From The President

Charting a New Course to Progress

By Brent Kemp, AgGateway President and CEO

Last month my wife and I spent some time away from home on a sort of work-cation. We drove to a place we’ve been for many, many years, and expected to travel roads so familiar the car could practically drive itself. We did c heck the road conditions before we left home, only to discover that our preferred route was about 45 minutes longer for some unspecified reasons.

We warily took the more “direct” route, only to end up being detoured for a highway closure, rerouted through a major city, missing a turnoff, driving through the industrial section of town, and finally ending up on a section of road we’d never been on, all to end up at our destination after not really being sure we were headed in the right direction.

That journey where the routine becomes the unfamiliar is one we occasionally encounter at AgGateway. Several members have observed that certain work doesn’t seem to have immediate impact to them, and others have questioned what happens when well-adopted resources have been extended to cover all necessary use cases. Is the road ahead just the same well-worn path?

The business needs that prompted AgGateway’s formation – efficiency, consolidation, interoperability – all remain. Instead of the environment being business-centric, involving input manufacturers and distributors trying to build out digital networks, or equipment manufacturers needing a layer of standardization beyond ISOBUS, today’s challenges revolve around the evolution of data needs that build on our successes. Stakeholders are more diverse, including farmer/producers, government agencies, and service advisors externally, as well as master data managers, regulatory affairs, and logistics and supply chain departments internally.

The roadmap we used to engage the data interoperability and B2B teams needs new paths and connections to engage these new stakeholders. We need to understand their requirements and challenges in order to effectively demonstrate how the work members have done can be leveraged to address their problems.

We’re working to build such a roadmap. In the coming months our staff, using inputs from the Linked Data working group and others, will be developing resources to show how the product and entity data management guidelines used to implement supply chain integration or Product Catalog messages applies to barcoding and data label discussions. And as the industry looks to data more and more to underpin sustainability programs or other value creating services, information from the field is a critical component to successful implementation.

We’ll lay out the case for ag retail to engage with the ADAPT business and technical teams to understand and contribute their requirements for the next generation of field operations data exchange. And we’ll help you help your internal personnel understand where your AgGateway investments in membership, participation, and implementation position you to move quickly on data-centric solutions.

If you’ve been involved with AgGateway standards and resources for a while you may be comfortable with the way the messages are documented and implemented, and you may be experts in how your systems produce and consume that data. A new use case, or an unexpected partner request may leave you wondering how these resources apply. The good news is you won’t have to discover the answers on the fly the way I did with my road trip. The meet ups, working groups, and conferences provide great opportunities to network and learn those answers together with other experts and implementers.

The road ahead is filled with new questions and new challenges. What you’ve learned and the work you’ve done will help you navigate that road and get to your destination.