In early 2020, John Deere released new Terms and Conditions for its John Deere Operation Center.
Now, as we head into the new year, host Tony Kramer is joined by Jake Maurer to discuss how these changes impact growers, privacy, and data.
Listen to Episode 133 here:
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Catch the full transcript here:
Tony: Hi, I'm Tony Kramer with RDO Equipment Company. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Agriculture Technology Podcast.
Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 133, and you are back on another episode of Jake and Tony Talk. Today, we are going to be talking about John Deere Operation Center Terms and Conditions.
Tony: All right, Jake, John Deere Operation Center Terms and Conditions. We've been talking about it for a few months now. Back in February of 2020, John Deere came out with some new terms and conditions. Everybody always asks, well, what is it? What is these terms and conditions? I've already created the account. I've already got my operation center. Why do I need to update terms and conditions?
One of the ways I look at it is just like any of your cell phone apps or your mobile banking online or your credit card, things like that, things change over time. Things need to be added, things need to be taken out. It's just like when you get, like I said, your cell phone app, you update the software on a cell phone app, and all of a sudden, before you can go into the app, you have to agree to the terms and conditions, or you have to accept the terms and conditions.
Similar to what's going on currently with the operation center is John Deere made some changes, they're very good changes. There's a lot of reasons behind those changes. Jake, you can talk a little bit about that, but the biggest thing is we need to get in and accept these new terms and conditions. Before we talk about what happens prior to accepting the terms and conditions or if we don't get that done, just talk a little bit, Jake, on what were the changes made and why did John Deere make this change to the terms and conditions of the operation center?
Jake: When we talk about the terms and conditions is basically we are redefining some specific part of the original agreement that you had. Whenever you open a MyJohnDeere account, you have this certain status that you already have. We have now defined what parties are involved, what the rights and responsibilities are, that kind of stuff. The update to the terms and conditions of this agreement is with regard to the actual customer organizations.
When you create your operation center account, if you have worked a lot with your dealer, or if you've had perhaps an issue, the question will be, what is the number of your org or your organization? What that is, basically, your unique identifier. Every single organization has a name, and then they also have a number that they're attached to. When you go and submit a Ditech case, or you go in through the help on operation center, they'll say, "Hey, what is your account number? What is your organization number?"
What the terms and conditions that they're changing as part of this agreement is really to specifically define the organization. Those are basically the terms that they're trying to redefine what is meant by an organization. Every person who has an account, a unique account, you partner with other orgs, other organizations, and they could be at different levels, team members, partners or they could be staff members within your operation center account.
All this agreement is really doing, all the purpose of updating the terms and conditions is to clearly define who the organization's primary point of contact is with regard to John Deere or the John Deere dealer. If for some reason, you and your brother farm, you and your sister farm, you and your uncle farm, whoever it is that you have an organization, you have a farm that you're collecting agronomic and machine data, and you have a MyJohnDeere account, perhaps you both have unique logins that you're both working within, you each have those primary organization identifiers, all we're doing is we're going to say on, say Tony Kramer Farms, Tony Kramer, with this address, is the sole person that has the authority to make decisions on this account.
If Jake Maurer and Tony Kramer farm together, now Jake and Tony have a falling out, does Jake have the right to have the data, to delete the data, to make agreements with other organizations, with other people, or is Tony still the sole person in charge of all of that? That's really the whole purpose. We look at it and we get excited about it because, oh, it's we have this legal page and 10 pages worth of all this information that seems like jargon, jargon, jargon over our heads.
If you really just think about what we're trying to do, we're just trying to, just like in the grain business, if you are farming with your mother-in-law, you have to call the grain elevator and say, "Hey, your mother-in-law has signed an agreement that says that you have the ability to enter into contracts or sell grain on her behalf." It's the exact same thing. Just like if we were an incorporation, you have one person who's listed as the primary point of contact. After that, you can add other people, other sub-layers, other partnerships, but at the end of the day, all that we're really trying to do is just to find things.
