FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES: EMPOWERING FARMERS TO NEGOTIATE THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE OF FUTURE FARMING TECHNOLOGIES

A/Prof. Leanne Wiseman

Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland

 

ABSTRACT

This paper describes the changing legal landscape that farmers must navigate when adopting digital farming technologies and modernising their farming enterprises. The digital transformation that is taking place on farms and the enormous amount of farm data that is now being collected, used and stored has highlighted a new range of skills that farmers will need into the future. While the need for digital literacy of farmers has been recognised and is being acted upon with a range of training programs and model smart farms, little attention is being paid to the increasingly complex legal environment that these digital farming technologies bring. Along with digital literacy, farmers also need awareness of their rights and obligations that are created under the new legal arrangements that accompany digital farming technologies. Legal awareness and understanding is now an indispensable tool for digital farming. Empowering farmers with legal awareness of the range of legal issues arising from data licensing agreements, competition and privacy law will reduce the vulnerability that many farmers experience as their industry rapidly transforms. Knowledge of law is power and when farmers are aware of their legal rights and obligations, the commercial relationships within digital farming will hopefully become more transparent, thus more equitable. Ultimately, once trust is re-established between farmers and the broader agri-supply chain, digital farming relationships will be transformed.