ICAR Agreement Aligns with our Long-Standing Commitment to Collaboration

From the President

ICAR Agreement Aligns with our Long-Standing Commitment to Collaboration

By Brent Kemp, President and CEO

Since its inception in 2005, one of AgGateway’s main principles has been, “Do not reinvent the wheel.” Indeed, part of the justification for creating AgGateway in the first place was to align efforts across industry segments, a mandate we embraced from the start.

For example, early connectivity work in crop nutrition and feed used the XML messages developed for crop protection as their basis, enabling participants to quickly implement using code and interfaces already in place. Also, the use of widely adopted unique identification schemes – first, DUNS-based numbers, and later GS1 identifiers – acknowledged implicitly that the industry didn’t need to build something from the ground up if it didn’t have to.

The point is, the principles of reuse and adoption demonstrate AgGateway’s focus on efficiency, letting members address new questions while leveraging the good work already done.

This is important because the questions that AgGateway members are addressing today are more complex than ever. Organizations are developing processes and tools to help farmers engage in sustainability programs. At the same time, they are trying to manage carbon intensity metrics and juggle safety and provenance expectations. The networks of suppliers and customers, product inputs and outputs, and their associated data, are ever more expansive. There is simply not enough time and resources available to spend a minute on “reinventing the wheel.”

One important way we do this is through alliances and relationships with resource-rich organizations that complement our mission. For example, in the equipment space we have a long-standing relationship with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), to align work areas and engage experts in our various projects.

More recently we have been working on another use case – traceability data needs for feed inputs to dairy herds or as you may also know it, Working Group 25 – that will allow us maximize member value and build upon work already done. We’re looking forward to leveraging a new, formalized relationship with the International Committee on Animal Recording (ICAR), a leader in livestock identification and associated data exchange.

ICAR’s resources have implications for Working Group 25, as well as other AgGateway work like Laboratory Data Standards and Observations and Measurements. As a result, AgGateway and ICAR will be adopting a Memorandum of Understanding this month that outlines the ways in which our organizations will interact and partner for work when appropriate. I look forward to being with ICAR’s representatives at the 46th ADSA DISCOVER conference in Itasca, Illinois, USA, in early May to sign the agreement.

Over the coming months you’ll undoubtedly hear about other standards initiatives, including the new ISO/TC 347 on Data Driven Agri-food Systems. This ISO committee has implications for the work AgGateway members are doing. It is expected to be a forum for not only understanding the state of other existing and emerging standards, but also a place where some of AgGateway’s publicly available work may emerge as the basis for discussions on agrisemantics, data definitions, and interoperability standards.

AgGateway’s core principles of efficiency and collaboration are what bring members together to do work. Increasingly they also drive us to engage more broadly than we have in the past. Partnerships like the ones with AEM, AEF, and ICAR don’t dilute our efforts. Instead, they enable members to focus on business problems and identify where relevant expertise already exists. They help us avoid “reinventing the wheel” and allow your good work to influence other segments.

Like the XML messaging enabled process efficiencies for crop input participants, these cross-segment partnerships will help us realize the value of connected data in agriculture, supporting farmer/producers and businesses up and down the channel.