Modernizing Agriculture Data Infrastructure to Improve Economic and Ecological Outcomes.

Paper by the AGree Initiative and the Data Foundation: “The paper highlights the necessity of data innovation to address a growing number of critical short and long-term food and agricultural issues, including agricultural production, environmental sustainability, nutrition assistance, food waste, and food and farm labor. It concludes by offering four practical options that are effective case studies for data acquisition, management, and use in other sectors.

Given the increasingly dynamic conditions in which the sector operates, the modernization of agricultural data collection, storage, and analysis will equip farmers, ranchers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with tools to adapt, innovate, and ensure a food-secure future.

While USDA has made strides over the years, to truly unlock the potential of data to improve farm productivity and the resilience of rural communities, the department must establish a more effective data infrastructure, which will require addressing gaps in USDA’s mandate and authorities across its agencies and programs.

The white paper explores four options that are effective case studies for data acquisition, management, and use in other sectors:

  1. Centralized Data Infrastructure Operated by USDA
  2. Centralized Data Infrastructure Operated by a Non-Governmental Intermediary
  3. Data Linkage Hub Operated by a Non-USDA Agency in the Federal Government
  4. Contractual Model with Relevant Partners

Each of the models considered offers opportunities for collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders to ensure there are clear benefits and to address shortfalls in the current system. Careful consideration of the trade-offs of each option is critical given the dynamic weather and economic challenges the agriculture sector faces and the potential new economic opportunities that may be unlocked by harnessing the power of data…(More)”.