Agriculture will change rapidly in the coming years due to advancing digitalisation. The aim of the Agro-Nordwest experimental field is to improve agricultural practice in the field of crop production to meet technical, ecological, social and economic challenges. By using new technologies for process automation and optimisation, the potential of digitalisation for agriculture is to be tested and evaluated. The project focuses on the farmer and his business environment and develops needs-oriented solutions. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is providing a total of 6.1 million euros for this experimental field.

In a consortium with the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and the University of Osnabrück, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Ruhr University Bochum (Institute for Work Science) and the IZT - Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, the Agrotech Valley Forum e. V. has succeeded in getting a successful project application under the "Experimentation Fields in Agriculture" funding programme of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture off the ground.

The aim of the Agro-Nordwest project is to test and evaluate the potential of digitalisation for agriculture - especially for process automation and optimisation. To this end, various use cases in a total of six areas are being examined in more detail:

  1. Technology
  2. People and business
  3. Networked processes
  4. Digital decision support
  5. Agricultural systems of the future
  6. Digital qualification

In the overall project, IZT has taken on the work packages "User integration for needs-based innovation approaches", "Risk and impact assessment" and "Evaluation". To this end, IZT conducts interviews and focus groups with users in order to obtain in-depth information on attitudes, experiences, needs and barriers on the part of the users in this early innovation phase and to ensure a needs-oriented development of the applications. Furthermore, the IZT is implementing a continuous risk and impact assessment in the Agro-Nordwest experimental field. This serves to record and present the effects of new digital technologies in agriculture and the resulting consequences and challenges in the areas of environment, safety, health and the working world. The self-evaluation of the experimental field includes the control of the achievement of objectives, the effects and the economic efficiency of the project.

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