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Webinar: Data Governance Issues in Digital Agriculture. A farmer’s perspective

A webinar organised by the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Data Science User Group.

Friday, Nov 5, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Central US Time, Data Science User Group monthly speaker event:  

Foteini Zampati will talk about ” Data Governance Issues in Digital Agriculture. A farmers perspective.”

How to attend: The event will be hosted online via Zoom (https://illinois.zoom.us/j/92602473524?pwd=cExZQVN6UHFxVU1UR0Zad2JPaHZtQT09). To attend, RSVP at CU DSUG Event Page: https://www.meetup.com/CU-DSUG/events/btjlgsyccpbhb/

Abstract: There is no doubt that data-driven agriculture has increased the agricultural production and productivity, reduced the risk and improved resilience in farming, brought more economic and efficient use of natural resources, and helped farmers in decision making. The key actors in agriculture, farmers in general and smallholder farmers in particular feel that they are not the ones who are harnessing the benefits of digital technologies and discourages them from fully adopting them. Farmers have concerns about who controls access to, and sharing of, data that are generated on and their  farms, they have concerns about their privacy and their data rights, and in many cases they are not fully aware of the benefits of digital farming. They need assurances of their data sharing and control, they seek transparency and trust. This webinar will focus on farmers’ perspective and how they could actively participate in a more equitable data sharing and exchange in the agri-food value chain by contributing to the design of a fairer data governance framework. The development of ag codes of conduct is an example that will be explored.

Bio: Foteini Zampati is a legal professional with almost 20 years of experience. She holds an LLB in Law and LLM in European Union and Business Law. Currently she is working as an international freelance consultant on data privacy, compliance, and ethics. During her career Foteini has collaborated with various stakeholders, among them the United Nations of Food and Agriculture (FAO), the Kenyan Government, the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ) on international projects to develop policies, codes of conducts and guidelines for fairer and more responsible data governance frameworks.

She has also worked as a data rights research specialist to support the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative on Ethical and Legal aspects of Open data.

One of the main areas of her expertise is the research and analysis of national and international legislation on (Open) Data and Intellectual Property, ownership issues and data rights, compliance and best practices across all aspects of national and European privacy and security, as also data protection law and regulation (GDPR) in the agricultural sector.

Selected publications by the speaker:

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Precision or Digital or Smart Farming

Are you confused about the differences between Digital Smart and Precision farming?  DTN has produced a summary to clarify these terms.

Digital farming involves implementing technology such as data science, digital communication channels, and automation and sensors to improve agricultural outcomes.

Farming systems operate through an integrated set of activities performed by farmersfarming systems image under their resources and circumstances to maximise productivity on a sustainable basis. The adoption of digital farming reduces risks and uncertainties by giving farmers access to data and information to manage their farming practices and make decisions. Farmers are able to improve the processes due to better efficiency, optimising the supply chain and establish better decision-making. Digital farming offers a way also to improve quality control and quality assurance and farmers can achieve improved environmental outcomes.

“Smart farming” refers to managing farms using technologies to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimising the human labour required by production. Smart farming technologies can be used to collect measurements of factors that affect farming outcomes. Many technological devices can be used, such as geo-mapping, satellite technology, drones, and on-farm and vehicle-mounted sensors. The analysis of data creates recommendations to improve yields and make farming sustainable.

According to Wikipedia, “precision agriculture” involves employing satellite farming technology or site specific crop management based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.

The SEED project has created a qualification profile addressing these aspects and the necessary competences to provide support and advice to implement the technology and make suitable decisions.

Find out more about the differences between Smart – Digital – Precision farming from DTN

 

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World Food Day: OECD call for better food systems

The first UN Food Systems Summit was held during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23 2021. The purpose was to accelerate action and to transform food systems to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. food image

There are three major challenges facing food systems, firstly ensuring food security, secondly supporting people’s livelihoods, and thirdly doing so in an environmentally sustainable way. Effective policies are needed if these three goals are to be achieved.

The Action Areas of the UN Food System Summit are the result of an 18-month inclusive and engaging process with diverse stakeholders.

