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Leaders of the Dairy Brain project, along with members of the project’s advisory committee, formally established the Dairy Brain Coordinated Innovation Network (Dairy Brain CIN) during an advisory committee meeting on Sept. 30.

Developing a Dairy Brain CIN is one of the objectives of a new grant that was recently awarded to the project – titled “Developing a Dairy Brain: The Next Big Leap in Dairy Farm Management Using Coordinated Data Ecosystems” – by the USDA-NIFA’s Food and Agriculture Cyberinfomatics Tools (FACT) initiative. The new FACT-funded project is a natural progression of the UW2020-funded “Virtual Dairy Farm Brain” project, which wrapped up in June 2019.

The Dairy Brain CIN will foster communities that address bottlenecks in critical areas of data collection, data integration, and data application in dairy farm operations by bringing together experts from different disciplines and domains to identify innovative and synergistic solutions. As such the Dairy Brain CIN will raise awareness of issues related to data on dairy farms and the dairy industry, facilitate the discussion, create guidelines, seek training opportunities, foster healthy interchange of ideas, and nurture a community of vested stakeholders.

Furthermore, the Dairy Brain CIN will promote collaboration among research, extension, and education communities, as well as develop and maintain effective networks across public and private sectors working on multiple aspects of a data-supported problems into one multi-disciplinary network to collectively advance the field. The Dairy Brain CIN is now open to any stakeholders who would like to participate.

As a first step, the 40 attendees of the Sept. 30 meeting agreed to work together to publish a series of opinion articles in the most popular trade magazine in the dairy industry, Hoard’s Dairyman. Hence, groups were formed according to affinity and interest to discuss the development of these critical documents. The purpose of this first set of articles is to raise awareness and nurture a community of healthy exchange of ideas towards the development of more technical “design documents.”

These opinion articles are set to be published in Hoard’s Dairyman during the first half of next year, says project leader Victor Cabrera, professor and extension specialist in the Department of Dairy Science. Besides a first introductory and explanatory article, the opinion articles will deal with the following challenging issues: 1) Data ownership and data security; 2) Data collection and data communication; 3) Farmer adoption of tools developed with integrated data; and 4) Business value proposition for data transfer and design of application programming interfaces.