#HackTaFerme 2019 was a three-day event enabling the agricultural and digital communities to work together to find specific solutions in 48 hours of coding. This year, 50 participants were hosted by farmers, cooperatives and local councils in the Gers department in France. The 13 challenges identified produced 9 participating teams and 5 winning projects. A look back at this original hackathon with François Brun, the organiser for ACTA and head of innovation for #DigitAg. The institute, which supported this event, was also present through the “Charte Botte” team, involving Ivana Aleksovska, a doctoral student, and SMAG, a member company.
L’équipe AdvenTips à Escorneboeuf, chez Christian Dallies, agriculteur-hôte
Agri-digital participatory innovation
“HackTaFerme is in line with the new forms of participatory innovation that the digital community is making possible… to meet all the challenges for agriculture, which faces some major issues, not least of which is the agro-ecological transition”, says Jean-Paul Bordes, Director-General of ACTA, and organiser of the hackathon.
For François Brun, this hackathon format gives farmers a central role: “Beginning in spring, they took part in five participatory workshops on emerging issues. They presented their needs, proposed problems to be resolved and were invited to join the teams. Over the course of this weekend, they were also hosts, team coaches and jury members, alongside professionals”. Around the farmers, the teams formed spontaneously, bringing together computer scientists from companies and start-ups as well as students, some of whom readily travelled from Paris or further afield. They each chose which challenge to address, from the 13 subjects identified in advance by the farmers and agricultural stakeholders.
Five winning projects
“In 48 hours, a lot of coding can be done, and we tried to do our utmost to meet specific needs of the agricultural world”, says Charles Cernay, co-organiser. All of the pitches presented operational prototypes, and five innovative projects were chosen as winners. The goal now for participants is to pursue their development in order to produce viable applications for dissemination.
- 1st prize: Assolia, “A smart crop rotation guide to support sustainable farming systems”
This application helps farmers to organise and distribute their crops across their different farm plots while complying with sustainable development constraints (carbon uptake, reducing crop protection products) and rules for crop rotation. “All of this has long been known in agronomy, but had not been sufficiently disseminated”, explains François Brun.
The team led by Clément Albouy, with Rémy Dangla, Pierre Albouy and Sébastien Albouy, was hosted at the Val de Gascogne agricultural cooperative’s silo in Frégouville.
- 2nd prize: Agri-Traduction
The idea came from a farmer. On her Twitter account, the project is described as “the Google Translate for farmers”, and invites farmers to take part in order to “finally make yourselves understood by your neighbours!”. Here, the goal is to facilitate the dialogue between farmers and citizens: the technical actions of the former are “translated” into concrete results for the latter through the generation of “fun, positive messages” that the farmer can choose to post on social networks. For example, High Environmental Value Level 3 certification for a farmer can be “translated” into tweets, such as “I am committed to biodiversity, more hedges for our birds”.
The team led by Hélène Gross, Biodiversity Officer at ACTA, was hosted on the farm of Josiane Delteil, the coach involved. For the future, ACTA wants to support positive communication on the project with its partners.
Twitter : @AgriTraduction – Site : https://agri-traduction.fr > demo video
Two teams tied for third place:
- 3D bovins: using a 3D image database of young cattle, the project developed an application to estimate the weight of calves. The team included Cargill and IDELE (Laurence Depuille).
- Adven’tips is a tool to assist choices about mechanical weeding methods for maximum efficiency. The management of weed flora is also a need that emerged from farmers’ requests.
Christian Dallies, the host organic farmer, was a member of the team led by Géraldine Hirschy (European Digital Projects Manager at ACTA).
The 5th prize went to Irrisite, an energy auditing tool for irrigation installations. The project was led by Sophie Gendre (R&D water management engineer at ARVALIS – Institut du Végétal), who worked with individually registered computer scientists. They were hosted by the farmers in Auradé and their local council.
The outcome of the weekend is positive: the farmers were particularly happy to be involved in the teams, and all of the participants appreciated the fruitful exchanges.
Ending the next edition of the agri-digital hackathon, a sociological study has just begun in the framework of #DigitAg, on the contribution of these mechanisms to the emergence of innovations. It will analyse the organisation and contributions of five past hackathons (editions of HackTaFerme, #DigitAg Challenge and ApiAgro). Its findings will be published in early 2020.
Contact #DigitAg > francois.brun [AT] acta.asso.fr
Website > https://hacktaferme.fr