Action Track 1 –  access to safe nutritious food for all

Action Track 2 – Sustainable consumption

Action Track 3 – Nature positive production

Action Track 4 – Livelihood and equality

Action Track 5 – Resilience

Action track 6 – Governance

Find out more about the Action Areas of the UN Food System Summit

Digital agriculture will play a significant role in addressing these action areas as a digital agriculture system can help gather agricultural data more frequently and accurately. together with other data, like weather information, farmers can make more informed and appropriate decisions about their farms. These decisions could be quickly implemented with greater accuracy through technologies like robotics and advanced machinery. These systems can also provide feedback more efficiently to improve knowledge.

To support World Food Day, OECD have created the OECD Food Systems portal, a resource to support better policies for food systems.

A Food Systems Community has been established to gather and connect key stakeholders across the food system and is open to everyone with an interest in following developments and contributing to the Summit. Visit the Food Systems Community platform

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Digital Agricultural Data Webinar

Register for Webinar which is part of the  Research Data Alliance Interest Group for Agricultural Data (IGAD)’s Coffee Break initiative. It will take place on 20 October 2021 at 13:00 CEST.

The webinar, titled Growing Digital Agriculture from the Grassroots: designing just and sustainable agricultural data applications will feature Sarah-Louise Ruder, Dr. Hannah Wittman, and Kevin Cussen, from University of British Columbia (UBC) Farm.

 During this webinar, Sarah-Louise Ruder, Dr. Hannah Wittman, and Kevin Cussen will present LiteFarm, a living case study for a tool that leverages digital technology for social and ecological justice. LiteFarm is a free, open-access, and open-source web-based application developed through farmer-led consultation by the (UBC) Farm, as well as through community-based research with farmers across North and South America. IGAD YouTube image

As a community-driven, free and open-source application reporting on social, financial, and ecological indicators, LiteFarm is unlike other digital farming tools. It equips farmers with the data and tools to make informed decisions about the health of their farm, their livelihood, their community, and the planet. Though still in early development, hundreds of farmers on six continents have adopted the platform to run their farms.

Even further, the presenters will facilitate a conversation on data governance, justice, and transitions to more just and sustainable food systems with questions including:
  • In the age of big data and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, what governance and economic models support food & data sovereignty?
  • What are data commons? Who gets to define and enact data commons? Who is involved? Who can share what and with whom?
  • What governance and economic models could secure the longevity of non-profit innovations like LiteFarm, without charging for access or monetizing farmer data without their informed consent?

 Registration is now open. Interested participants can register for the webinar  here.

The final webinar in the series is titled ‘Analysis of time series of Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 data – the new quality of information for Agriculture’ on 27 October 2021.

To watch past webinars in full visit the RDA/IGAD YouTube channel
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European farmers urgently need to diversify their activities, support from Horizon Europe

According to Horizon, the EU’s  research and innovation magazine, boosting biodiversity on farms is crucial to make them more resilient to climate change and protect future food security. Researchers suggest however it will not happen without change across the food supply chain from seed production to consumer.

Research suggests the farmers most interested in promoting biodiversity tend to be highly-educated organic farmers – often women. This is related closely to the work of the SEED project, which assessed qualification needs and the importance of improving farming qualifications and innovation and digitalisation in farming practices.

There are many possible solutions to increase plant diversity on farms, these include planting different crops, or different varieties of the same crop, combining trees, crops and livestock on the same farm. However these are not often used by farmers, despite growing awareness of the economic and environmental benefits diversity offers.

Soil health is boosted by crop rotation, or planting different crops together on the samefarming funding image land. Farms also need to become less reliant on chemical fertilisers. Having a mixture of plant structures on farms – trees, bushes, hedgerows, crops gives greater diversity. Diversity in farming also provides a buffer against pests. Some plants can be used to attract pests away from food crops, and diversity provides habitats for their natural enemies.

The EU has responded to these needs under Cluster 6  of the Horizon Europe funding programme, which addresses Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment. It aims to reduce environmental degradation and tackle the decline in biodiversity on land, waters and oceans, through transformative change including digitalisation.

