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Calling All Open Data Partners

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

What data have you opened to the world lately?

In a time of increased global challenges in food and agriculture, a shared approach is essential to developing solutions for us all.  That’s why the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) remains determined to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide.

Open Data for Transparent and Effective Disaster Relief

Support for those affected by disasters is critical. By developing more comprehensive tools that prepare citizens and government before the next event helps.  Helping communities rebuild and become more resilient to extreme weather in the future is vital.

Citizens need to be able to access accurate information in real time, before, during and after these devastating events. The growing open data collaboration between data producers and data users can help with recovery efforts while being more transparent and local.

Why Open Data Matters: G-8 and African Nations Increase Open Data for Food Security

Recently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture here in Washington.  As head of the U.S. Delegation, the Secretary noted that “Data is quickly becoming one of the most important commodities in agriculture,” and encouraged the sharing of data to magnify its power. Hundreds of individuals attended from around the world and thousands more watched the event as it was streamed on the Internet. In this blog, Katherine Townsend, Special Assistant for Engagement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gives an example of how open data can improve crop yield and help producers keep more of the income generated by their labor.

Secretary's Column: Accomplishing More by Democratizing Data

Here in the United States, we enjoy incredible benefits from scientific research – including an amazing amount of useful data.

Data is a very powerful tool, and an important asset for innovation. President Obama made clear on his first day in office that the U.S. is committed to openness in government, and that includes expanded access to scientific data.

We have a history of achieving great things by providing open access to data. For example, the release of weather data has fueled production of new tools that return more than $4 billion every year to the U.S. economy. The release of Global Positioning System technology has led to an industry that returns an estimated $90 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

Trade Documents at Your Fingertips: Anytime, Anywhere

Over the last three years, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has worked with the peanut and dairy industries to create a government-hosted electronic trade document repository. The eTrade Document Exchange (eTDE) System, funded by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service through the Market Access Program, makes electronic trade documents, including official certificates, available securely through the Internet to facilitate the domestic and international movement of U.S. agricultural products.

This system provides users with the ability to access commodity-related trade documents as PDF files that can be used to verify hard copy documents or to eliminate the use of hard copy documents entirely. It allows authorized product owners, buyers, carriers, brokers, and government port agents access to critical information around the clock and around the world.

USDA collaborates with trade associations to provide this information as an export service to the supply chain. The certificates available in the repository are provided by a variety of document providers. Some certificates are provided by USDA, some by programs under department certification, and some from commercial sources that operate independently. USDA validates the identity of each document provider and has security controls in place to ensure that certificate data obtained from providers remains unaltered once it is posted to the site.

Creatively Shaping the Future of Federal Nutrition Research

Are you interested in helping shape the future of USDA human nutrition research? What human nutrition-related issues are you interested in? Childhood obesity? The nutrient content of foods? Health promotion and disease prevention? Now’s your chance to let your voice be heard. Be an active participant by visiting our “Idea Space” and sharing your thoughts with us. Your input will help guide us in setting our human nutrition research priorities for the future. Our research helps solves problems that affect Americans’ lives every day. Help us decide which problems should be our priorities.

As USDA's chief scientific research agency, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is leading America towards a better future through agricultural research and information. Now ARS wants your input in planning its human nutrition research program for the next five years.

Data Dashboards: Bringing More Market Information to Life

It has been said that the most successful person in life (and in business) is often the one who has the best information.  For almost a century USDA Market News has been providing farmers, ranchers and businesses with the best market and pricing information.  Our real-time commodity reports, produced by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), provide quick and easy access to volume and price information for boxed beef, cattle, hogs, and sheep.

AMS Releases Grain Transportation Data in Raw Format

The United States proudly touts a long history of grain production and is the top exporter of grain in the world. Half of our wheat, almost 40 percent of soybeans and almost a fifth of our corn are exported.  That’s why for over a decade the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has been tracking and gathering datasets for grain transportation, including prices, deliveries, movements, sales and freight rates, and now, for the first time, we’ve released our historic data in an excel  format.