Tony: That's exactly what you said right there at the end. Really, it comes down to privacy. It comes down to who is the legal owner of that account, that data, that information, and it really trickles down to protecting you as the customer, protecting your farm operation, if you do have multiple people using the same account. It's a protection thing. It's keeping everybody honest and it's drawing legal lines to, like Jake said, if it's-- maybe it's you and your brother that farm together, and you have a falling out, well, legally who has the right to that information, or maybe it's a dad and a son that-- This is one of the things that back in February when this first rolled out, I explained to a few people.
Dad and son are farming together, dad is the legal owner of that operation of that farm, but son, he's the one doing all the operations center, all the technology. We see it all the time where the younger generation is taking care of the technology and say people get angry, people get frustrated and dad and son have a falling out. Now, these new terms and conditions now protect dad and his farm being, he is the legal sole owner of that farm, he is protected by these new terms and conditions. His data is safe, everything like that is safe from a privacy standpoint because the son legally does not have the right to make changes to do things like that.
Again, it's privacy, Jake. You brought up a really good point that in the grain business, you can't just go and sell somebody else's grain, or somebody else just can't go in and sell your grain for you. There's got to be agreements. There's got to be an understanding. To accept these terms and conditions, Jake, what does somebody have to do? If you have an operation center account currently, but you have not accepted the terms and conditions, what are the steps, what is the process of getting this completed?
Jake: It's fairly straightforward. If you're creating a brand new account, it's going to be basically built into the initial agreement. I'm going to define the farm. I'm going to define whether I'm a private or commercial entity. This is helpful, if say, you're an ASP because you are going to have a commercial account, everything goes through one primary business location or one primary business address or has one legal entity name, but you can have a whole bunch of private ties sub-accounts that can operate on behalf of it, but not have decision-making capabilities or functionalities.
You can have staff members who do work for that commercial organization, but they do not have the ability to renew updated terms and conditions, to make decisions, delete records, images, et cetera, without the proper rights. That's pretty easy when you're starting a new account, but when you have an existing account, it's going to basically prompt you right straight away. John Deere has updated new terms and conditions. Basically, you'd go through the basic steps of it's going to ask you, what is your legal entity? Are you a commercial or a private organization? What is your dedicated street address? Some people will have a PO box, some people will have it go to a primary office. They just want to define, okay, who is the person who has the rights to act upon the decisions of this organization? What is their street address? They're not going to ask for your mother's maiden name and your firstborn son and your social security number.
It's a basic agreement. You will sign far more complicated agreements. We sign even more complicated agreements every time we accept terms and conditions with Apple when we update the software on there. I had pretty good conversations with people about the fact that John Deere is disclosing this. This is a process that your dealers are going out and having personal conversations with this, "Hey, we're trying to define your organization, we're trying to be upfront with you and telling you these things so you have a clear form of this is what we're asking for, this is what it looks like, and this is where we intend to go with this."
How often do you update software on a program and you just scroll down to the bottom, so you can click Next? Those are the exact same terms and conditions, the exact same types of rights and responsibilities that they're defining. We're just taking the time to actually walk you through it so you have a clear understanding of what's taking place.
Tony: Absolutely. Now my next question is, so if we get in there, we accept those terms and conditions. I know there is a deadline out there beginning of March 2021. If the customer, if the user of the operation center, MyJohnDeere account, does not get in and accept the terms and conditions within the operation center, what happens come March of 2021?
Jake: To put it mildly, and not be as gravely as you probably could, your account essentially gets deleted. The terminals, you still have the tractor, obviously, you still have ownership of the tractor, you still have the terminal, the physical device, but all of that data essentially gets terminated. The agreement, the partnership that you have with that machine and accessing the data platform or the machine being able to call into or be called out to, that goes away.
You have the ability to work with your local John Deere dealers, if you want to establish a different type of agreement, essentially, where the dealer has the ability to monitor those machines, that terminal continues to call in. Those are all one-off, some dealers will act in one way, some dealers will act in another. That's a conversation you'll want to have with your local John Deere dealer. RDO has some of those agreements in effect as well, but really, just think of it as, if you don't use it by now and then and you don't accept it, you'll lose it.
