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over 3 years ago

Here’s what USDA and Microsoft scientists think about the challenge

Several scientists from the USDA and Microsoft gathered last month at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association to discuss our hackathon, the available data tools, and the kinds of solutions they hope participants will build.

Here’s a brief digest of what they had to say:

  • This is the first time the USDA is making so much of their data publicly available.
  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has opened up access to their CropScape and VegScape APIs. CropScape provides geospatial data through annual land cover data sets from the past seven years. VegScape is a vegetative condition database compiled from satellite data.
  • The provided data sets are a jumping off point; participants are encouraged to incorporate other data of their choosing.
  • The overarching question is: How do we meet the food needs of a growing population in a way that is both environmentally sound and economically feasible for farmers?

Be sure to check out the launch video, which also shows the data tools in action.