Ep63 Evan Fraser on 3 barriers to agtech adoption and impacts of COVID-19 on agriculture

Evan Fraser is an impressive guy. Like many impressive people, especially in academia, Evan and has a lot of titles. He is the a Professor of Geography at the University of Guelph in Canada; a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security; the Director of the Arrell Food Institute; a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation; and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. He’s also the founder of Feeding9Billion, where he has built a food system card game and created short videos on agriculture that have been watched over half a million times.

You can read Evan’s full bio here (and I strongly suggest you do), but I would sum it up by saying Evan is a food systems innovation expert. His passion for agriculture comes from his love of good food and summers spent spent working on his grandfather’s farm, which we cover in the episode. He brings a multi-disciplinary and systems approach to his work, with degrees and work experience in various fields from anthropology to atmospheric chemistry.

I reached out to Evan (thanks to listener and friend Connie Bowen for the intro!) to cover two main topics: barriers to agtech adoption, and the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture.

In terms of barriers to agtech adoption, Evan and I discuss three:

  1. Data interoperability;

  2. Data governance; and

  3. Cybersecurity.

We discuss how these barriers can impact farmers (including a poultry farm being ransomed for bitcoin!), and what work is being done to overcome them.

In terms of impacts of COVID-19, the short answer is that it’s too hard to tell what the impacts will be in the medium and long-term. But Evan has some ideas based on the fundamentals of supply and demand, and some more philosophical thinking about what the future could look like.

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