and for their leadership in strengthening the farm safety net.

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