Session Organizers:

Session Title: Semantic Web for Agriculture and Food


Data management practice of food supply chains have been lagging for many years due to a reluctance to let go to the tried and true “paper” management methods of old. Similarly, food composition databases have focused on singular model foods that do not take into consideration the nutritional and biochemical effects of production and processing methods. This session will focus on the direct application of semantic web technology to the logistical, security and assurance problems of food and agricultural supply chains, as well as the ways in which food composition information can be enhanced through semantic web technologies including health outcomes and nutritional implications for individuals and communities participating in foodsheds with enumerated supply chains.

Schedule: 90 Minutes Session

12 mins - You’re not in Kansas anymore: how annotating predictive yield maps and soil properties with linked data has a multiplier effect on end-user value.

Julianne Bielski, Rx Maker, (Confirmed)

Abstract: The popularity of precision agriculture has resulted in many startup companies, including Rx Maker, and established players developing software offerings in this space. As with the hardware, software from different vendors does not easily interoperate. Current solutions are “open” (i.e. documented) Farm Management Information System vendor-specific APIs that allow for pointwise loose integration with the host FMIS software, but no sharing among the integrated applications. Users of this software could benefit from intelligent sharing of data among plug-ins and development resources would be better spent coding to a curated, centralized, domain model using standards with built-in support for RESTful data integration such as JSON-LD and Hydra than in learning and coding to each separate API without receiving the commensurate value. This talk will describe how Rx Maker’s software specifically could benefit.

01 mins - Questions (while setting up next speaker)

12 mins - Dealing with the flying monkeys: the interoperability problem in agricultural field operations. R. Andres Ferreyra, Ag Connections, (Confirmed)

Abstract: Documenting the provenance of food through the supply chain is difficult. One of the obstacles is a lack of interoperability among manufacturers of agricultural machinery, farm management information systems, retailers and crop input manufacturers. Part of this problem is caused by a lack of common data formats in the industry; a more complex, and less-understood obstacle is the lack of common meanings: the industry is plagued with myriad proprietary code lists, identification schemes, and varying degrees of understanding about the complexities involved. This talk will present some efforts being made by industry groups such as AgGateway and AEF to make field operations (i.e. what happens inside the farm) segment-related data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable, and the opportunities this affords for the application of Semantic Web technologies.

01 mins - Questions (while setting up next speaker)

12 mins - Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain; organic grain traceability using the Semantic Web. Robert Warren, Myra Analytics, (Confirmed)

Abstract: Organic grain presents several documentation challenges for growers which have to track not only the commodity that they are selling but the way in which it is produced and processed. The pencil and paper method is still heavily relied on but computing solutions are making inroads to lower the costs of certification and auditing. This talk will focus on Myra’s use of the Semantic Web for organic grain provenance and traceability as well as communicating producer marketing data. In closing, we’ll review some challenges and lessons learned while deploying Semantic Web technologies in a commercial offering.

01 mins - Questions (while setting up next speaker)

12 mins - If I only had a brain: moving from RDBMS to open world semantics for food and health - Matthew Lange, UC Davis, (Confirmed)


Emerging new disciplines of Food and Food Systems Informatics, are enabling the engineering of a computable infrastructure for the burgeoning Internet of Food (IoF). Part Semantic Web (SemWeb), part Internet of Things (IoT), and part Bioinformatics/*-omics, the IoF is the , rapidly expanding and evolving global knowledge base of food and food systems. As the IoF matures,  standardizing structured food and food system ontologies capable of encoding linked object data stores will become increasingly important for enabling interoperability between internet devices, as well as query by people via natural language interfaces. In addition to enabling computational interoperability and query--standardization of ontology terms and their axiomatic relationships facilitates semantic modeling, reasoning, and inference about food composition, and it’s alterations as it moves through the food system. This talk will highlight current international coordination and standardization efforts for critical IoF infrastructure components that hold promise for new ways to contribute, discover, and learn new food knowledge.

01 mins - Questions (while setting up next speaker)

08 mins - Break

30 mins - Panel Discussion, Evan Wallace to chair.

List of Panel Questions

  • How would the user experience of your farm application be enhanced by the use of linked open data?
  • Do you believe that open software projects like ADAPT will be able to leverage linked open data?
  • The agricultural market has many questions about data ownership from automated implements. How can linked open data help in finding a solution?
  • How can development of semantic standards help commercial startups in the ag and food space?
  • How can ag and food companies communicate their needs for design and development of appropriate semantic infrastructure?
  • Can we use home automation as a model for developing farm automation standards?
  • Traceability is often seen as a government-driven process with no visibility to end customer. Is there a marketing opportunity in marking the data visible from the customer’s perspective?
  • What semantic web standards can we develop to promote semantic traceability.
  • From a software engineering perspective, what can we do to make semantic technology easier to implement?