Paris, 3 December 2007

EFITA newsletter / 339 / European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

Point of view: ebXML
We participate in a French national project called RESAGRI (project head: Bruno PREPIN) and after one year I eventually understand the interest of ebXML! The interest of XML is quite obvious: flexibility, low cost… A demonstration of ebXML was necessary.
With ebXML, each network participant declares to who he will send messages, from who he will accept messages and what will be the formats of the exchanged messages. The ebXML platform enables to convert messages from one format to others and guarantee the transport of messages through the Internet.
We imagine that many organisations and even farmers could find it interesting to subscribe such a system.Did you investigate ebXML? Do you have an experience ?
Contact: Guy WAKSMAN
E-mail: waksman(a)

Operations Research in Agriculture and Forest Management (Call for papers) - Special Volume of the Annals of Operations Research
> Brief description of the Topic: Many real-world decision-making situations arise from agriculture and from forest management. Models and decision support systems to be used in agriculture or forestry are often presented at OR international conferences and workshops. Even though most presentations contain a section called "Validation" or "Discussion" those issues are often treated rather superficially. In other words, many presentations describe carefully what the program or model does, but they only briefly stress why and how it does it. The purpose of this volume is to focus on the methods in the context of the problems they are intended to solve.

> Objectives: This Special Volume of Annals of Operations Research is intended to collect in one volume high quality papers on all aspects of operations research in agriculture and forest management, considering both theoretical issues and application results. Methods covered may include, but are not restricted to, the following themes:
- Dynamic programming
- Bayesian networks and decision graphs
- Markov decision processes
- Linear programming
- Stochastic programming
- Parameter estimation and knowledge acquisition
- Learning from data
- Descriptive and normative decision tree techniques
- Agent modelling and simulation
- State of the art surveys

> Papers will undergo a very stringent evaluation process based on an international refereeing procedure in order to ensure contributions are of top international standard.

> Deadline for submissions: Extended to 31st January 2008

> Instructions:

>Addresses for submissions: We encourage authors to send their contribution in electronic form to one of the guest editors. PDF format is preferred. If submitting hard copies please send four copies.

Contacts: Frederick GARCIA, Lluis M. PLA, Bela VIZVARI
Email: fgarcia(a), LMpla(a), vizvari(a)

Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy in soil science and land resource assessment (Session SSS22 of the Soil System Sciences section of the EGU-2008)
As some of you will already know, during the next General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), that will be held in Vienna (Austria) 13-18 April 2008, there will be a session dedicated specifically to "Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy in soil science and land resource assessment? (more information can be find below).
This session will provide an excellent opportunity to share experiences, establish current knowledge, describe the many applications, present recent advances and discuss future possibilities for research and adoption of the techniques. It will be an honour for us to have you and your colleagues attending the meeting and share your knowledge with other experts in this domain.
The use of visible (vis), near-infrared (NIR) and mid-infrared (mid-IR) diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) in soil science and land resource assessment has attracted much attention over the last ten years. This is reflected by the large numbers of papers on both vis-NIR and mid-IR in the scientific literature over this period.Soil vis-NIR and mid-IR techniques are integrative in that they contain information on both organic and inorganic soil composition, which make them particularly useful for determining various physical, chemical and biological soil properties. Advances in chemometrics and computing power have allowed to extract such information from the spectra by modelling of complex relationships that exist in these data. DRS has some important advantages over conventional soil analysis. For example, the techniques are non-destructive, they are highly reproducible, they are rapid, cost effective, easy to operate, a single spectrum can produce information on various soil properties, small quantities of sample are needed for analysis, they require minimal sample preparations, and they do not require the use of environmentally harmful chemicals. Hence the techniques can be also used to provide quantitative information for input into environmental and soil process models and digital soil mapping.
The objective of this session is to bring together soil and land resource scientists working with vis, NIR, and mid-IR diffuse reflectance spectroscopy.
This session will provide an opportunity to share experiences, establish current knowledge, describe the many applications, present recent advances and discuss future possibilities for research and adoption of the techniques.

