Encouraging the conversation around the sharing of farm data was the key objective of the recent ‘Getting value from farm data networks’ forum.
About 70 people attended the one-day interactive grower group forum hosted by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development at Technology Park, Bentley.
Department eConnected Grainbelt project manager Darren Gibbon said four respected industry professionals spoke at the forum, providing participants with information to assist them to move forward in ‘an ever increasing Ag tech arena’.
Mr Gibbon said a number of the speakers expressed the view that agriculture to date had a relatively low uptake of digital technology compared to other industries.
“The eConnected Grainbelt project is trying to change this through the promotion and uptake of Ag tech tools to assist with decision-making and potentially lead to increased profitability and sustainability,” Mr Gibbon said.
“The project has looked at demonstrating the value of data in decision-making with WA grower groups through the availability and encouraged adoption of digital decision tools and apps.
“More recently, the project has started to shift focus towards understanding the broader industry challenges and benefits in using and sharing of farm data to assist decision-making.”
Speakers and their presentations included: Chris Sounness, of Birchip Cropping Group discussing Data Ag Co-op – Solution or amplifying problems; Brad Plunkett, of the department, – Co-operatives, case studies and establishment opportunities; Assoc Prof in Law Leanne Wiseman, Griffith University – Data ownership and sharing in broadacre agriculture and Mike Ridout, Food Agility CRC (FA-CRC) – FA-CRC and the On Farm Experimentation project.
eConnected Grainbelt Team Leader Kari-Lee Falconer initiated the grower group forum and said Assoc Professor Leanne Wiseman’s presentation, in particular, created significant interest.
“She made the point that the ownership of farm data was not the key issue, it was who had control and access of farm data,” Ms Falconer said.
“We were also fortunate to have Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) CEO Chris Sounness speak.
“BCG, based in Victoria, is already in the process of forming the BCG Data Cooperative, which aims to allow growers to pool data in order to benefit their individual businesses.
“It was interesting to hear how they were progressing with the implementation of their model and what they had achieved to date.”
A full panel question and answer consultation session completed the morning’s activities.
The afternoon program included a closed session designed for grower group program participants of the project who had been demonstrating Ag tech and eConnected tools.
Ms Falconer said during the afternoon session, attendees were asked to answer a series of questions, which allowed them to elaborate on their project experiences and to make suggestions in terms of moving forward.
Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison (08) 9368 3937/3325