There is considerable variation regarding format and definition of process and base data for decision making on farm, administrative, processor, trader and retailer levels. This causes difficulties concerning the interaction of different software solutions within theses firms. A way out of this set of difficulties is offered by the standardized data exchange language agroXML. The concept of agroXML is based on the worldwide standard XML (eXtensible Markup Language). In the agroXML scheme the specific agricultural terms are stored and are explained in the agroXML dictionary.
The aim of this paper is to describe the background situation and to demonstrate the need of standardized data formats such as agroXML. In this context the information requirement of agricultural enterprises (inside the farm operation and between businesses) are described as well as the requirements of farm management and those deriving from quality assurance and traceability endeavors; account is also taken to data and information demands from public authorities to the agricultural industry. Additionally, the concept, the objectives, and particularly the various benefits of agroXML at different levels are explained. Finally, the state of the art in developing this standard and perspectives are described. Also the question of internationalization of the data standard will be raised.