Registration for the 4th Farming by Satellite Prize was officially opened at the conference “Agriculture: a new frontier for the European space policy” in the European Parliament on March 6. The aim of the prize is to promote Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Earth Observation (EO) services in agriculture.
This year, the ‘Farming by Satellite’ Prize has a top prize of €5,000 and asks the question: “How can we use satellite technologies to improve agriculture and reduce environmental impact?” Launching the competition Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at DG Grow, said that the prize was an ideal way to give today’s young generation of farmers the opportunity to shape the future of the sector.
“Young farmers everywhere in Europe just take what is in their hands: the European Space Programmes, EGNOS-Galileo and Copernicus to launch the next agricultural revolution.,” he said. “And we need these young farmers to be innovative, competitive developing a sustainable agriculture in order to feed an ever increasing world population while respecting the environment and the climate changes commitments. Europe is committed to play its part in this crucial endeavour.”
The Farming by Satellite prize is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Environment Agency, and is sponsored by agricultural engineering company CLAAS. Commenting on the launch, GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides said that the community of young farmers and agriculture students was very adaptable, enthusiast and ready to embrace new technologies such as EGNOS/Galileo and Copernicus.
“We need to support young farmers in embracing these technologies - they are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, showing us how the synergies between our programmes bring real added value to users and support the evolution of agriculture,” des Dorides said.
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“We’re looking for new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon Europe’s satellite navigation services EGNOS, Galileo and the European Earth Observation programme, Copernicus. We’re anticipating submissions featuring hot topics like Big Data, augmented reality, farming 4.0, artificial intelligence and more,” judging panel chair Dr Andrew Speedy said.
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The Farming by Satellite prize was first held in 2012, with previous finalists including young people from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Topics have ranged from geo-referenced online data platforms, swarm technologies, precision seed planting robots, crop type detection and evaluation systems, and a new forecasting system for rice production. The winners of the most recent competition were a team from ISA Lille in France with a proposal for the optimisation of plant cover properties using satellite imagery.
The competition finalists will be invited to attend the judging and awards ceremony. In the past, this has been held at the SIMA agricultural show in Paris, a Space Solutions conference in Prague and, most recently, International Green Week in Berlin. A similar venue is being arranged for late 2018 and details will be made available on the competition website.
For full details on the competition or to register to participate, go to: www.farmingbysatellite.eu.
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