Why have we established Digital Agriculture Services? (Part 1: Farmers)

Anthony Willmott
Digital Agriculture Services
3 min readJul 1, 2018

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Every day, business, policy makers and farmers are making decisions without reliable rural data or analytics. Despite the importance of food and agriculture to our economy, rural data is patchy and fragmented; inaccessible or unintelligible; or simply not connected in a way that’s useful.

This lack of data not only means billions in decisions are being based on inaccurate, unreliable or incomplete data — it means agriculture’s risk profile is far higher than it should be. When you couple that with mega-trends including climate change, global food demand or population growth, the importance of addressing agriculture’s risk profile is even higher.

DAS’ founders believe that by providing the most reliable rural intelligence possible, we can give today’s decision makers the data they need to make more informed decisions. Decisions that build competitive advantage, wealth and prosperity for all.

Everything we do, we do in partnership with the CSIRO — our founding partner. We are commercializing more than 100 years’ of unique CSIRO research in agriculture, in a collaboration that unlocks the value of digital agriculture.

Passionate about prosperity

The big picture is that agribusiness is suffering from a data drought.

Despite the importance of food and agriculture to our economy, rural data is patchy and fragmented; inaccessible or unintelligible, and simply not connected in a way that’s useful.

This lack of rural intelligence not only means billions in decisions are being based on inaccurate, unreliable or incomplete data — it means agriculture’s risk profile is far higher than it needs to be.

When you couple that with the $1 trillion that Australia needs to attract in capital investment, or the estimated $2 trillion gap that exists in global food and agriculture — along with megatrends including climate change, global food demand or population growth, the importance of addressing agriculture’s risk profile is even clearer.

DAS’ founders believe that by providing the most reliable rural intelligence possible, we can give today’s decision makers the data they need to make more informed decisions. Decisions that speed growth and innovation across agriculture as a whole — while building competitive advantage, wealth and prosperity for all.

Why it’s important for farmers

  1. There is a value distortion between rural and urban property assets and lending.

Example: You can borrow close to 90% of the value of a new-build apartment in the city, but you can only borrow around 50% of the value of prime agricultural land.

2. There is a lack of income protection and insurance for farmers.

Example: You can buy insurance on a car or farming vehicle, but farmers the world over struggle to insure their crops. Australia, unlike the US, has very limited farm income or multi-peril crop insurance protection, despite recent government support.

3. Lending to farmers dramatically trails other investment sectors, due to perceived risk.

Example: Due to limited and subjective data. Even good farmers struggle to access credit.

4. Farmers need innovation that fundamentally disrupts the value chain.

Example: Increased productivity and yield is important, but we also need Innovation that lowers the costs of capital for farmers, while boosting investment overall. Why, for instance, is it that agriculture contributes at least $56 billion to GDP, yet less than 0.2% of industry super funds are invested in agriculture and farm holdings?

5. Farmers are innovating on the land and in their farming practices, but need similar innovation from financial services.

Example: Reliable rural intelligence can boost the connection between farm, finance and funding — along with access to loans, insurance and valuations — but at the moment, digital agriculture is largely focused on quality, yield or productivity innovation

Anthony Willmott

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Anthony Willmott
Digital Agriculture Services

Co-Founder of DAS, Husband of Sarah, Father of Lily and Sophie