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Revolutionising our food and farming industry

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Elizabeth Truss has encouraged farmers and the food industry to seize the opportunities offered by open data as the global population grows towards 9 billion.The Secretary of State was speaking at an Open Data Institute conference: ODI Futures Agriculture, December 2, where she reiterated her vision for the future of British food, farming and the natural environment. Watch the video highlights below:

Six months ago, the Secretary of State launched our #OpenDefra programme – opening up a treasure trove of 8,000 datasets by June 2016 so they are publicly available for free in the biggest data giveaway Britain has ever seen.

The event, hosted by Defra in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI), brought together global food producers and manufacturers, academics and entrepreneurs with local and central Government to discuss how open data will help famers maximise crop yields, improve the quality of produce and feed growing communities.

Alex Coley, Head of Data Capability, reflecting on the event said:

We are shining a light on how we, as a department, are starting to open up more of our data. It’s important that we consider the people who will be using our data. Because knowing who might use our data means that we will be able to connect with them and innovate.


Opening up our data is part of a major cultural change in how we think about, use and share data. A Defra Data Programme has been setup to drive this and you can find out more about our Data work on the Defra Digital Blog.


We have lots to do, to get there as a department and the scale of the challenges are large but we will get there as we all play a part to meet the SoS aims. If you would like more information on the event or the Defra Data Programme #OpenDefra.

Jeni Tennison, Technical Director at the Open Data Institute, said:

How we can use data to improve agriculture and nutrition is one of our main areas of focus at the Open Data Institute. With a rapidly growing global population, it is essential that farmers, suppliers and consumers have the data they need to make informed choices.


At this ODI Futures event, we connected these groups with researchers and officials to explore how open data can help solve problems in agriculture: from drought, pests and diseases, to food security and food safety.


We hope this inspires more data publication, further collaboration across the sector and the creation of more products and services that can bring this data to those who need it.

Further Information

 This article was posted on the Defra intranet on 03/12/2015. We are re-posting it here as part of our commitment to become #OpenDefra.

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