This session deals with the following topics:
* Provision of soil information for soil resource assessment and mapping
- Laboratory-based vis-NIR and mid-IR DRS for rapid estimation of soil properties (chemical, physical, biological)
- Proximal and remote soil sensing (i.e. field based) using vis-NIR and mid-IR frequencies
- Estimation of soil organic carbon (type, quality and quantity)
- Estimation of soil mineral composition
- Soil classification by vis-NIR and mid-IR DRS
- Quantification of environmental impacts on soils, e.g. soil degradation and rehabilitation
- Precision agriculture
- Biogeochemical processes in soils
- Characterization of composting and organic wastes

* Technical aspects
- Evaluation of the effect of sample preparation on measurement accuracy
- Global vs Local calibrations for soil properties
- What is possible and what isn't
- Calibration transfers
- Quantifying uncertainty in models and predictions
- Chemometrics
- Data mining

* Instrumentation
- laboratory spectrometers
- portable spectrometers
- etc...

- European Geosciences Union (EGU):
- Sessions in the Soil System Sciences section of the EGU:
- Abstract submission:
Contact: Abdul M. MOUAZEN, Ph.D.
E-mail: abdul.mouazen(a)

Trends in farm succession - International workshop
On 6-7 June 2008, in a Swiss-Romanian program is planned an international workshop.
The aim is to identify the main problems of land transfer from one generation to the next. Who are the next generation farmers, which are the gender aspects of this process, farmers, farming families? Agricultural land was the most important property in some historical periods. What is the situation with land in the present time? How important is land for rural ageing communities, when international emigration for work is so strong in Romania?
Key notions are:
- Land property inheritance
- Gender aspects of land inheritance
- Farmers, farming families and land
- Intergenerational relations and land.
Keynote speakers are: Stefan Mann (Switzerland), Imre Kovach (Hungary). There are presenting papers Ruth Rossier (Switzerland), Agnes Nemenyi (Romania) and other participants.
Contact: Agnes NEMENYI
E-mail: anemenyi(a)

Record-breaking Agritechnica 
Number of visitors increases by 30 percent – 340,000 professional visitors - 71,000 visitors from abroad…
See: Contact: Malene CONLONG
Mél : m.conlong(a)

Agrifeeds, the new service to provide aggregated news and events information, is now available for testing
Agrifeeds is the new service realized to study and to provide aggregated view on news and upcoming events in the area of agriculture (including, Forestry, Fisheries, Food security and related domains such as Sustainable Development, Nutrition, etc). The service is part of a "feasibility study" on the use of web-feeds for aggregating and filtering news and events. It allows feed owners to register their feeds (News and Events) which then are aggregated with other registered feeds. On the user side, the site allows users to make a one-stop search and filter on news and events aggregated daily from these registered agricultural information sources. The filtering criteria can be saved to create a custom feed which will always contain updated results meeting a user's requirement and can be read using a feed reader or/and be embedded into a website. Agrifeeds is different from other RSS aggregators in that it aims at higher quality in: selection, subject indexing, metadata description and tailoring of the information. We are looking for organizations and individuals who want to test Agrifeeds in their applications and provide us with useful feedback to improve the service further.
Contact : Gauri SALOKHE
E-mail: gauri.salokhe(a)

Cow from Minsk
A little village in Poland had only one cow and one day it stopped giving milk. The townspeople did a little research and discovered they could get a cow from Moscow for 2000 rubles or one from Minsk for only 500 rubles. Being thrifty, they naturally bought the cow from Minsk.

It was a great cow. It had a wonderful disposition and produced lots of milk, lots of butter and lots of cream. Everybody loved it dearly. So much so that the villagers decided they would mate the cow and raise more cows just like it so they would never have to worry about their milk supply again.

When the cow went in to heat, they went back to Minsk and hired a bull to mate with the cow. They put the bull with the cow in a pasture and let nature take its course. But when the bull came in to mount the cow from the right, the cow moved to the left. When the bull moved in to mount the cow from the left, the cow shifted to the right. She refused to let him mount her. This went on all day.

Finally, in desperation, the villagers decided to go ask the rabbi what to do. After all, everyone knew the rabbi was very, very wise.

They gathered around him and told him the story. "Rabbi, we've tried all day to mate our cow. When the bull comes in from the right the cow moves left, and when the bull comes in from the left the cow moves to the right. What should we do?"

The rabbi pondered for a moment and then asked, "Did you buy this cow from Minsk?" Rabbi!" they cried as one, "you are indeed wise! We never said where we bought the cow! How did you know it came from Minsk?"

Shaking his head, the rabbi said sadly, "My wife is from Minsk."

Man's Body Found
Today, local police found a man's body on a back road. They describe him as having a beer belly, saggy balls, wrinkly ass and a small pecker.

I am concerned.

Let me know if you're OK

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