Farmers of North America (FNA) views member information, including name and address information, as a proprietary trade secret. We have very strict policies designed to protect such personal information.
We do not share even names and addresses with third parties except in the course of serving members. Where it is in the interests of the member, and pursuant to the wishes of the member, we may provide such information as a necessary part of serving the member. For example, when FNA contracts for a member to receive a product or service, it is necessary to provide personal information to ensure the purchase and delivery of the product or service.
We will not honor “confidentiality agreements” that require us to keep secret from our members how their name and address have been used. If you ask us if we have used your name in conjunction with a business or organization, we will tell the truth.
By their nature some promotions require that we share your information. For example, if we have a sponsored promotion, we must share your information with the sponsors so that you are able to receive your benefit. If such sharing involves more than name, address and phone number, we will explicitly say so in the promotion rules.
What information do we collect?
We collect four kinds of personal information:
1. Information necessary for the normal conduct of business. We must have members’ names, addresses and phone numbers to provide service. We must have credit information for those who require credit, including credit numbers for those using them to purchase products or services. We must know what kind of agriculture or other operation a member operates to provide services specific to his or her needs. We use member phone numbers as a unique identifier to avoid duplicating accounts.
2. Information helpful in the conduct of business. We ask a great many questions of members in the course our relationship. These questions include what kinds of crops they grow or livestock they raise, what inputs they use and how much they pay for those inputs, how they market their production and what marketing options they would like to see developed. Some of this information is essential to building programs and services. For example we must know how much fertilizer members will use if we build a fertilizer program for them.
This information is treated as highly confidential and no one is given access unless it directly involves their specific job with FNA. That is, access is restricted even within FNA itself.
WE NEVER SHARE ANY PERSONAL FINANCIAL, PRODUCTION OR MARKETING INFORMATION WITH ANYONE. PERIOD.
3. “Byproduct information.” We obtain some personal information as a byproduct of other activities. An example would be when a Preferred Supplier provides us a list of their customers so that we may mail a special offer or do a match (“merge-purge”) against our own membership list, for example, to do a joint mailing. Our purpose is to deliver something on behalf of a member or Preferred Supplier, and as a byproduct of doing that we end up with names and addresses. Byproduct information is NOT maintained or kept. Personal information received from third parties is destroyed as soon as the purpose for which we receive it has been served.
For members, we may record information collected from our web site directly to your customer records. We consider this information to be as confidential as your personal financial information and give it the highest levels of protection.
We do not provide information about your use of our web site to anyone else. We do not participate in any web sharing or cookie sharing partnerships.
We may require registration and legitimate email addresses from non-members as a condition of participation in or access to a number of internet features. We commit never to share email addresses obtained in this way.
How do we use the information we collect?
1. Our primary use of the information we collect is for practical business purposes. For example, it is very important that we have current, complete and accurate addresses and phone numbers so that we may properly deliver the services for which our members pay. As well, it is important for us to know the kinds of agricultural activities our members engage in so that we can ensure we are fully meeting their needs.
2. We may use the information we collect to contact you ourselves. We frequently contact members and suppliers for a variety of reasons, including conducting surveys, testing the quality of our service and to encourage members to renew their accounts.
3. We also use the information we collect in our key planning activities. For example, when we learned we had a large number of members that raised livestock, we quickly set about getting deals for them on inputs specific to the livestock component of their operations.
4. We may employ a third party to contact members or suppliers for the purposes described above. We have a market research program that involves surveying agricultural producers, including non-members. It is important for us to occasionally use outside firms so that we can be confident the information we receive is not biased by our own perceptions. It also allows members to be confident that their answers are confidential. When we use outside firms for research, member identities are not revealed with their responses so respondents can be fully frank in their answers.
As these firms are acting as our agents, we do not view this as sharing your information. Our agents, including our contractors, are bound to return any paper forms of member information and to destroy any electronic forms, once the purpose of their possession of the information has been served.
5. We may transfer personal information provided to a server outside of Canada that we use to host our website. By providing your personal information you consent to your information being transferred outside of Canada.
Personal information about employees of FNA is held in strict confidence.
We collect only such employee information as is required for employment purposes. Information for workplace-related social activities may be gathered by the employee social committee, including things like birthdays. Due to their workplace context, such activities are subject to privacy protection under this policy and the information collected may only be used for the purpose intended and agreed to by the affected employees.
Employee information is not shared with third parties except as provided by law and in the due intended course of business, including for example, background checks. Information about an employee may be held as confidential from the employee if the information also includes or serves to divulge third-party information of a private, commercial or confidential nature. Except as required by applicable law, nothing in this policy is intended to prevent the withholding of any information from employees where such is deemed to be in the interest of the organization.
How do we protect your information?
First, FNA has and will use the full force of law to prosecute anyone who exercises unauthorized access to our records.
Second, access to any personal information is restricted to employees who have a direct need for that access.
Third, FNA has expended significant resources to secure the databases with both hardware and software security tools.
Fourth, the data is kept in a secured facility with electronic card-controlled access.
Fifth, FNA does not hold on to information for which it no longer has a legitimate use.
Sixth, FNA uses commercial-grade shredding to dispose of unneeded documents that may contain personal information including application forms and even envelopes that display return addresses.
Note that there are no guarantees that systems will not be breeched. Determined hackers or criminals pose a threat to all information stores. But FNA employs every means within its power to protect your information which is after all our greatest asset.
Are there exceptions?
Notwithstanding this policy, FNA reserves the right to withhold any information from anyone where it is both in the interest of the organization to withhold and not inconsistent with applicable law. In other words, circumstances could arise where we feel we have to keep certain information secret and if that happens and the law allows us to, we will keep it secret. Such a situation has never arisen and may never arise. We include this statement only to ensure you understand that there are no absolutes and care should be exercised in understanding the coverage of all privacy policies, including ours.
FNA is committed to promptly dealing with any complaints or concerns regarding privacy issues. Your may also review and request corrections to your personal information that FNA has in its files. Federal privacy laws require such requests to be in writing and sufficiently documented to ensure the request is coming from you. This avoids strangers making requests in your name. You may write to Farmers of North America, PO Box 901630, Kansas City, MO 64190. You should include your FNA account number and your complete name, address and phone number for identification purposes.