Skip to main content

FAIRshare. Farm Advisory digital Innovation tools Realised and Shared

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FAIRshare (FAIRshare. Farm Advisory digital Innovation tools Realised and Shared)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-04-30

As agriculture becomes more digitised, farmers increasingly make decisions based on digital information and data on the farm. The overarching aim of FAIRshare is to help farm advisors and their organisations to use more digital tools and services to support a more productive and sustainable agriculture.

The more technology savvy and larger farmers benefit from the transition to digital agriculture directly, many may not. Most of the EU’s farms are small and medium sized and need support from impartial farm advisors to benefit from digital technologies and services. These digital technologies also help advisors to be more effective in their support roles.

FAIRshare categorises and promotes variety of digital tools and services available to and used by advisors across Europe. It will promote best practice in the design and delivery of digital services. Furthermore, it will fund advisors in User Cases to adopt a number of novel digital tools; the learnings will be shared and inform roadmaps and digital policy.
The first FAIRshare periodic report contains summaries of all project activities conducted from the beginning of the project up to and including month eighteen (April 2020). In this period the project primarily focused on the development of the inventory of Digital Advisory Tools and Services (DATS). AUA (The Agricultural University of Athens; Greece) together with other project partners designed, developed and launched a web platform, which serves to: the creation of an inventory and the creation of a Permanent Networking Facility (PNF) which hosts the inventory.

Teagasc (Ireland) led the development of a framework to capture Good Practices relating to DATS. A Good Practice in regards to FAIRshare was defined as the critical success factors of a particular DATS in its development or use. Hence, any one DATS could therefore potentially have a number of associated Good Practices. The framework followed the European Network for Rural Development proposal of using Hot Topics as a means to categorise Good Practices. The framework was designed from multiple workshops conducted with project partners. From this framework a template will be developed to capture Good Practices related to DATS.

A core feature of the project is the creation of four regional multi-actor groups with representative panel of farmers, advisors and digital industry actors (the regions being: South-West, South-East, Centre and North-East Europe). During the first reporting period a protocol was created by AC3A (Association des Chambres d'agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique; France) and project partners to describe how the multi-actors groups are to be created and how they will work (one partner leader by regional group and one partner responsible by country). Additionally, LKÖ (Austrian Chamber of Agriculture) coordinated the design of two surveys which aimed to gather a greater understanding of farmers and advisors engagement with DATS.

Another core feature of the project is the implementation of User Cases of advisors who will adopt novel digital tools and services. To facilitate this, i4Agri (Innovation for Agriculture; UK) and AUA created a conceptual and operational framework based on the living lab (LLs) approach and change management theories in order to determine and define relevant concepts to support behavioral change in these different User Cases.

The project is acutely aware of the importance of strategic dissemination and communication activates. Hence, the project website was developed by Consulai (Portugal) shortly after FAIRshare begun, as well as a social media strategy. The production of non-professional videos of FAIRshare and its different partners have been carried out by the Portuguese partner. Internal and external newsletters were also created as were dissemination materials such as flyers and posters. Moreover, responsible Research and Innovation workshops were conducted by Teagasc to attain a better understanding of issues relating to the digitalisation of agriculture.
The DATS Inventory has been populated, exclusively through the inventory (PNF), following a user friendly approach. The Inventory which is soon expected to reach over 200 DATS will provide a multifunctional and attractive interface which will encourage collaboration between advisors. The inventory has made very good progress towards achieving 200 DATS across the digital spectrum. It launched in January 2020 and by April 2020 the project had already collected 119 DATS. The first steps commenced in designing a filter to highlight the DATS used more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project has ensured its ability to capture the variety of practices relevant across diverse advisory services by comprehensively defining Good Practice pertaining to DATS. Furthermore, the surveys that have been developed in the first reporting period will help to provide a comprehensive overview of advisors and farmers interact and perceive DATS. This will facilitate and inform the operation of focus groups and workshops conducted later in the project. The output of the work conducted on living labs will facilitate the coordination and implementation of the User Cases in the future.

The project was also involved in organising an online workshop to demonstrate how digital tools can be used to foster co-design and creation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FAIRshare Logo
The various types of Digital Tools and Services available to agricultural advisor
FAIRshare partners at the projects first annual in Athens
A screenshot of the DATS inventory and the COVID-19 search filter