Categories
AgTech Intellectual Property Rights

How will we support data exchanges in agriculture?

As agriculture becomes increasingly digital and mobile via increasing use of consumer devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.), it is important to understand how data is being collected, interpreted, and utilized. Moreover, data sharing is going to be fundamental to deriving value from data analytics in agriculture. The absence of legal and regulatory frameworks around the collection, sharing and use of agricultural data contributes to the range of challenges currently being faced by farmers considering adoption of smart farming technologies.

Agri data is neither recognised under traditional type of property (land, building, good and animals) nor any traditional intellectual property (patent, trademark and copyright). Still many existing laws potentially influence the ownership, control of and access to data. For example, legal liability of an autonomous tractor drive over someone else’s scarecrow. Is the liable party in such a case the software coders, the owner of the tractor, the manufacturer of the tractor, all of these parties jointly and severably, or someone else entirely?

This issue might be further complicated and differentiated by the fact that companies like John Deere, claim that the farmers that operate their tractors do not actually own the software that they are running on, nor do they have the right to alter or fix any code in their tractors. But runaway vehicles are not the only concern that farmers have with their autonomous tractors. The robots designed to collect and analyze millions of data points that relate to animal welfare, soil quality, crop quality, and the output or utilization of seed types are often part of the internet-of-things environment.

As on date, the best solution for managing of agri data seems to be, “individual contract agreements to treat agri data as a protected trade secret”. Contract Agreement could include the following 10 points to make sure that the agreement is fool-proof.

  1. Consent: Collection, access and use of farm data should include consent of the farmer with proper signed (or digital) agreement. 
  2. Notification: Farmers must be notified for the collected data with proper details about it’s usage.
  3. Complaint Redressal: Proper complaint redressal mechanism with full transparency.
  4. Features: Defining the availability of services and features when the farmer make choices for opt-in and opt-out.
  5. Portability: Data portability and data retrieval for storage and usage in other systems.
  6. Confidentiality: A clause for not sharing or disclosing the farm data with a third party in any matter that is inconsistent with the contract agreement.
  7. Retrieval: Farmer should have the authority to discontinue the services and collection of data. Services discontinuation should be supported with an option of retrieval and secured destruction of collected data.
  8. Misuse protection: Prohibition of data for anti-competitive activities like speculation in commodity markets based on inputs from the farm data.
  9. Safeguards: Clearly define liability and security safeguards for loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification and disclosure. 
  10. Policy: Notice and response policy for agreement breach.

All the stakeholders in AgTech sector should ensure that Farmers have the opportunity to easily extract their agricultural datasets from one device to another so that they can migrate to a different system, potentially incompatible with the one they are currently using.

Categories
AgTech Webinar

AgTech Webinar: Innovation and technology in food and farming

Globally we are fast-moving more toward a technologized society as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown in medicine, education and the way we work. Agriculture too is at the forefront of this revolution with a fledgling sector called agtech. Farmers challenged by climate change, labor shortage, water and land supply shortage and the depletion of arable land, have already been steadily turning to innovation and technology such as blockchain, automation and robotics.

Come join a special panel moderated by Amy Wu that will feature women entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to help farmers succeed. The panel and discussion will address questions including achieving a balance between technology and human labor, how innovation can solve food supply chain issues, and the ways technology is creating a potential paradigm shift in agriculture.

Presenters:

Pamela (Pam) Marrone spent her career focused on biologically based products for pest management; for the last 30 years in Davis CA, where she started and led three biological crop protection companies. She started Marrone Bio Innovations in 2006 to discover and develop bio-based products for pest management and plant health. The company was listed on NASDAQ in 2013 (MBII), has commercialized 10 products, and is growing rapidly. Pam received the “Sustie” Award from EcoFarm in 2019.

Martha Montoya is CEO and founder of AgTools, which she founded in 2017 as a food supply SaaS platform that provides real-time intelligence to farmers and buyers with the goal of reducing food waste globally. The platform takes into consideration over 75 different market variables from weather to transportation on over 500 different commodities to help growers better plan their crops. The company has 14 employees throughout five offices in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia.