Tony: That's one of the, I think, the biggest hit home point. If you get anything out of this episode, it is if you have an operation center account currently, get in there and accept those terms and conditions before March of 2021. I believe it's like March 9th, I think might be the-
Jake: Midnight of March 8th.
Tony: Midnight of March 8th. If you have not done it by March 9th, it's done. It's gone. Jake talked about the machines, the terminals, the JD link connection, that also goes along with any agronomic data that you have in there, whether it's years and years of agronomic data back to the early 2000s, or if it's just a couple of years, you will lose it all. Please do every single John Deere dealership out there a favor and just get in there, accept those terms and conditions.
One of the things Jake, that you brought up that got me thinking too, so you bring up the JD link terminals. The operation center, the terms and conditions within the operation center, is not just about the agronomic data, it's not just about looking at your yield map or your as-applied planting map. If you do not accept the terms and conditions or you do not have a standing partnership with your John Deere dealership, we have no way of transferring those JD link terminals into your account.
If we can't do that, we can't support your machines remotely. We don't have the ability or you don't have the ability to see that stuff. We don't have the ability unless outside agreements are made, like Jake had mentioned, every John Deere dealership is maybe doing something a little bit different. Look at the big picture, it's not just about the agronomic data, it's the service, it's the support, it's the remote functionalities and capabilities. The operation center really truly does go beyond just the agronomic data or the agronomic side of things.
Jake: Also, think of it, if you have any other third-party softwares, if you have an API connection with Climate FieldView, or potentially with Agrian, there's two sides to that. One, those third-party softwares had to accept the exact same terms and conditions. In order for them to access the data, they had to sign a very similar definition of these are what organizations are, these are the authority figures that you have, that have been designated to act on behalf of that organization, et cetera, et cetera.
They had to sign a similar agreement. If they hadn't signed that agreement, you would find that that data is no longer flowing back into Climate FieldView, Agrian, et cetera. That being said, if you don't accept the side of the agreement for yourself, even if you never use the John Deere Operations Center, you just have that agreement, you signed it up once, so then all the data would just flow into Climate FieldView, you still need to go in and accept that on behalf of you acting for that organization.
That's something that some people forget. It's like, "Well, the data just streams in there." Well, you still have to go in there and certify that that connection needs to exist, and who still has the authority to make those decisions on behalf of the organization. Just because you're not using operation center as your primary FMIS, if you do have a connection to those other web channels or services, you still need to go out there and make sure that gets done. That's something that we oftentimes forget.
Tony: That's a really good point that you bring up. I'm glad you explain that because it's not just about the utilization of the operation center, there's hundreds and I mean, hundreds of APIs and connections that you still need to accept those terms and conditions in order for those APIs and those data flows, those data channels to still be open. Like I said, the single biggest take home about this episode is get into the operation center, if you're not sure how, reach out to your local John Deere dealership, local RDO Equipment Company, we can help you access those accounts, we can help you reset passwords, do whatever we need to do.
The one thing we want you to do, is we want you to get these terms and conditions accepted and agreed on prior to the beginning of March. It'll help your operation, it'll make things more fluid. It'll protect you by accepting those terms and conditions. Please, do the best you can to get that done.
Jake: If you have any questions, exactly, as Tony said, contact your dealer. I'm going to tell you, I keep a copy of the terms and conditions with me virtually at all times. It's in plain English. It really is. It is so straightforward. If you have any questions, reach out to your dealer, they can help to clarify things, but it is written, it's not in verbiage that would be really difficult to navigate. It's very clear, it's 10 pages, it does a great job of defining what is the current and what is going to be with the acceptance of these terms and conditions. I think you'll appreciate some of the things that you read in that.
For sure, by March, get in there and get those terms and conditions accepted and look for some really cool new developments as a result of these arrangements and agreements to come in the future.
Tony: We know that this podcast was a little more on a serious note versus just some fun new technology or some information that's out there, but we definitely felt this was a relevant message to share. Hopefully, you learned a little bit from this. You can get in if you have not already and maybe some of you already have. Thank you to those that have already got in and accepted those, but hopefully, you can take this away. Get in, accept those terms and conditions. Thanks for listening and we'll catch you on the next one.