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about 3 years ago

A note from Rick Mueller, head researcher at the National Agricultural Statistics Service

There are many obstacles and challenges facing new growers as they enter the farming profession. How can these entrepreneurs, who are assuming a great deal of financial and professional risk, reduce their barriers and risks through the use of innovative ideas and tools that can help mentor, educate, lead, and support them? There is a deep need for knowledge exchange and innovative thought — how can we best pass it on to the next generation of farmers, and how can this best be facilitated?

Can technology be applied to leverage “big data” to connect data sets and discrete data streams to create sustainable opportunities within the farming community for this niche of new growers and their successors? Using USDA-produced survey, Census, and/or geospatial data combined with other publicly available data sets, can a unique application be developed that supports climate resilience farming methods? How can we best service this community using economic, social, industrial, environmental, climatic, and farm data feeds that reduce risk while providing fresh opportunity?

Rick Mueller

Head of Spatial Analysis Research Section, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 

Judge, USDA Innovation Challenge