You would think that modern farms would be fertile ground for the Internet of Things (IoT). And in many ways, you\u2019d be right: Smart tractors and other farm equipment, coupled with GPS-equipped smart sensors tracking everything temperature to moisture to soil acidity, mean the IoT can help today\u2019s high-tech farmers plant and harvest more efficiently than ever before.\nWho benefits from IoT on the farm?\nBut if you believe a recent expose in Motherboard, all is not well down on the IoT farm. It turns out that many of the benefits of IoT \u2014 and the big data it generates \u2014 in agriculture fall not to the farmers, but to the so-called BigAg equipment makers and seed and fertilizer companies.\nThe problem, according to Motherboard writer Rian Wanstreet \u2014 a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Media and Data Studies \u2014\u00a0is that restrictive End User License Agreements (EULAs) and other mechanisms deliver control of the IoT devices and data that farmers increasingly depend on often to the vendors instead of the farmers.\n\nAs Wanstreet explains, \u201cNew farming equipment is built to be interconnective and to scoop up data wherever it can, which is then combined with historical information like weather reports. The company can then provide 'prescriptions' on where, when, and how much to plant, fertilize, and chemicalize.\u201d\nThat\u2019s great \u2014\u00a0the information can help farmers reduce risk and increase productivity. But there\u2019s more to the story. Even though the data these IoT devices gather comes from the farmers and their farms, it\u2019s not clear who actually owns the information. The American Farm Bureau\u2019s Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data addresses many of these issues, but it\u2019s non-binding and the EULAs for many products may not follow them.\n'Turn key to agree'\nJust as important, farmers often don\u2019t have much of a choice. Many companies require ongoing subscriptions to their \u201cprecision agriculture data platforms\u201c in order to take advantage of their services, while others use so called \u201cturn key to agree\u201d EULAs, where simply switching on the tractor ignition signifies acceptance of the vendor\u2019s rules.\nThose rules can be restrictive, often forbidding cash-strapped farmers from fixing their own equipment, instead requiring them to use the vendor\u2019s repair services. And they can allow the vendors to reuse, share, or resell the data without compensating \u2014 or even notifying \u2014 the farmer. The ownership situation can be further complicated because expensive farm equipment \u2014 many machines cost more than half a million dollars \u2014 is typically leased, often from a unit of the manufacturer,\nWorried that manufacturers could remotely \u201cbrick\u201d their machines if their rules are not followed, some farmers have even been known to install \u201cillegal Ukrainian software to hack their tractors!\u201d That, in turn, raises security concerns affecting all parties.\nIoT issues go beyond the farm\nNo one is arguing that the data captured by agricultural IoT isn\u2019t valuable. But control and ownership of that valuable data is raising complex issues that don\u2019t have obvious answers.\nThat\u2019s true down on the farm, of course, but also in factories, offices, vehicles, and private homes. Solving those issues is just as difficult \u2014 and just as important \u2014 as dealing with technological challenges of the IoT. And it\u2019s simply too early to know how they well play out \u2014 and what the implications will be \u2014 among users, vendors, industry associations, regulators, and other interested parties.