The programme deals with natural resources, food security, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, food systems, circular economy, sustainable bioeconomy and forestry.

Horizon Europe Cluster 6 programme details 

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European Regions Week workshop on rural connections

As part of European Regions week, an online workshop will be held from 11.30-13.00 CET on October 14th 2021 on the theme “Rural Connections  – green and digital innovation to unlock the potential of rural and remote areas”. The workshop is organised by the European Broadband Competence Offices Network and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

Registration for the workshop

The workshop explores how recent innovation can improve the vitality and sustainability of rural and remote communities – from health, education and digitalisation to mobility and agriculture.

Workshop Agenda

Welcome – Andreas Wolter, Mayor of the City of Cologne, Climate Alliance President

Introduction – Clara Aguilera, Member of the European Parliament, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas (RUMRA) and Smart Villages

Digitalisation – Eddy Hartog, Technologies for Smart Communities, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies (DG CNECT)

Healthcare – Simona Ferrante, Project ESSENCE (Empathic platform to personally monitor, stimulate, enrich, and assist elders and children in their environment), Associate Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan

Education – Goran Škvarč, e-Schools (2020 REGIOSTARS competition awardee in the category ‘Skills and Education for a digital Europe’), Deputy Project Manager, National Research and Education Network of Croatia (CARNET)

Agriculture – George Beers, The Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020), Project Coordinator, Wageningen University and Research

Mobility – Carola Gunnarsson, Lord Mayor of Sala, Swedish Association of Local Authorities

Questions and Answers, Spokesperson for the Council of European Municipalities and Regions

Concluding remarks – European Broadband Competence Offices Network Support Facility

 

 

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SEED Project holds its final conference

The SEED Project (Smart Entrepreneurial Education & training in Digital farming) held its final conference on Thursday September 9th 2021 at the Brussels Office of the Umbria Region.

The conference theme was “New Educational Perspectives for Digital Entrepreneurship in agriculture“.

Download the SEED final conference agenda.

The event aimed to contribute to innovative actions concerning the design and implementation of education and training approaches that can help farmers and farm advisers develop the skills they need in the face of the digital transition in agriculture. It sought to examine digital entrepreneurial actions and activities in rural areas. Addressing the digital skills gap is not straightforward. It is necessary to construct an enabling environment of vocational qualifications so that skills development can take place.

Digital technologies hold the key to create a smarter, more effective and resource-efficient agricultural sector.  The conference heard about a number of existing digital solutions that can help their farms to become more sustainable and productive. However, the take up of digital technologies remains quite limited across Europe. There are many barriers to implementing new technologies, including relatively low levels of knowledge and skills needed to ensure a smart and sustainable digital future for European agriculture and rural development.

Download the conference presentationsagrihub graphic

Agrihub
LiveAdapt livestock farming
New educational perspectives for digital entrepreneurship in agriculture
Digitalisation in agriculture training
Connecting CEA Solutions to Critical Challenges
Colfiorito-sustainability
Entrepreneurial education in agriculture in Albania
Entrepreneurial Education in Agriculture: Navarra

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SEED Project holds final peer review event

Partners in the SEED Project held their final partner meeting and peer review event in Ghent and Brussels on 7-9 September 2021.

The project welcomed more than 50 participants from across Europe to examine the outputs and activities of the project and help establish a plan for exploitation of the outcomes.

The exploitation plan was based on a workshop at the University of Ghent on September 8th 2021, carried out with more than 40 peer reviewers from across Europe.

The plan was developed to describe the activities that should be carried out to enhance the successful exploitation of the project results in terms of future development after the project has been completed. Exploitation planning usually  involves the promotion and use of the products or processes and placing them on the market.

An introduction to the project was given by the project coordinator Altheo Valentini from Umbraflor. The partners from Belgium, Italy, Slovakia and Spain presented the impact of the project in their own institutions, regions and countries.

The Powerpoint slides are provided here.

