AHDB launches farm data sharing project

Creating a best practice guide to sharing farm data is the focus of a new consultation launched by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The project will develop a set of principles to help promote and facilitate data sharing within the agricultural industry. Run in partnership with agri software business Rezare Systems, it kicks off with a series of workshops in July and August.

Based on input from farmers and the wider value chain, the aim is for an industry-supported code to be produced later this year. The principles will complement the broad “EU Code of Conduct on agricultural data sharing”, which was launched at the end of April 2018.

AHDB chief strategy officer Tom Hind said: “Finding an effective way of removing the frictions surrounding the sharing of data is a critical step in unlocking the full potential of that data in our industry.

“While agriculture is making some progress in developing data-rich tools, there remain significant barriers to accessing and re-using farm data for the good of the sector, much of which relates to a lack of trust about who’s going to do what with the data.”

“We need some robust principles in place that all players in the farm data chain can align with.  Getting data flowing in a transparent, secure and trusted environment needs this step and as a levy funded organisation, we believe it right we take this forward on behalf of our industry.”

Following a report examining the AHDB’s role in the agri data landscape completed in late 2017, the organisation concluded it should take a lead role in developing principles that represent our levy payer interests.

Rezare’s UK managing director, Julian Gairdner, said “This is a vital project for the sector. Our experience of leading a similar initiative in New Zealand should enable us to take the learning from that project so we can develop a set of principles that reflect, and work effectively in, the GB context.

“New Zealand’s code was a critical step, allowing the development of a set of farm data standards and data exchange protocols.  British agriculture needs a similar foundation on which effective data sharing should be built and which needs to work across the key farming sectors.

The workshop meetings will be invitation only, added Tom. “We want appropriate representation across the sector, but anyone who would like to be considered to attend a session should contact us as we want to be as inclusive as possible,” he said.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.