Agricultural Informatics Specialist is Agrinnovator's young farmers' proposal for efficient agriculture

On Wednesday 23 November, a press conference was held in Bucharest to launch the first public policy proposal formulated by young farmers from the Agrinnovator think tank.

The Farm Technology Officer programme is designed to build the skilled human capital to accelerate the adoption of modern technologies that will define the sustainable and high-performance agriculture of tomorrow.

The objective of the Farm Technology Officer programme is to build a competitive Romanian agricultural sector that meets the criteria of sustainable competitiveness and resilience, both by using existing on-farm technologies to their full potential and by increasing the number of young people involved in the agricultural sector. The programme aims to train 1500 young people with secondary education, mainly from rural areas, who represent the critical mass needed to ensure the acceleration of farm development and the digital transformation of Romanian agriculture.

Răzvan Prelipcean, Coordinator of the Agrinnovator Digital Transformation of Agriculture Working Group:

"We want to disseminate key knowledge on tomorrow's agricultural technologies, to propose policies and solutions that can concretely improve farm performance and rural development. We want to provide decision-makers with relevant and verified information, based on farmers' real experience, and to be promoters of the digitisation of tomorrow's agriculture among farmers. Today's proposal is to train 1500 agents of change in Romanian agriculture to ensure the efficient use of agricultural technologies."

Petruța Deac, member of the Agrinnovator team:

"Although farms in Romania are equipped with high-performance machinery, they are not used to their full capacity because there is no trained and specialized workforce for this purpose. The digitisation of Romanian agriculture is a process that can be accelerated with the help of young people specialised in digital technology applied to agriculture. We can only achieve a competitive agricultural sector by introducing a catalyst in the technology area, a FTO (Farm Technology Officer) who can accelerate the transition to digitised agriculture."

George Chiriță, member of the Agrinnovator team:

"With the help of an FTO (Farm Technology Officer), the farm is made more efficient and yields are increased by using technologies to achieve triple performance - financial, environmental and social, as the programme aims to attract young human capital directly to the farm, but also to address the shortage of human resources in rural areas."

Alin Luculeasa, member of the Agrinnovator team:

"The impact of having a farm informatics specialist on the farm is immediate and tangible, visible through the use of existing technology at increased capacity, speed in decision making, optimized use of resources, increased yield and sustainability. We believe that this profession is indispensable in any technology-driven farm that wants to perform."

Details of the Farm Technology Officer programme:

The programme will finance the vocational training of around 1,500 young people who will be recruited, trained and employed by qualified farmers. The role of SIA-trained youth is to help around 1,000 Romanian farmers accelerate the adoption of digital technology solutions and increase farm performance. Those targeted are young people with secondary education, mostly from rural areas, passionate about technology and innovation. Young people selected for the programme will undergo an intensive applied training process and will be trained to use a wide range of state-of-the-art computer applications and agricultural equipment. The estimated cost of implementing the project is €102 million over five years, of which around €15 million will cover tuition costs (including accommodation, meals, tuition, study materials), around €85 million will cover the cost of the financial support component for the salary and around €2 million (less than 2%) will cover administrative costs associated with the programme. The investment will provide immediate tangible results through increased farm performance.

Background to the emergence of the Farm Technology Officer programme:

European agriculture and implicitly Romanian agriculture is facing many challenges, one of them being the ageing of farmers and the lack of practices aimed at increasing farm performance while reducing the environmental impact.  This initiative seeks to respond to the growing need to maintain sustainable farm productivity growth.

The ideas put forward at the Agrinnovator working group meeting have already been heard by Marcel Bolos, Minister for European Investment and Projects and Tánczos Barna , Minister for the Environment, Water and Forests. These first discussions with government representatives were aimed at outlining a timetable of measures to help the digital transformation of agriculture in our country, with further meetings at government level to follow.

Based on the concept of triple bottom line - financial, environmental and social performance - the topics discussed during the meetings with ministers included: solutions for efficient use of land, water and agricultural inputs; the importance of data management and farm management solutions for making the right decisions in real time; the potential wasted by not using all the pre-existing technologies on modern machinery.

About Agrinnovator

The Agrinnovator think tank, launched in May 2022, aims to promote the creation and dissemination of knowledge on tomorrow's agricultural technologies, by exploring two main areas of work: the digital transformation of agriculture and the promotion of bio-regenerative agriculture.

The project focuses on young farmers who graduated from the Young Leaders for Agriculture programme, organised by the Romanian Farmers' Club, ready to take Romanian agriculture to the next level of development and performance by showcasing international agricultural solutions and technologies. Agrinnovator is the place where young farmers think, debate ideas and test on different topics with the aim to create progress and added value.

Agricover provides the necessary framework and support in disseminating the results among Romanian farmers and authorities.

About Agricover

Agricover is a major player in the Romanian agricultural sector, a generator of innovative solutions that transform agriculture and farmers' lives in the long term, creating progress and prosperity on a social scale.

Throughout its more than 20 years of activity, Agricover Group has been committed to serving Romanian farmers and providing them with innovative solutions tailored to their real needs, so that they can sustainably enhance their productivity through access to world-class agricultural technologies, financing solutions tailored to the specifics of the agricultural sector and digital agriculture services.