The actions and outcomes of the SEED Project

 

Following this introduction, a peer review workshop activity took place where participants were invited to add their expertise to the project by answering the following four questions:

  1. In what areas should the SEED Project continue to make an impact?
  2.  Who are the key stakeholders / targets to take forward the work of SEED?
  3.  Which parts of the SEED outputs can most be used by others?
  4.  How can we engage companies, training organisations and Ministries of education?

Based on this review an exploitation plan was presented at the final conference of SEED on September 9th 2021.

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SEED Project Final Partner Meeting

Partners in the SEED Project held their final partner meeting at the University of Ghent, Belgium on Tuesday 7th September 2021.  The meeting was in a hybrid meeting format (face to face and via Zoom) due to remaining Covid travel restrictions. t-pant image

The Smart Entrepreneurial Education and training in Digital farming – SEED project develops skills in agriculture by introducing a digital transformation in the profession.

The project facilitates the development of skills and competences to meet labour market needs and also to be more flexible in anticipating future skills’ gaps for the digital agriculture sector.

The partner meeting discussed the final actions in the project, which concludes at the end of September and dealt with final reporting for the project and remaining issues.

The partners finalised plans for the final peer-review event to be held on Wednesday 8th at ‘t Pand, an historic building in the centre of Ghent and for the final project conference at the Umbria Region office in Brussels on Thursday 9th September.

 

Draft SEED report on assessment standards

Members of the SEED project have created a report on “Elaboration of assessment standards for national and transnational work-based learning activities”.  This provides valuable quality aspects developed through the use of the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) framework.EQUAVET image

EQAVET provides VET providers with a straightforward way to monitor and improve the quality of their provision. It is based on a four-stage cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation and review which is at the heart of many other quality assurance approaches.

Introducing quality assurance frameworks in work-based learning is a recent priority in vocational training. Countries at the early stages of developing their quality assurance practices can learn from the experiences of those who have already implemented consistent quality approaches.

The report describes how the Quality Assurance process can be established to set standards for mobility actions and assesses national and transnational work-based learning activities. This draft version will be reviewed during the third international peer-review in September 2021 by the members of the Advisory Board of the project.

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Agricultural Innovation Trends in 2021

Among the latest trends in digital farming are Digitisation, Internet of Things and sustainability. These are considered to be major trends which are guiding many industries in recent years. These technologies and the increasing interest and engagement with “green” matters are influencing developments in  the agriculture sector.

This huge digital transformation is being referred to as Agriculture 4.0.

Agriculture 4.0 is said to be the future of agriculture. The sector will see huge innovations in farming technology that can help agricultural professionals to address many long-standing industry challenges and improve the efficiency for various processes.

Agriculture experts predict that farmers will move towards farming strategies that are based on personalised data, rather than data produced for the masses. This will include using data more effectively for instance by using software tools and Artificial intelligence to improve decision making for farming

Software that visualises complex data drawn from several different sources including IoT devices, weather information and Big Data will become even more essential for farmers to improve their productivity and maximise efficiency.

Other areas include

  • Software-as-a-service solutions for orchard management
  • Yield monitoring and estimation
  • Farm management platforms
  • Utilisation of drones
  • IoTs in farming
  • Smart agriculture machines
  • Water management
  • Packaging
  • Eco-friendly plant production products

Read more about these innovation trends

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Study: towards sustainable agriculture with biodiversity-friendly alternatives

A European Commission funded research study has examined sustainability of large scale intensive wheat farming and its impacts on the environment.

As intensive agriculture is associated with large-scale impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services, food security and human health, it is important to shift to more sustainable, yet highly productive, farming practices.

The study assesses such practices in wheat, evaluating agricultural-management strategies at the field and landscape scales. The findings suggest that biodiversity-enhancing practices can support natural pest predation without use of agrochemicals — and that controlling pests and weeds by agrochemical means is less relevant than expected for final crop productivity.

Find out more

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Building agricultural resilience: OECD News

Set in the context of climate change, which is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme events, causing production losses, damaging land and assets in agricultural sectors, and threatening livelihoods around the world. THE OECD has published a new report on “Building Agricultural Resilience”.

