The #OFE2021 Webinar Series
The On-Farm Experimentation Community makes available here the recordings of the #OFE2021 Webinar Series. These four online sessions took place in May 2021 to discuss a range of key topics prepared by the conference committee together with dedicated working groups. Learn more about #OFE2021.
1. Value Creation
Monday May 10th
“Farmer-centric On-Farm Experimentation”, or “OFE”, is a shared, self-sustaining process of change. Value is essential to its development and success. With the aim of enhancing interest, trust and investment in OFE, this webinar will ask: How is value created? How is value shared? Who gains from OFE? How can science and technology improve OFE processes? Experience suggests that farmers need little persuasion to engage; on-farm experimentation is a process they already do and understand. But to scale up, we need to recognize how OFE creates value for varied stakeholders, how value is shared, and how scientific disciplines can contribute. In addition to general insights, we need to explain impact pathways for OFE which contrast markedly with those of conventional research. Clarity on the value propositions offered by OFE will help bridge diverse views from around the world. This webinar will bring together specialists from agronomy, agro-economics and social sciences to clarify and explain the value of OFE. It will also set the scene for the next webinars on People and Processes, Data and Analytics, and Policy Linkages.
2. People and Processes
Wednesday May 12th
How can we ensure that digitally enabled On-Farm Experimentation avoids the classic “Technology Fallacy,” and instead centres transformation around people? Recent research from MIT demonstrated that “people are the real key to digital transformation” (Kane 2019). Change is as much about us and our organizations as it is about the technology. Change occurs when people change, transformation occurs when individual changes scale up through their networks and their organizations. The underlying change throughout is in knowledge and shared culture. This webinar will explore various examples of scalable change that apply to OFE, through lessons learned from thinkers and practitioners with experience in a range of institutional and business settings across the world. The webinar will focus on identifying interactions between digital technologies and these varied organizational environments that nurture (or impede) transformational change. Attention will be paid to pinpoint specific mechanisms supporting systemic goals of productivity, social and environmental sustainability, in both the Global North and the Global South.
3. Data and Analytics
Monday May 17th
How should we rethink the planning and analysis of on-farm experiments with farmers’ interests in mind? How should we organize and curate data and metadata for this purpose? Farmer-centric experimentation has great potential to improve the design and adoption of better farm management practices. All stakeholders, including farmers, commercial product and service providers, scientists and policy makers, must seize this opportunity to improve farm practices in terms of precision, efficiency and impact. From smallholders to broadacre farmers, from local to greater scales, well-targeted analytics can be deployed to exploit the valuable data already collected on the farm. This webinar will feature five presentations across two axes: 1) analytics at the level of a single farm, group of farms, or big data; and 2) practices to make data and metadata effective, with special attention to agronomic data. Participants will be able to contribute to a summary document presenting key issues and recommendations.
4. Policy Linkages
Wednesday May 19th
Policy, legislation and investments are necessary to support transformation through OFE which is, essentially, a local process that engages farmers and others around specific changes on the farm. Currently, initiatives around OFE are happening in spite of poorly aligned institutional structures and incentives within the agricultural sciences, with funding mechanisms, career paths and norms favouring traditional experimentation. Harnessing the transformational potential of OFE for agricultural sciences and innovation requires more strategic institutional alignment. To scale up, OFE will need nurturing policy, well-designed legislation and secure investment. This webinar will present issues and proposals relevant to farmer-centric On-Farm Experimentation regarding public policies in relation to agricultural and open innovation systems, investment and data and innovation governance.