By Sasha Zvenigorodsky

In the face of increasingly challenging climate issues and an ever-growing population, digitization has played a large role in agriculture improvement throughout the years. Innovative technologies such as robotic systems, moisture and temperature sensors, and semiautonomous aviation systems have all revolutionized standard agriculture practices. Consequently, the increase in digital agriculture has led to an increase in various supply chain data needs and has also raised several questions about data interoperability. Organized and effective data exchange between agricultural information systems is crucial to allow the agriculture community to reap the benefits of digitalization.

A new digital agriculture interoperability working group believes that understanding agricultural supply chain data needs will benefit both farmers and large agribusiness corporations alike. The group, co-led by the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH) and the Illinois AgTech Accelerator, in partnership with the IEEE Standards Association, plans to identify interoperability issues caused by the flood of information produced by new agricultural technologies. The group’s goals include creating new proposals for data provider standards and certificates, as well as making recommendations for the best practices that will help increase collaboration surrounding agricultural data collection and management.

“The MBDH is happy to be co-leading this working group with our partners,” said John MacMullen, MBDH Executive Director. “The MBDH Digital Agriculture community has been a leader in exploring the challenges and opportunities of data in agriculture, particularly with sensors and autonomous vehicles. With this partnership, we are expanding the reach to cross-sector collaborators across the ag-food supply chain.”

On December 5, 2022, the group hosted a kickoff webinar on Integrative Smart Agriculture Data to address challenges within data protection and interoperability. The webinar was designed to facilitate productive conversations and idea sharing that can help lead to potential solutions to previously mentioned challenges.

Throughout the upcoming year, the group will continue to host various activities regarding digital agriculture. The next working group meeting will be February 7, 2023, at 10 a.m. CT (online).

The working group welcomes participants from academia, industry, and government agencies that are interested in smart agriculture. Visit the group’s web page to learn more. To join the group and attend meetings, an inquiry can be sent to

Get Involved

Contact the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub if you’re aware of other people or projects we should profile here, or to participate in any of our community-led Priority Areas. The MBDH has a variety of ways to get involved with our community and activities. The Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub is an NSF-funded partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Iowa State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Dakota, and is focused on developing collaborations in the 12-state Midwest region. Learn more about the national NSF Big Data Hubs community.