Ag Law Attorney Todd Janzen Shares His Perspective on Ag Data and the Ag Tech Platform
Welcome Todd Janzen
Todd J. Janzen is an attorney and co-founder of Janzen Agricultural Law LLC, a law firm dedicated to serving the needs of farmers, ag technology providers, and agribusinesses. Todd also serves as the Administrator for the Ag Data Transparent project, a national effort to bring transparency to contracts between farmers and technology providers.
How Did Todd Get His Roots in Ag Law?
Todd grew up on a farm and he really enjoyed spending his summers raising cattle and doing hay work. So, after law school, Todd wanted a way to connect his rural background with the law and that’s why Todd built a practice in agricultural law.
What Initially Compelled Todd to Go to Law School?
In high school, Todd was interested in public speaking, debate, and forensics, but it wasn’t until Graduate School that Todd came to the realization that opportunities for a history professor were somewhat limited; so, he figured going to law school would be a better option.
In hindsight, Todd is glad that he made the decision to go to law school instead of becoming a history professor.
What is Ag Data?
Ag data are data streams that come from sensors, tractors, and devices on a farm that are placed on livestock such as ankle bracelets or net collars. These devices can track farm animals and how much milk they give amongst other things.
In addition, it can also track financial data from the office at the farm. Todd mentioned an organization called Ag Gateway that created six categories around agricultural data. The six categories are land, agronomic, farm financial, weather, livestock, and end machine data.
What Are the Primary Legal Issues Around Ag Law Data?
Many companies that are building out an Ag tech platform request assistance with contracts. Other companies that are branching into the Ag tech side of the business also need help with contracts. Privacy concerns and legal requirements are also some of the legal issues that arise.
Progress Has Been Made with the Ag Data Transparent Project
Todd mentioned that he has seen progress because now they have almost 30 companies that have signed up for the Ag Data Transparent Project.
How Do Companies Participate in the Ag Data Transparent Project?
If a company wants to participate in the Ag Law Data Transparent Project, all they must do is sign up and after that, there is a certification process that they will have to go through. The certification process requires them to answer a series of questions about how they use data.
The next step is that it will be graded by Tom’s law firm and the Ag Data Transparent organization. Then his firm will follow up with the company and disclose to them if they need to make some changes to their contracts to be more compliant. The last step is that they receive a seal that’s called data transparency that they can display on their website.
What Are Some Common Mistakes That Companies Make in this Arena?
One mistake is that some companies are not familiar with the core principles that the Farm Bureau developed back in 2014 and they don’t take those into consideration when they’re creating their data policies.
Another mistake is that many companies don’t have an overall data policy or data strategy. Another challenge is that once a company does have an established data policy is how it can get everyone in the company to know and understand it.
How Can You Find the Right AG Lawyer for You?
It’s important to an Ag Law attorney who understands technology contracts as well as what makes farming unique.
Todd Shares How He Testified with the House and Senate Subcommittees
Todd described his experience as a positive one in which the subcommittees asked questions in a friendly manner. He also mentioned that it is usually just a few representatives and not dozens like they show on tv.
Connect with Todd Janzen View His Websites
Learn more at: www.aglaw.us
Online biography: www.aglaw.us/todd-janzen
Ag tech blog: www.aglaw.us/janzenaglaw
Ag Data Transparent project: www.agdatatransparent.com
Todd Janzen Bio
Todd J. Janzen is an attorney and co-founder of Janzen Agricultural Law LLC, a law firm dedicated to serving the needs of farmers, ag technology providers, and agribusinesses. Todd also serves as the Administrator for the Ag Data Transparent project, a national effort to bring transparency to contracts between farmers and technology providers. Todd has testified before the US Senate and US House subcommittees on issues concerning ag data collection, privacy, and technology. Todd grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Kansas. Todd served as the chair of the American Bar Association’s Agricultural Management Committee and the Indiana State Bar Association’s Ag Law Section. Todd acts as the general counsel to the Indiana Dairy Producers. Todd publishes a nationally recognized ag technology blog, the Janzen Ag Tech Blog.