The EMILI Data Initiative is looking forward to wrapping up the two Policy and Practices Applied Research Projects in the coming months. These are applied research projects that aim to bring together solid information for growers, or really anyone working in the digital agriculture sector who is interested in deepening their understanding of agri-food data governance issues.

Here’s a sneak peak of each of these research projects to give you a sense of what to expect from our Policy and Practices reports coming later in Summer 2023.

Legal Landscape for Agri-Food Data 

EMILI has worked in collaboration with a diverse set of legal academics and practicing lawyers to draft a guidebook for non-lawyers working in the agri-food sector.

The project report will focus on the core topics of ownership, privacy, and contracts. It will also touch on other important issues such as competition law, right to repair, and how data institutions like data cooperatives can be built.  And all this from a Canadian perspective which is often hard to find.

“Producers and other users of digital agriculture technology are right to ask questions about the legal arrangements that impact the use of agri-food data,” said EMILI Director, Agri-food Data, Dan Lussier. “Building up the knowledge, especially among non-lawyers, helps to bring more people into the conversation and will support the continued adoption of digital tools in the agriculture and food sector.” 

Interoperability – The State of Play

It’s fair to say the users of digital technology just want their devices and software to work, and to work together.  That is as true on-farm as in everyday life.   But what exactly do growers and technologists mean when they refer to interoperability?  How could these different players in the digital agriculture ecosystem work together to deliver increasing interoperability in the near and long term?

We have completed interviews with more than 25 stakeholders from across the ag-tech industry.  This has ranged from growers, researchers, and lawyers to people working at major ag-tech companies and startups.  

“Through this series of fascinating conversations we’ve focused on really getting our hands around the concept of interoperability,” said Lussier. “We’ve also tried to clearly identify the current challenges and ways forward that could create a more cohesive agri-food data ecosystem.”

As the Data Initiative team continues to analyze what we’ve heard from stakeholder interviews, we want to share a few key themes that stood out.

Collaboration emerged in almost all the interviews as the fundamental ingredient to making progress on interoperability.  At the same time, building collaborations that create value for the wider ag-tech ecosystem is not an easy task.  

Interoperability is also a complex concept with many layers within the agri-food sector.  Digital tools span a huge range of on-farm activities, and beyond due to a growing desire to transmit data within the value chain.  So, while talking about interoperability in general is important, it isn’t a substitute for developing solutions that address specific user needs.

Learn more about EMILI’s Data Initiative.