Forestry contractors in Finland agree on new principles relating to ownership, use and processing of data

Forestry contractors in Finland agree on new principles relating to ownership, use and processing of data


European land-based contractors welcome the update of the Recommendation of forest companies, forestry contractors and machine manufacturers in Finland (original version in Finnish; English translation not legally verified).

As all other economic sectors, digital technology and information are moving agricultural and forestry sectors in a new era where data will play a crucial role to the benefit of the whole farming and forestry businesses. Data produced by machines and their devices, data aggregated, processed and analysed, make it possible to realise substantial improvements in many aspects of the production processes and create already today a new vision for agriculture and forestry.

Almost all operations in farming and forestry sectors are concerned by this  (r)evolution which allows contractors:

  • to contribute to more competitive agricultural and wood outputs by improving production processes;
  • to ensure a more sustainable production, offering a better service (improved energy efficiency for instance) and a better knowledge of the environment in which they operate;
  • to improve and develop new and better ways of operating in the interest of their clients;
  • to create new business models, bringing unexpected solutions to crucial problems and ensuring economic vitality in rural areas.

Obviously all stakeholders (farmers, forest owners, contractors, machinery manufacturers, purchasers…) are interested in creating and collecting data. However, even if all kinds of collection of data are important for the development of the agricultural and forestry sectors, the use of data differs from a stakeholder to another. For instance in an operation executed by an agricultural contractors, some data are useful for the farmers, others for the contractors to improve their business and other data for the authorities. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives an indication of the many activities taking place.

It is important for all contractors to be aware of these changes and of their increasing influence in the agricultural and forestry value chain so that they can embrace the evolution and bring answer to upcoming challenges.

At the same time, contractors as well as national and European organisations representing them already identified the challenges and categorized them as legal, economical and technical constraints.

  • On legal aspects, there is an urgent need to clarify the rules of ownership of data collected by the contractors during the operations executed for their clients (e.g. farmers, wood purchasers). The development of new technologies has brought the business in possession of ever more data without rules for storing and sharing them. The unclear legal framework is one of the contractors’ major concerns and it should be the same for the other stakeholders.
  • On the economical dimension, contractors should use this new flow of information to keep improving their operations, develop new applications and services and elaborate a more efficient business model to the benefit of both their companies and their clients. New dimension in contractors’ activities could be selling of information. It can’t be done without clear rules.
  • In the technical category, contractors, as users of different machinery equipment and brands, are confronted with technologies, systems, interfaces that are conflicting with each other. Therefore, a standardised approach for the production of data at European level would be favourably considered

Land-based contractors, their national and European representations are willing to cooperate as soon as possible with all stakeholders (manufacturers, farmers, universities…) on this sensitive but crucial issue , as it has already been successfully done in Finland last week.