The latest OECD-FAO report proposes a new approach to building agricultural resilience to natural hazard-induced disasters, drawing from country case studies. To address the looming threat of climate change to agriculture, the report finds that more good practices and policy actions are needed.

The report is available online in the OECD Library.

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Advancing Sustainable Agriculture: the role of advanced farm machines & solutions

Advancing sustainable agriculture in Europe is possible, but to do so, technology uptake needs to rapidly increase and digital farming has be further developed.

Advanced technologies and innovative sensing along with improved information technologies have provided the potential for transformations in agricultural. The practices development of modern digital advances require an understanding of traditional agricultural methods and processes, which need to be revisited as the drive to greater sustainability increases.

Mobile technology already plays a big role in the controlling and monitoring of crop irrigation systems. With the right equipment, it is easy for a farmer to control his irrigation systems just from a phone, tablet or computer, instead of visiting each field. Moisture sensors on the other hand are able to relay information about the moisture levels present in the ground at certain depths in the soil. This flexibility allows for more precise use and control of water and other inputs like fertiliser that are usually applied by irrigation pivots.

Farming is expected to be revolutionised in the coming years including the use of self-driving tractors or robots that perform many of the time-consuming tasks that are currently being done by people. The main advantage of smaller and lighter machinery is that they reduce soil erosion while enhancing soil compactness. This highly increases yields per acre of a farm.

Find out more

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What farmers need to be modern climate-friendly and profitable

Farming feeds all of us — yet in rural communities, farmers are under pressure from mounting climate volatility and limited access to modern tools like the internet. How can agriculture stay resilient and grow with the times?

Watch the interview with Beth Ford, CEO of the farming co-op Land O’Lakes, as she shares her plan to establish broadband as a basic right nationwide in the USA and talks through an exciting range of climate-friendly innovations aimed at making farmers more sustainable and profitable.

Beth Ford interview photo

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OECD report on Government support to agriculture

Government support fo agriculture has continued to grow worldwide in recent years, but is often failing to meet its stated aims of improving food security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability, according to a new report from the OECD. There are relatively low levels of innovation.

Monitoring of 54 countries showed that only 6% of all budgetary transfers to the sector, or USD 26 billion per year, was spent on agricultural innovation systems, despite their high social returns.

The annual report on Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation includes country specific analysis based on up-to-date estimates of support to agriculture. The 2021 report focuses on policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and analyses the implications of agricultural support policies for the performance of food systems.

More information on Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the OECD

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LiveAdapt: extensive livestock adapts to climate change

LIFE LiveAdapt is part of the LIFE programme of the European Union, in which a multidisciplinary team of entities from Spain, Portugal and France will identify and assess, for four years (2018-2022), solutions for the adaptation to climate change of extensive livestock production models in southern Europe.

Why this project?

The negative impacts that climate change is causing on the livestock sector, especially on extensive farms, are having a significant negative impact, that affects southern European regions more significantly.

Increased temperatures and lack of water, among other factors, cause situations of animal stress, and consequently the decrease in productivity and generation of overruns for producers. The scarcity and low water quality and the deterioration of pastures, due in part to frequent heat waves and soil erosion, that occurs due to increasingly frequent episodes of torrential rains, make this scenario even worse.

To address this situation, which is jeopardising the sustainability of extensive livestock production systems, the multidisciplinary team of this project has as its main objective the implementation of a strategy based on innovative technologies and practices that make possible the adaptation the sector to climate change.

Consortium

Spanish members:
Universidad de Córdoba (Cordinating entity)
FEDEHESA
Fundación Entretantos
Innogestiona Ambiental
PigCHAMP pro Europa

Portuguese members:
Quercus
Associação para a Defesa do Património de Mértola (ADPM

French member:
Institut de l’Elevage (Idele)

More info: https://liveadapt.eu/en

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What role for the OECD Green Recovery Database?

As part of a Green Recovery post-Covid, Governments have the opportunity to unleash innovation, undertake wider reaching and fundamental restructuring of certain sectors, accelerate existing environmental plans, and make use of environmentally sustainable project developments. The OECD has established a database of Green Recovery initiatives to share what is being done and provide examples of innovative actions.