Penelope Nagel is a 9th generation farmer, COO and co-founder of Persistence Data Mining Inc. (PDMI). PDMI is a private company that uses hyperspectral imaging for timely collection of soil data related to spatial variability of soil texture. PDMI has developed algorithms accurately estimating nutrient availability based on hyperspectral data, key to determining where and how much nutrients need to be applied.

Moderator:

Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for the women’s ag and agtech movement. She is the Founder & Chief Content Director of from Farms to Incubators, a multimedia platform that uses documentary, video, photography and the written word to tell the stories of women leaders and innovators in agtech. It has a mission of expanding the profiles of women in food, farming, and tech. The documentary and stories have been screened and presented at SXSW, Techonomy, the Forbes AgTech Summit, EcoFarm and The New Food Economy. Prior to starting From Farms to Incubators, Amy spent over two decades as an investigative reporter at media outfits including the USA Today Network, Time magazine, and she has contributed to The New York Times, HuffPost and Wall Street Journal. She reported on agriculture and agtech for The Salinas Californian in Salinas, Calif. She sits on the Diversity Advisory Committee of EcoFarm.

Categories
Agriculture Policy

Agri-Food Pilot to ensure Food Security in Canada

The Agri-Food Pilot is conceptualised to build resilience in the agriculture sector, which sees thousands of jobs go unfilled each year. It helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. The pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. It will run until May 2023.

The three-year pilot is an experiment by definition and that the federal government is open to ways they can improve the program and “ensure that it’s meeting the objective of recognizing those contributions — the value of the work on farms when it comes to food security — by providing a clear way [migrant workers] can establish permanent residency in Canada.”

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the pilot will accept 2,750 applications annually. Eligible industries and eligible jobs under the pilot are listed below:

  • Meat product manufacturing: Retail butchers, Industrial butchers, Food processing labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production: General farm workers, Harvesting labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Animal production, excluding aquaculture: General farm workers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

Foreign workers fill an important role in the Canadian agriculture sector, where 59,000 positions went unfilled last year, according to a study from the Senate committee on agriculture and forestry. The report found that the number of unfilled positions could hit 114,000 by 2025.

Read more at iPolitics

Categories
Crop Insurance

Crop insurance brings food security for farmers

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative by the World Food Programme (WFP) provides an important platform for educating smallholder farmers on climate risk adaptation. The initiative, which began in 2017 in Kitui County in eastern Kenya, enables the poorest farmers to manage climate risk through crop insurance that they can access by participating in risk reduction activities. Under the R4 Initiative, farmers are financially compensated if their crop yields are low which enables them to keep their animals and other assets and still be food secure.

A farmer is compensated for the difference between the weight of what they have harvested and the average weight of the historical yields of that given ecological area

Crop insurance payouts have been critical in protecting poor families in times of severe drought or other shocks. However, insurance alone is not a magic bullet; that’s why crop insurance is integrated with improved farming techniques and infrastructure. If more smallholder farmers had access to this kind of initiative, the need and cost of humanitarian assistance could be vastly reduced.

Read more at WFP_Africa

Categories
AgTech Research

Yanmar develops modular robotic platform for agriculture

Yanmar R&D Europe, with its European research facility based in Florence, Italy, focuses on a variety of field-based studies to bring added value to the agriculture industry. This include the two-year, four-million Euros ‘SMASH’ (Smart Machine for Agricultural Solutions Hightech) project being carried out in cooperation with 10 technology partners to develop a mobile agricultural ‘eco-system’ to monitor, analyse and manage agricultural crops.

SMASH project objectives include the development of a modular robotic platform that uses the latest information communications technology to examine crops and soils, analyse gathered information and provide clear, actionable information to farmers to support crop management.

Yanmar’s agro-bot is to be used to monitor and control crops, take soil samples for analysis and accurately target agricultural chemicals for precision application.

Agriculture in the future will see increasing use of scientifically precise farming techniques, where automated ‘agro-bots’ monitor, treat and work the land, using advanced technology designed to help maximise yields and minimise disease.

