This year in an online format from October 5th to 6th 2020, the joint EUFRAS&IALB&GFARS conference took place within the topic «Preparing advisers for the digital era»

In order to meet the opportunities and challenges that digitization comes along with for the agriculture and forestry sector, agricultural, rural advisory, and education services are particularly called for. It is therefore essential to actively and comprehensively address the cross-cutting issue of digitization in advisory work. This is, on the one hand, to provide farmers and foresters with an offer that enables them to achieve the best possible results under a sustainably successful use of the digital and technological possibilities, and on the other hand to tackle the challenges and tap the potential digitization offers for knowledge transfer activities - like advisory work itself.

Building on the experience of previous GFRAS, IALB and EUFRAS events and activities and on the expertise, knowledge, and experiences of experts all over the world, the three objectives of the 2020 conference were:
-    How can rural Advisors become the farmers’ ‘digital partner’ in order to maximize the AKIS digital benefit for both;
-    How can advisors share experience, insights and motivations in order to leverage the digitisation among the wider AKIS;
-    Can digitisation create greater flexibility and capacity of working for rural advisors while not leaving farmers behind.


Meeting Structure & Program

Organized as a global online live-event, the conference provided a shared opening and closing session for all participants. In the 24 hours between the opening and closing, parallel workshops and regional sessions took place. Please see the video recordings of the 1st-day and 2nd-day at the plenary. 

The conference was a participatory learning event with a range of different types of sessions, including keynotes, panels, presentations in plenary, group work in parallel workshops and virtual field trips. Despite the implementation as an online event, participants were given a range of opportunities to provide inputs. 

In order to meet the conference objectives, three keynote speakers provided their reflections on the conference's thematic focus:

- How Artificial Intelligence changes the way we communicate by Andrejs Vasiļjevs, Tilde, Latvia

Embracing digital engagement in a post-COVID-19 environment by John James, Enablers of Change, Australia - see the presentation!

Globalization of the digital advisory solutions by Tom Kelly, TEAGASC, IrelandTom Kelly, TEAGASC, Ireland - see the presentation!

Participants can choose from various working groups according to their preferences. Please see the video recordings of the 1st-day and 2nd-day working group sessions.

EUFRAS workshop: Round table experience exchange on advisory work in the Covid-19 crisis. What are the lessons learned, what do we take along? See more information here!
Moderator: Pablo Asensio, FüAk, Bavaria

i2connect workshop: Supporting interactive innovation in the Digital Era
Eelke Wielinga, ZLTO, the Netherlands

Do you feel safe in the digital environment?
Gints Fricbergs, Telia, Latvia - see the presentation!

FairSHARE workshop: Facing the challenges of embedding digital tools in different advisory and farming contexts - see the presentation!
John Hyland, TEAGASC, Ireland
Alex Koutsouris, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece

SmartAgriHubs workshop: Unleashing the innovation potential for the digital transformation of the European Agrifood Sector - see the presentation part 1, part 2 and part 3!
Inga Bērziņa, Union "Farmers’ Parliament" (ZSA), Latvia

Challenges and opportunities from the integration of agricultural data into an EU wide central repository: The case of the EURAKNOS and EUREKA projects
Hercules Panoutsopoulos, the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece - see the presentation!

AGROgestor workshop: Digital Advisory Tools. Eco-schemes in the new CAP - see more information here
Amaia Marruedo,  INTIA, Spain

Please see the information about the German-speaking workshops here! 

„Digitale Kompetenzen“ – Welche Kompetenzen benötigen Beraterinnen und Berater im digitalen Zeitalter - See the presentation part 1, part 2 and part 3!
Elfriede Berger, Hochschule für Agrar-und Umweltpädagogik Wien, Österreich
Gerald Pfabigan, Landwirtschaftskammer, Österreich

Digitale Werkzeuge in der Beratung – Bedarf und Angebot im Einklang!? - See the presentation part 1, part 2 and part 3!
Elena-Teodora Miron, Landwirtschaftskammer, Österreich
Elisabeth Reith, Landwirtschaftskammer Steiermark, Österreich



You are kindly invited also to save the date for the next joint conference taking place at the Rural School and Education Centre for Vorarlberg, Hohenems from 9th to 12th of June, 2021 - see the invitation!