The OECD Green Recovery Database contains information from national-level environmentally relevant measures, at the moment spread over 43 countries and the European Union. It covers a wide range of environmental impacts beyond energy and climate, including pollution (air, plastics), water, biodiversity, and waste management, many of which are related to agricultural practices.

The results so far indicate that there are insufficient green measures to enable the necessary transformation towards long-term climate and environmental objectives.

The database deals with measures specifically related to COVID-19 economic recovery efforts with clear positive, negative or “mixed” environmental impacts across one or several environmental categories. What role can the database play in supporting and enabling action?

Find out moreRead the OECD Policy Brief

Organisations like CarbonBrief are also monitoring the work of governments on their greencarbonbrief logo recovery as countries look towards recovery as the pandemic’s impact starts to slowly recede. Visit their tracking of policies.

Based on the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations have published a Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery. It is important to note the extent to which science is being supported as part of recovery plans.

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Optimising the processing of UAV-based thermal imagery

The UAV Research Center (URC) at the Faculty of Bioscience engineering  – est. 2019 – focuses on sensing technologies with drones through interdisciplinary collaboration. It undertakes research on the automation of  drone flights, remote sensing using drones and data processing, with particular interest in precision agriculture and industrial inspection applications.

One of their recent projects deals with how to optimise the processing of thermal imagery taken with drones and influenced by changing meteorological conditions during the flight. A paper on this research is available at https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9050476

Figure: The effect of initial estimate of thermal image position on the image alignment of the agricultural dataset. The sparse point cloud is shown. (a) No initial image position; (b) GPS-based initial image position; (c) RGB image-based initial image position.

Top: Top view (nadir), middle and bottom: side views. The yellow markers indicate gaps in the data alignment, the red markers indicate errors in the image alignment. In the top views, dashed red lines indicate the position of the misaligned areas shown in the middle and bottom views. (source: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9050476)

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Social Hackathon Umbria 2021

After a one-year break due to the pandemic, the Social Hackathon Umbria will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a major digital co-creation event focused on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and shared with Fertitecnica Colfiorito and FAO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

#SHU2021 foresees a four-day Hackathon, Workshops, Exhibitions and Laboratoriesnext 1-4 July 2020 in the beautiful setting of the Colfiorito Park, a protected natural area and example of many sustainable development practices of the Umbria Region.

At the same time as the training courses, we will launch a call for ideas on four thematic areas: #zerohunger, #zerowaste, #zeroimpact and #zeroignorance.
The call is open to local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) including NGOs, non-profit associations, and any other type of public and private organisation (including informal groups of young people under 35 years of age) that works for or supports the third sector and the society in general. Applicants can propose any sort of digital solution that is relevant to their internal and/or external needs and that respects the following selection criteria:
  • social relevance: is the digital project relevant to at least one of the challenges proposed by the Social Hackathon Umbria?
  • local community impact: will the digital solution have an impact on the CSO development and/or on the quality of services provided to disadvantaged target groups?
  • Social Hackademy adequacy: is the project idea in line with the skills and knowledge acquired during the #hackAD training? Is it possible to develop it during the 48 hours of Hackathon?

For each area, we will select the two most relevant ideas that can be developed by teams of up to 8 members led by an experienced team manager. During the 48 hours of the hackathon, teams will be able to create a pitch, prototype or product to present in front ofan international jury for the award of a digital prize with a commercial value of €100.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the challenge first-hand… visit https://www.socialhackathonumbria.info/en/live-the-challenges
Deadline to apply is Friday 4 June 2021!

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SEED Webinar during European Green Week, June 7th 2021

 

“The carbon footprint of digital technologies in the AgriTech and Precision Agriculture sectors”

 

The European Environment Agency warns that “Europe’s environment is at a tipping point”. This event examines the situation in the agriculture sector, sharing practices as well as issues and challenges being faced. In the context of the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s ambition to adopt an EU Action Plan Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil in 2021.

The webinar will introduce the SEED project which has created new qualifications and curricula incorporating digital farming and the tools and technologies for more sustainable practices. A panel of experts, that have implemented research or innovative practices in order to assess, monitor and reduce the energetic impact of digital transformation in agriculture, will present their work and discuss the zero pollution goals.

