Important decisions impacting your farm are coming from the EU Commission. This week, Farmable takes you to the front row of the 2023 INSPIRE Conference.
What is the INSPIRE Conference?
The INSPIRE Conference is an annual event organized by the European Commission in collaboration with the INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community) community. INSPIRE aims to create a European spatial data infrastructure to enable the sharing of environmental and geospatial information among public sector organizations and facilitate better decision-making.
Why does it matter to farms?
High-quality geospatial data (i.e. intelligent maps with layers of information) is the backbone of simplifying the administrative workload of the farm. If your country’s Department of Agriculture can provide secure access to registries of farm ownership and geospatial data; software teams can develop solutions to make the compliance workload of the farm radically easier. If less time at your desk doesn’t sound interesting, keep in mind that legislation has already been passed, which mandates that all EU farms must report crop treatments, for the latest 30 days, in an electronic format which references specific geolocation data, effective January 1, 2026.
Spain is Leading the Way
Across all 28 EU member states, there is one country which has a head start on simplifying compliance for their more than 800,000 farms. Spain has invested in digital infrastructure to support its farms and make an essential digital transition; a main proponent of this transformation has been the SIEX Project , which is their federal Agrarian Holding Information System.
The main objectives of SIEX is to support the farm with:
- Efficient Management of the CAP.
- Simplify farm management for the farmer; allowing the reuse of all the available information to manage their business.
- Analysis of information for guiding policies.
Over the past year, Farmable, a Farm Management Software provider, had the privilege of working alongside the SIEX team to ensure Spanish farms can easily comply with the digital reporting requirements for chemical applications, which will become mandatory, on a monthly basis, in 2024.
Some info for you
Farmable was originally founded on the premise of simplifying on-farm work processes through digital tools developed on our own farm in Norway. Over the past five years, we have received valuable feedback from farmers worldwide, particularly in our focus countries such as Spain, Germany, the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Today, we stand as a leading farm management software provider with more than 35 000 farms registered.
Farm Management Software (FMS), at its core, is about streamlining daily agricultural activities and meticulously documenting essential data from these activities. A prime example is the precise mixing of spray tanks for plant protection treatments, a critical process for farm operations. Farmable empowers farmers by ensuring they correctly mix spray tanks, adhere to product label limits, and maintain high health, safety, and environmental (HSE) standards. These are just a few examples of the significance of FMS in modern agriculture. Whether you use Farmable software or another digital tool, we are happy to see digital progress in the horticulture industry. Are you wondering about effective approaches to data management for your farm? Check out our series on Organizing Your Farm Data and Automating Your Documentation.
The Conversation at INSPIRE 2023
This week, our team at Farmable was invited to present insights on farm digitalization at the INSPIRE conference in Brussels. During the talk, we discussed how Farmable’s user-friendly Farm Management System supports the requirements set forth by SIEX. The possibility for collaboration between private software companies and the public-sector, offers Spanish farms a real choice in deciding which digital tools they will use to comply with requirements.
Our main message at INSPIRE was to underline the importance of authorities, like SIEX, to plan for data sharing as a fundamental prerequisite for the successful implementation of digitization in farming.
To ensure seamless integration, it is crucial that authorities provide secure access to registries of farm ownership and geospatial data. An example we discussed was the SIGPAC system in Spain, which relies on INSPIRE’s geospatial data systems. When a farmer registers with Farmable, we interface with the SIEX system to determine which fields are owned or operated by that farmer. This has a couple of benefits:
- offers a simple onboarding experience to the farmer who immediately sees his/her field data is correctly populated in the tool,
- The fields are the primary reporting units in regulatory requirements; harmonizing the data ensures that everything submitted through Farmable will be correctly linked to the government’s own databases.
Further, we congratulated the authorities’ on their clear and transparent guidelines that made it easier for private solution providers, such as Farmable, to align with requirements.
Check the video about our presentation
Implications for Farmers and IPM
The digitalization of farming brings significant changes for farmers. One key shift is the emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Unlike traditional calendar-based approaches to spraying, IPM necessitates observing pests or diseases before applying treatments. This shift requires farmers to alter their daily work processes, moving from spraying first and documenting later to documenting before executing treatments. Digitally capturing the observations to be aligned with IPM practices and linking this to farm geospatial data creates a massive opportunity for the farmer, their advisor and regional farming communities to better understand trends in pest and disease development and effective treatments. To support this opportunity, Farmable has developed app features that assist farmers in the pest and disease scouting process as well as the treatment planning phase to ensure compliance with IPM requirements. Further, certified agronomists can easily approve a farmers’ spray plans with an efficiently documented process with Farmable’s in-app advisor approvals. IPM is arguably in the best interest of the farm, the consumer and society so we expect the EU regulations to continue to back IPM compliance. Local governments can help reduce any headache with the work processes and documentation through planned data sharing and secure access to geospatial data.
Opportunities for Farmers
We highlighted the opportunities digital reporting presents to farmers. With mandatory data requirements set by SIEX, Spanish farmers are encouraged to utilize digital solutions to their advantage. Compliance with these requirements can lead to benefits such as obtaining the Global GAP certification, which requires similar data points as SIEX. Additionally, farmers can leverage data documentation for securing loans from banks and providing traceability data to wholesalers to ensure supplier compliance.
Data Ownership Matters
Clarity on data ownership is imperative to maintain trust across the agricultural industry. It is crucial for farmers to retain ownership of their data, allowing them to share it selectively for improved services and potentially monetize it for research and analysis purposes. Control over the farm’s data must always stay with the farmer.
The INSPIRE conference was a forum to encourage stakeholders from both the private and public sectors to leverage the spatial data that each respective member state is responsible to maintain. As a use case, we showcased the successful collaboration between Farmable and SIEX to simplify the compliance processes for farmers. The transition to digital farming presents both challenges and opportunities, and with the right tools and approaches, farmers can enhance their operations and compliance while maintaining control of their data. With support from the INSPIRE community and the INSPIRE directive, government teams across the EU can improve the livelihoods of Europe’s 10 million farms, decrease the administrative burden of compliance and support food security continent-wide.