All posts by Karl

IGRSS summer school drones graphic

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

FFA banner

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

SEED potato farm image

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 

drought image

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.

drone-image

SEED Publishes Curriculum Framework

Entrecomp graphic

The SEED Project has published the final version of its Curriculum for vocational training for Digital Farming.

Following extensive peer review and critical analysis, the content of the curricular units comprising a Joint Qualification in Digital Farming has been completed. They were validated with national focus-groups and at a series of international peer-review events. The result is a brand-new Curriculum mapped both to DigComp (European Digital Competence Framework for citizens) and EntreComp (European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework) consisting of 3 interrelated and interconnected competence areas.

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

Download the Curriculum Framework

Curriculum (Dutch version)

New adventures in agriculture and rural development for SEED Italian partners

While the SEED project is entering its last implementation phase, the Italian members of our consortium are kicking off several innovative European projects that have just been approved within the framework of the last Erasmus+ calls and they are all focusing on smart agriculture and rural development.

The projects operate at different levels to involve both young people, adults and experts by using digital tools, sustainable approaches, exchange of good practises, with the final aim to promote personal, professional and social development of those who are or are willing to work in agriculture and other related fields.

UmbraFlor, the SEED project coordinator, is involved in AGROGEN, a KA2 Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in the field of Youth. The project promotes mountain agriculture as an opportunity for youth employment and it targets young people, between 18 and 30 years old, who are rooted in rural areas, with personal or professional aspirations focused on the agricultural and forestry sectors. It especially wants to give opportunities to participants with common interests and needs, in order to provide them with strategies, skills and attitudes that motivate them to join the productive network of their areas of origin.

EGInA, the European Grants International Academy, is involved as a partner in the following projects:

  • SWEDA – Sustainable Wellbeing Entrepreneurship for Diversification in Agriculture – that will improve the entrepreneurial skills of higher education students for the promotion of well-being within agricultural and agri-food enterprises. A short specialization course will be designed and piloted in three European Universities supporting the realization of experimental activities in social farming, animal and environmental wellbeing, bio-economy and biodiversity strategies.
  • YOU_WEEN! – YOUng Women grEen Entrepreneurs – focuses on young women who live in rural and isolated areas to give them tools and support improving their entrepreneurial training in sustainable development and fostering their employability and socio-educational/personal development. Youth workers will engage local youngsters in the participation at contests launched and voted through social networks.
  • DIGIAGRIMARK – Safe Digital Marketing for Agripreneurs – aims at contributing to digitalisation in agriculture, so to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the agricultural sector through improving farmers’ digital marketing skills with digital safety & security.

Finally, the VET Agricultural School “Ciufelli-Einaudi” will be involved in a school exchange project with other institutes from France and North-Macedonia focused on biodiversity and bees.

Digital Farming Expert Qualification Published

The SEED Project has published its latest report on the Digital Farming Expert qualification. Three elements are addressed – AGRI – DIGI – INNO

  1. Agribusiness, which is assumed to be based on economic knowledge  and skills, the logic and organization of production, logistics and selling processes;  and integration in the value chain;
  2. Digital, which is assumed to be the technical knowledge foundations and skills (Information and data literacy, Communication and Collaboration, Digital content creation, Problem solving), all at the Advanced/Highly specialised levels of the Digcomp 2.1 framework, accordingly related to Agribusiness specificities;
  3. Innovation, assumed as the knowledge and skills necessaries to understanding the thread and the opportunities, carrying out feasibility studies, defining the correct approach and implement the due actions, in terms of project management and change management.

Download the report 

PRIMA Observatory on Innovation feature

SEED, the Smart Entrepreneurial Education and training in Digital Farming that develops skills in agriculture by introducing a digital transformation in the profession has been identified by the PRIMA Observatory on Innovation as an example of best practice. The Observatory was developed within the PRIMA Programme of the European Commission.

The Prima Observatory seeks to identify solutions that shape the future for better societies through research, innovation, education and best practices. It promotes new concrete solutions for our communities and enterprises and stimulates new partnerships among Euro Mediterranean researchers, innovators, businesses and stakeholders.

This think-tank recognises the value of the work being undertaken by SEED to establish competence model, curricula and qualifications for digital farming.

You can read more at the website here.

An invitation to participate in our peer-review

Are you an educator interested in curriculum development?
Are you involved in digital farming? 

On the 24th and 25th of February 2020, the SEED project will land in Pamplona, Spain for the second International peer-review event. The object of the peer-review will be to review and evaluate the SEED curriculum that project partners are currently developing. We invite experts in digital farming and educators with expertise in curriculum design to join the project meeting in Spain and contribute to the validation of the SEED draft curriculum.