Panelists include:

Antonio Román

Innovation project technician
@ Innogestiona Ambiental (Spain)

The LiveAdapt Project: solutions for adaptation
to climate change of extensive livestock production

Karel Charvat

Plan4All, AgriHub.cz
Digital innovation centre & its contribution
to climate change & zero pollution

Cláudia Brites

Head of Sustainability @ Ecoinside
Sustainability in the agriculture sector

7th June 2021
11.00 AM CET

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Urban digital farming initiatives

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how susceptible countries are to turmoil in the global food supply. Small countries like Singapore have restricted space for agricultural development. One solution is to create vertical farming hubs. Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment precision agriculture, which aims to optimise plant growth, and incorporate soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Find out more

Due to lack of space, the Singapore government has designated rooftops as agricultural spaces in the public interest. In 2020, the rooftops of nine multi-story car parks in public housing estates were made available for farming for instance. Now, one of Singapore’s oldest industrial estates, will be redeveloped in a phased manner into an agri-tech innovation hub.

In Europe urban farms have also been developed that involves the adoption of various emerging tech trends including robotics to make agriculture more productive, profitable and sustainable. With this advancement, it is possible to grow and deliver high-quality food with the minimal waste within an area of a smaller footprint. 

Find out more about the revolutionary practices being used in Europe

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SEED publishes Joint Digital Farming Curriculum in 4 languages

Partners in the SEED Project have developed and finalised the curriculum content for the Joint Qualification in Digital Farming. The results have been validated with national focus-groups and through international peer-review events. They are now published and available as a brand-new Curriculum mapped both on DigComp and EntreComp.

The curriculum can be used as a stand alone EQF5 qualifications profile in Digital Farming or as a modular and flexible VET course to update or integrate inside existing qualifications.

Download the curriculum below

Joint Curriculum in Digital Farming

Joint Curriculum (Dutch version)

Joint Curriculum (Slovak version)

Joint Curriculum (Spanish version)

 

 

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Digital agriculture: UmbraFlor, EGInA and Ciuffelli made SEED

The project for Smart Entrepreneurial Education and training in Digital farming – SEED – is drawing to a conclusion. Coordinated by UmbraFlor, the nursery of the Umbria Region, the project involves the Agricultural High school of Todi and the European Grants International Academy of Foligno, together with other partners from Spain, Belgium and Slovakia.

The initiative, which aims to develop skills and competences in the agricultural sector by introducing the concept of digital transformation, supports the development of a joint VET qualification (EQF 5) on digital agriculture.

A 100-hour training phase is scheduled to start in April, with the theoretical part taking place online and the practical part in the field at the Istituto Ciuffelli training centre. The participants have been selected among the last years’ agricultural expert graduates who have shown interest in a real opportunity for professional qualification.

The training activities will begin on 12 April with an online session; practical training sessions for small groups are then planned for 14-15-16-21-22-23 April. At the end of the month, four more online training days will be held: 26, 27, 28 and 29 April.

The lessons will continue in May with a further six days of practical training in the field (12, 13, 14 and 19, 20 and 21), to be followed by a final one at a later stage.

The training course has been developed on the basis of the Joint Curriculum developed by the project partners, as well as taking into account the new EASA / ENAC regulations that came into force in January 2021 and are still being implemented at national level, with the various modules preparatory to obtaining UAS/ENAC certificates.

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SEED Project presented at EUROGEO2021

The SEED Project was disseminated at the EUROGEO 2021 Conference on April 23rd 2021.  Due to the Covid pandemic the conference was held online, hosted by UNEC, Madrid, the Spanish Open University.

The conference theme Sustainable Development Goals for all, where the SDGs seek to promote a multidimensional model of development capable of guaranteeing sustainability. This involves a complex process of political and economic discussion and environmental concern with different views, which must be addressed from all areas of society.

SEED was included as part of the presentation “Geo_projects and Innivation in Education”. You can follow the presentation here below.

