In the agricultural domain, sharing of farm(er) data has become a big issue, in particular because the rights of different stakeholders towards the data are not very explicit. This has several causes. First of all, the originator of data (who could have prime rights) is often not known or it is unclear who or what is in fact the real originator. Secondly, the nature of the data that is subject to those rights is often ill described. As a third aspect, the rights that can be exercised on data are often not clear.

At the same time, farmers and other stakeholders agree that the value of data is mostly in sharing it. So this requires a framework for data sharing. Since Paying Agencies are collecting a substantial part of farm(er) data, they are an interesting outlet. But then of course many questions arise on how Paying Agencies can share the data the collect, under what conditions and how to arrange this with farmers.

The NIVA project works on modernising the tools of Paying Agencies and the ongoing digitisation makes the issue of data sharing urgent. Hence, the project is facilitating that debate – with a webinar on the 7th of July 2020.

Tamme van der Wal, host of the webinar on behalf of NIVA’s WP5, started with an introduction to the topic of data sharing and the program of the webinar.

Sander Janssen, coordinator of NIVA, presented the way that the farm data position in the Netherlands is organised. He showed the technical perspective of data sharing as the “Stack” where the different layers – all needed to constitute data sharing facilities – have different conventions and more importantly different key stakeholders (‘ownership’). The challenge of data sharing seems more a governance aspect then a technical hurdle. Sander proposes that the data position of the farmer should be ensured by a farmer-controlled data space, where government takes the lead in arranging agreements. Other stakeholders that also benefit from data sharing should collaborate and stimulate data sharing, as that is where the value can be made.

Doris Marquardt, policy officer at DG-AGRI, then continued by providing an overview of the EU initiatives in support of organising and facilitating data for the agricultural sector and for policy purposes. She elaborated on the European strategy for data, and on the evolvement of a Common Agriculture Data Space. The European Partnership ‘Agriculture of Data’ will bring together stakeholders to ensure a digital future for European agriculture. A main objective is to help farmers to improve their sustainability performance. And it will help monitoring policy implementation and evaluating the performance of the CAP. Organising this data space will have many scale benefits and will overcome the current fragmentation of the digital agricultural landscape.

The third speaker was Mohamed El Aydam, policy officer at DG-AGRI in the D3 unit. He updated us on the data sharing process and the data sharing project that DG-AGRI is currently executing. In this project, DG-AGRI seeks ways how to effectively share the data that is collected in IACS systems across Europe for the purpose of farmer claims in the CAP. These data are valuable for environmental and climate monitoring. The project proposes to follow the INSPIRE directive, which has good policies and governance for spatial data. Sharing the IACS data is an important step forward for other commission services and for reporting on the impact of the CAP in its performance towards the societal goals.

The webinar concluded with a lively Q&A where questions from participants were answered in a panel-like setting. The webinar was also enlightened by several polls.


The presentations can be found here:

1. Data Sharing webinar introduction

2. Organising farm data position, experiences from the Netherlands

3. EU initiatives in support of data for the agricultural sector and policies

4. IACS Data Sharing