Portfolio Update

Mid-Year Progress Report and Paths Forward

By Ben Craker, Portfolio Manager

As expected, the AgGateway Mid-Year Meeting in Altoona, IA was jam-packed with workgroup activities. Several working groups are in the final stages of wrapping up their deliverables after the sessions, and some new efforts have been identified that we are in the process of organizing and standing up new working groups to move forward. And it was great to have everyone together in person – it fostered some excellent networking done outside of the meetings.

The Agrisemantics Working Group (WG 00) hosted a discussion on what level of granularity was needed in the crop model the team has been working on. The model is meant to provide a means to map between the various crop lists used within the industry, so the team needed to make a decision on how to accommodate different use cases. After some good discussions supporting both options, the group did not quite come to consensus but has a clear path forward on how to resolve the debate. The team will also continue building out the model and the proof-of-concept infrastructure to understand the ongoing oversight and maintenance requirements for this type of semantic resource for the industry.

The Ag Lab Data Working Group (WG 04) working on the updated Modus ag lab data standard provided an update on progress and also showcased a couple tools that have been developed leveraging the Modus resources. Purdue OATS/OpenTeam have developed a handy open-source browser-based tool that can translate a traditional .CSV file generated by a lab for soil test results into a Modus complaint XML file complete with the proper test method codes. They also shared a proposal on a v2.0 of the Modus schema they worked on to flatten and simplify the schema. The group is now in the process of reviewing their proposal as well as pulling in members of WG11 representing the Latin American Modus stakeholders to align on the v2.0 schema.

One update that happened outside of the Mid-Year Meeting was the PAIL Project, which passed through another milestone within the ISO process to become an international irrigation standard. The first drafts of parts 1, 2, and 3 were sent out to the ISO committee and members commented. The team is taking that feedback currently and incorporating it into the draft continuing to work toward an international standard.

On the supply chain side, the Crop Nutrition Third-Party Product Management and Crop Production Product Guidelines working groups (WG18 and WG16) both reviewed their work to date while everyone was together and will be submitting the deliverables for release after a few final tweaks.

The Field Boundary Terms and Definitions working group (WG17) presented the output from their discussions. There were a few minor adjustments suggested to the definitions of field and field boundary. Then the group discussed several of the other main issues regarding interoperability around field boundaries. As a result, we are looking into establishing a new working group focused defining some of the information needed to clarify the accuracy of the boundary from the GNSS perspective. If you are interested in getting involved or if you know of a GNSS expert that would be a good contributor to this effort please let me know so I can follow up.

Under the Data Linking Advisory Group umbrella there were several meetings, mostly focused on implementation. One of the deliverables many people were interested in was the Scale Ticket (WG15) effort. This team presented the first version of a standardized Open API specification. The resource is now available for members to implement to help simplify the exchange of scale ticket data of bulk products shipped both to and from the farm.

The Data Linking Advisory Group also had some good discussions in the Allied Providers session on other work related to Data Linking and what other resources and tools would be helpful to drive adoption of some of the standards. The Advisory Group also discussed how the work that has been happening for several years within AgGateway is foundational to meet the demands of industry forces like sustainability or green house gas reporting or providing traceability through the value chain. As AgGateway gets more questions on what it is doing in these areas, the group set out to showcase how our efforts over the past several years have already resulted in the creation of foundational pieces needed by these initiatives.

As for new efforts earmarked for the second half of 2023, be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks on new working groups. Areas of focus will include the following:

  • Standardized weather data API
  • Standardized settlement sheet or advance ship notice to build off the scale ticket work
  • Next steps after the discussions in the Animal Ag meetup

We’re thrilled that several efforts are winding down to a successful conclusion, but the work is far from complete. There are new efforts starting up sure to be interesting to membership, and we welcome your participation.

As usual if you have any questions on the activities of any of these working groups or want to get engaged feel free to contact me (ben.craker@aggteway.org), or sign up for a working group here.