Read more at Ymedia

Categories
Agriculture

Despite lockdown, producers didn’t change planting plans in USA

As compared to 2019, planted acreage in 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Planted Acreage at 97.0 million acres Up 8 Percent
  • Soybean Acreage at 83.5 million acres Up 10 Percent
  • All Wheat Acreage at 44.7 million acres Down 1 Percent
  • All Cotton Acreage at 13.7 million acres Down Less Than 1 Percent

As compared to 2019, grain stocks on March 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Stocks totaled 7.95 billion bushels Down 8 Percent
  • Soybean Stocks totaled 2.25 billion bushels Down 17 Percent
  • All Wheat Stocks totaled 1.41 billion bushels Down 11 Percent

Read more at USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks

Categories
e-Commerce

Go-to-market approach: Bayer joins hands with AgroStar

Bayer has partnered with AgroStar, a Pune-based e-commerce firm in the farm input space, to deliver seeds and crop protection products directly to the farmer’s doorsteps. Farmers in India can now order Bayer’s seeds and crop protection products through AgroStar’s digital agri-tech platform. With increasing incidence of online e-commerce platforms, the trend is fast catching up in the agricultural space. The company is hoping that the supply of good quality agri-inputs and digital agronomy solutions, can significantly increase farm productivity and farmer incomes.

Read more at TheHinduBusinessLine

Categories
Policy

Data driven agriculture leads to Sustainable Ag

Putting data to use requires an effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. Technologies like genetic modification, protected cultivation, automation help produce more food than we need to survive. The current food system, with its reliance on a handful of crops, is inadequate and unsustainable in the face of climate change and population growth. The United Nations warned that the current global food system is inadequate and unsustainable. Even farmers are being vilified by many—including those in the environmental, scientific and policymaking communities—as enemies of our planet, as indiscriminate polluters and wasters of our air, soil and water resources. 

To meet this challenge, the researchers proposed a two-step process. The initial step focuses on the design of a sustainable framework—with goals and objectives—guided and quantified by digital agriculture technologies. Implementation, the second step, involves increased public-private investment in technologies like digital agriculture, and a focus on applicable, effective policy. Policymakers must make use of digital agriculture to help drive policy including tax incentives and subsidies to support farmers working toward a more sustainable system.

It does no good to design a policy that the farmer will ignore.

Read more at Nature

Categories
Policy

Young millennials as the future of Philippine agriculture

The Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines, is set to engage 900 fresh graduates (batch 2019-2020) as ‘frontliners’ to assist in the implementation of agriculture programs in each congressional district nationwide. Millennials will be tapped as on-the-job trainees (OJTs) for about six months, given an attractive allowance, and later will get employed and detailed at each congressional district under the DA-Agricultural Program Coordinating Offices (APCOs). Each province has a DA-APCO that coordinates with local government units in the implementation of agricultural banner programs — rice, corn, high value crops, livestock (small and large ruminants) and poultry. It makes recommendations and conducts monitoring services to ensure that national and regional DA policies and programs are effectively and efficiently cascaded at the local level.

Eventually, when their OJT stint is over they can develop their respective agri-fishery business plan to be pursued as a project in their own localities. The initiative is being tied up with the DA’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA), a loan program launched in January 2020 to entice young Filipinos to engage in farming and fishery ventures and agribusiness and food processing enterprises. Under the management of the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), the KAYA financing program, with a total funding of P1B, lends P300,000 to P500,000 per borrower, payable in five years at zero interest.

Read more at Philippine Information Agency

Categories
Policy

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership opens up E-Business opportunities for agri-food

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) is a five-year federal- provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri- products sectors, and increase their competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability. The Governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels to help generate new revenue streams for future growth.

The Agri-Food Open for E-Business targeted intake will help businesses/organizations quickly expand their marketing channels and respond to new market challenges, increase online sales in the sector and provide consumers with access to more local food. This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

  1. Bring Your Business Online: Provides a grant of up to $5,000 to eligible organizations/businesses to help establish an online presence.
  2. Develop Online Business Opportunities: Provides cost-share funding for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 to develop e-business opportunities on a larger scale.

Eligible agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (such as farmers, processors, individual farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations) that are looking to bring their business online quickly can apply to receive a grant of up to $5,000 in order to capture business opportunities and address marketing challenges through a new, expanded or enhanced online e-business and marketing presence.

Read more at OMAFRA