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Digital agriculture: the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra invites you to become a Digital Farmer

The aim of the Smart Entrepreneurship Education and Training in Digital Agriculture – SEED project is to develop skills and competences and to support the preparation of a common qualification for digital agriculture.

The Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra is organising a digital farming training course in May 2021 focused on the issue of digital technologies in agricultural and food production. The training course will consist of a theoretical part, which will take place online and a practical part, which will take place at VPP in Kolíňany. The course is open to students of the 1st degree of university studies and the unemployed with a completed secondary education in agriculture.

Further information on the planned training will be provided by the project guarantor prof. Ing. Zuzana Palková, PhD. ([email protected]).

Individual lessons will focus on the application of sensors in precision agriculture, control systems used in agriculture, big data and their use in agriculture and variable speed technologies.

The training course has been prepared on the basis of a joint study program developed by the SEED project partners, as well as taking into account the new EASA / ENAC regulations, which entered into force in January 2021 and are still being implemented at national level with various modules preparing for UAS / ENAC certification.

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Summer school on drone-based remote sensing

IGARSS 2021 Brussels (in cooperation with Ghent University) will organise a three-day summer school from 6 to 8 July 2021, prior to the IGARSS 2021 conference.

The summer school will be fully dedicated to drone based remote sensing and is conceived as a highly practical training event where teaching, demos, hands-on exercises and even a live campaign will be combined..

Submit applications by April 23, 2021 to participate and maybe you’ll receive one of the 20 spots to join in.

More information  https://igarss2021.com/SummerSchoolProgram.asp

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Future of Agriculture Forum

The European Commission announced the 2021 Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) will take place in March, incorporating their annual conference on March 23rd in a  virtual studio-based format.

The event will focus on ‘food system renewal’ recognising that the world must urgently deal with the implications of the Covid-19 crisis but also with the increasingly severe consequences of climate change.

With a critical role to play in the drive to sustainability, the FFA2021 will examine how the food system can and should renew in all aspects, as well as what will be needed to achieve this transition.

Under the direction of Forum Chairman and former EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnick, FFA2021 will bring together high-level speakers from the EU and across the globe.

Registration is free – find out more

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Smart digital farming at Van den Borne potatoes

Using huge amounts of data collected by all kinds of different sensors, Van den Borne potato farm manages to use the land more efficiently than most other potato farms. They know exactly which areas of soil need more nutrients, where pests are eating leaves, or which plants aren’t getting enough sunlight – and they are able to act accordingly. Van den Borne recently started their ‘own’ airport called Agri Drone Port Reusel to be able to legally fly the drones that they want to use for monitoring the approximately 450 ha farm.

The third-generation farm has become like a testing ground for technology that has been repurposed for use in agriculture. Because the company has become such an outspoken advocate for so-called precision farming, scientists and other agricultural innovators know who to reach out to when they have some cool idea they’d like to test.

Thanks to the sensors, and the stack of data analytics tools that are being used, the farmer can be exactly where he needs to be, when he needs to be there. And the best thing: He’s not afraid to share his knowledge. Jacob Van den Borne actually preaches the use of technology in agriculture – which is probably why some people call him ‘the pope of precision farming’!!

Find out more 

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Why is SEED needed?

The SEED Project addresses training and qualifications to counteract inefficient and ineffective farming practises. It provides a new and innovative approach to vocational training in agriculture and agribusiness areas.

The earth lost one-third of all arable land in the last 40 years, a 2016 study reported. Poor agricultural practices are eroding soil at a rate up to 100 times faster than it can re-form or recover. Meanwhile, demand for crops is skyrocketing—to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050, the world’s farms will need to yield an estimated 50 percent more food.

Soil erosion costs European countries €1.25 billion in annual agricultural productivity loss and  €155 million in the gross domestic product (GDP) loss, the EU reports). Smart farming can help to turn the tide as it helps preventing abusing our valuable soil through better and more precise fertilising, irrigation and use much less pesticide, but still resulting in better production.

SEED is a response to the need to better understand how to. maintain soil quality and fertility. Examine the curriculum and qualifications framework.