Symposium leads Dr. Murray Fulton (PhD) and Dr. Marc-Andre Pigeon (PhD). (Photos: Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy)

USask centre co-hosts symposium on data ownership in agriculture

While they may not know it, farmers produce more than crops when they jump onto their tractor or combine. They are also generating data that is being consumed by agri-business firms and organizations.

On March 25, 2022, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Cooperatives (CCSC) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), the BC Co-op Association, and the Alberta Community and Co-op Association are presenting a symposium on the data revolution that is well underway in Canadian agriculture. Registration is now open for those who wish to attend in-person or virtually.

Convening primary producers and policymakers from across the country, and subject matter experts from around the world, the symposium will look at questions such as who owns producer-generated data, how are the data being used, how can codes of conduct protect the interests of producers, and what do policymakers have to say about this rapidly changing space?

“Now is the time to talk about these things and figure out a path forward,” said Dr. Murray Fulton (PhD), agricultural economist and professor in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) at USask. “From our conversations, we know there is a real appetite amongst producers, farm organizations, co-operatives and private businesses to understand and resolve the big questions of ownership, control, privacy and use. This symposium is an opportunity to start that conversation.”

In August 2021, the CCSC released a report that examined the response in Canada and elsewhere by farmers, agri-business firms, agricultural organizations, and governments to the emergence of digital technologies. The symposium provides the space to explore the recommendations in the report and what players in Canadian agriculture could be doing. Attendees can participate in person at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., or through live streaming.

Symposium details, including the schedule and registration, can be found at the Big Ag Data Symposium website: ​