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)
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 Laboratories, next 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.
Deadline to apply is Friday 4 June 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.
Innovation project technician
@ Innogestiona Ambiental (Spain)
The LiveAdapt Project: solutions for adaptation
to climate change of extensive livestock production
Digital innovation centre & its contribution
to climate change & zero pollution
Head of Sustainability @ Ecoinside
Sustainability in the agriculture sector
7th June 2021
11.00 AM CET
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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)
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.
The SEED Project has published its latest report on the Digital Farming Expert qualification. Three elements are addressed – AGRI – DIGI – INNO
- 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;
- 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;
- 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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.