(NAFB)--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says data is among the most important commodities in agriculture - and sharing it openly increases its value. At the G-8 Open Data for Agriculture Conference - he announced the launch of a new virtual community as part of a suite of actions the U.S. is taking to give farmers and ranchers, scientists, policymakers and other members of the public easy access to publicly funded data to help increase food security and nutrition. Vilsack said the digital revolution fueled by open data is starting to do for the modern world of agriculture what the industrial revolution did for agricultural productivity over the past century. He said open access to data will help combat food insecurity today - while laying the groundwork for a sustainable agricultural system to feed a population that is projected to be more than nine-billion by 2050.
The virtual Food, Agriculture and Rural data community was launched on www.data.gov to catalogue America’s publicly available agricultural data and increase the ability of the public to find, download and use datasets generated and held by the federal government. More than 300 newly catalogued datasets, databases and raw data sources related to food, agriculture and rural issues from agencies across the U.S. government are featured. In addition - the virtual community shares a number of applications, maps and tools.