Participants will spend 2 days in wonderful Navarra, take part in groupwork, peer review activities and a technical visit that will help project partners to improve the quality of the intellectual products the project is developing.

The project will cover the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence during your stay in Pamplona. Participants are expected to travel on the 23rd and leave on the either 25th late afternoon/evening or 26th. If you have questions, contact Luca Pagliaricci of EGInA, the project partner in charge of organizing the event (email: [email protected], Telephone +393288746046).

SEED presented to VET students

The students were informed by Susana Otazu and Sonia Mendoza, from the training department of AIN, of the opportunities for international mobility and internship in hosting companies from the countries of the project partners. The students were studying “Landscape and Rural Environment” (EQF 5) and “Forestry and Natural Environment Management” (EQF 5).

The internships will take place in ICT companies, agricultural companies or research centers and universities in three countries (Italy, Slovakia and Belgium) where trainees will have the chance of participating in different ongoing projects related to the digitalization of farms, research projects on digital farming, supporting research teams and in the analysis of needs and elaboration of a digital transformation strategic plans.

An internal tutor from each hosting company will be assigned to each trainee. This will allow trainees to put into practice their digital farming knowledge and skills in a work based learning (WBL) environment. The students were very interested in the opportunity and some of them expressed their desire of participating in the mobility.

SEED presented to Slovakian farmers

On Friday, October 11, 2019 in Liptovske Revuce experts from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra took part in the conference “Rural Woman – Leader 2019”.

The conference was organized by Rural Parliament in Slovakia. The Rural Parliament in Slovakia was established in 2000 as an informal platform for rural initiatives. Its mission is to promote the improvement of the quality of life in rural areas and to support rural initiatives in the management of rural development.

During their presentation, Zuzana Palkova and Marieta Okenkova introdiced the ideas and main outcomes of the SEED project. The auditorium – farmers and representatives of the companies involved in the food processing – have been informed about the oportunity to hosting the students from Italy, Spain and Belgium thanks to international internship realized in the frame of SEED project activities.

Use of drones in precision agriculture

What role do drones play in the precision agriculture of the future?

The first applications indicate it is important that drone pilots, IT workers and agronomists are working together. (source image: VILT).

In Flanders, the EUKA, the Flemish drone cluster provides an overview of the main sectors where drones are being used, such as construction, surveillance, agriculture, technology, logistics, government and leisure.

EUKA was recognized by the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as an Innovative Business Network so that it can help this new economic sector. There is no lack of ambition because 5,000 jobs are expected in the drone industry by 2022. Applications in agriculture will have to be profitable if they want to break through, but the main problems are the small land parcels and the intensive nature of Flemish agriculture.

The West Flanders practice centre INAGRO opted to develop cereals – an extensive crop with low added value – as a test case. In 2017 for the first time they offered fertilisation advice based on data from drone images. (source images INAGRO).

This enabled farmers to develop site-specific,grain parcel fertilisation. “We also want to be able to do this for other crops in the long term, but for crops such as potatoes and vegetables, it is still too difficult to deliver fertilisation advice. We can only manage this for grains “, says Jonathan Van Beek, precision agriculture research leader at INAGRO.

Read More

Navarra developments

Following the SEED kickoff meeting AIN held a meeting with the Director of the Vocational Training Service at the Education department of the Government of Navarra, Esther Monterrubio and the person responsible for the Internationalisation of VET Jaime Valdeolmillos.

Discussions focused on the active involvement of the Ministry as an associated partner to the project and plans to create a technical team for the benchmarking of the existing CV and the development of a new CV in the field, as well as planning student and staff mobility.

Read More.

Boosting Digital farming in Slovakia

Round Table at Slovak University of Agriculture
On January 31, 2019 SUA welcomed several representatives of vocational schools and training centres from the Nitra region of Slovakia. Experts from SUA introduced the SEED project, its main idea and objectives.

During the discussion the use of drones and mobile robots for agricultural purposes was presented. By the end of the meeting, the guests were keen to be involved in further activities of SEED and contribute for example to the evaluation of project outcomes and outputs.

Read More.

SEED news from EGInA

Last Friday September the 27th, Altheo Valentini on behalf of EGInA and the SEED partnership participated in the conference “Il digitale per l’Agrifood in Umbria” (Digital technologies in the Agrifood industry in the Umbria Region). The conference was held in Perugia and it aimed at the construction of a dialogue involving all stakeholders of the sectors: agricultural companies, innovation experts, lawyers, policy makers, marketers, researchers, citizens. Among the new technologies that are having a great impact on the Agrifood industry, the speakers at the event underlined the importance of Artificial Intelligence, internet of things and blockchain. The event represented a great opportunity to introduce the SEED project and explore potential links.