DLG publishes the Position Paper “Digital Farming”

DLG publishes the Position Paper “Digital Farming”

DLG publishes the Position Paper “Digital Farming”

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The German Agriculture Society (DLG), Smart AKIS partner, publishes a new position paper on Digital Farming  very much in line with Smart AKIS Network findings and recommendations. The ownership and use of agricultural data remains at the core of the demands drawn by DLG in this field.

Digitalization promises a wide range of uses in agriculture in order to optimally plan, document and control processes. Data is the key. “They have become a production factor in agriculture that could become as important as today’s soil, work and capital” said DLG President Carl-Albrecht Bartmer ahead of the DLG Winter Conference, focusing on the topic “Digital business- making the right use of opportunities”. Bartmer is convinced that digitalization offers many profitable opportunities for farmers and the entire agricultural sector. “Digitization has the potential to optimize agricultural practices, improve environmental impacts and promote animal welfare” explains the DLG President.

“Digitalization in agriculture offers many opportunities”, affirms the chairman of the DLG Committee for Digitization, work management and process technology Prof. Dr. med. Hans W. Griepentrog from the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart Germany. “Due to the comprehensive networking and system building, there are opportunities as well as risks associated with digitization. Those must be minimized.” so Professor Griepentrog. There are also barriers in the way of implementing digitization that would have to be removed. For this reason, the DLG committees for digitization, work management and process technology, for plant production technology, animal husbandry technology and the DLG Information Technology working group under the leadership of Professor Griepentrog and with the collaboration of Dr. Ing. Norbert Uppemkamp from the Chamber of Agriculture of North Rhine-Westphalia and Roland Hörner from the DLG Compentence Center Agriculture developed a position paper on digital agriculture, which among other things raised eight demands.

DLG’s demands for digitizing Agriculture:

  1. Expand infrastructure for mobile telecommunication!
Availability is insufficient in many regions. This endangers all rural areas, obstructs all branches of industry located there and hinders the development of agriculture.

  1. All farm data belong to the farmer!
The farmer has data sovereignty and is responsible for data security. Authorization, monitoring, control and transparency must be ensured. Digital watermarks in data sets and data coding are now ready for practical use and offer protection against unauthorized transfer, processing and analysis.

  1. Expand data protection and data security and protect agricultural operating and business data!
Agriculture is not a “transparent operation”. Business data are initially business secrets, as they are in other sectors as well. For this, statutory data protection must be extended beyond personal data protection to cover farm, machine and business data too. The digital recording of all production processes on farms initially serves the farmer. Public authorities or third parties do not have any general right to inspect these data, but it is equally clear that farmers must comply completely with all statutory documentation and information obligations. Decentralized and redundant system structures should be strengthened here. They increase security against criminal attacks and in the case of defects. This will minimize data losses and allow production to continue even if digital systems fail temporarily.

  1. Farmers must be able to benefit from business with their data!
For this it is important to prevent uncontrolled transfer via data platforms to Cloud systems. Such digitizing of agriculture could have a disruptive effect and threaten the livelihoods of farms. If data monopolies were to emerge, they would be counterproductive to economic participation by agriculture. That is why clear rules that allow competition here too must be created for this.

  1. Create transparency in Big Data analysis!
Although Big Data contradicts the virtue of data economy, it is expedient when (and only when) the users of digital communication platforms authorize sharing of their data for the purpose of analysis and profit from the information gained this way.

  1. Make public and official data available free of charge!
Collection and archiving of such data are fi nanced through taxes. Weather data, land register data, soil data, route networks etc. should be made available as open data in standardized data formats suitable for practical use via interfaces. An expedient approach to this would be to provide a central data portal.

  1. Use digitizing to bring agriculture and consumers closer together!
Digitizing simplifies transparency of production methods and traceability – this creates confidence and enhances appreciation of agriculture.

  1. Intensify basic and further training! Digitizing presupposes qualification.
Farms can only make their way with well trained staff. Digital technologies and their application must have a firm place in the curricula.

In addition to eight requests, the position paper also contains further information, for example a survey within the framework of “DLG Agrifuture Insights” among farmers from Germany, France, Poland and Great Britain, which shows which digital tools are used on the farms in the four countries and how the opportunities and risks of digitization are assessed. This shows clear differences between the countries.

You can download the position paper in English here.

Further information on DLG website in this link.

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