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USDA Builds on International Collaboration at Open Data Conference

By USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research

I am excited to report that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead the U.S. delegation for an important conference at the end of April at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture in Washington. I will join the Secretary at the conference to launch the G8 countries’ collaborative effort to make our agriculturally-relevant research and statistical data accessible to users in Africa and around the world.

What is open data and why is it important to agriculture? In this Internet age, information from all corners of the world is accessible in ways like never before. Quite simply, open data means liberating data in machine and human readable formats—it is a 21st century way of sharing information. By sharing data and the tools to analyze it, people can develop new insights and applications to help themselves.  For agriculture, shared research can move us all closer to addressing the global food demands on the horizon.

Our food and agricultural challenges have no borders and neither should our research. At USDA, we recognize the importance of collaborative, scientific research and encourage international collaboration. Open data in agriculture allows us to pool our existing resources while pioneering fresh, new approaches to tackle the global challenges that lie ahead.

The G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture will bring together many forward-thinking entrepreneurs and innovators, along with policy makers and thought leaders. There, we will have the opportunity to discuss how open agricultural data increases food security, improves access to research for developing countries and provides new opportunities for private/public partnerships.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen how collaborative research has catapulted scientific discovery and innovation. The G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture is another step toward open science that will improve our agricultural innovation systems, increase global food security, and drive economic growth.

The conference, which is set for April 29-30, is the result of a commitment made at the 2012 G-8 Summit at Camp David, Maryland.

For more information on the conference, please visit the conference website or email

This post originally appeared on the USDA Blog.

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