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UK Government to Release Huge Data Set to Improve Farming

26 June 2015

UK - Vast data reserves could transform the world of food and farming in the single biggest government data giveaway the UK has ever seen, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has announced.

The data, from the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will be released to create more opportunities for people in the UK making their living from food and farming.

Over the next year, virtually all the data Defra holds - at least 8,000 sets - will be made freely available to the public. Defra says this will put Britain at the forefront of the data revolution.

New data releases will include imagery from the Copernicus satellite system that can pinpoint which places have the best soil and microclimates to grow grapes for sparkling wine, detect live if a ship is acting suspiciously in a marine conservation zone, or assess the health of crops and chart their performance under different conditions from space.

The release could enable the government to use satellite data to see what crops are growing in fields rather than requiring farmers to report on every piece of land, freeing up farmers' time.

Speaking to an audience of tech experts, entrepreneurs and investors in Tech City, Ms Truss said: "Defra is the most data-rich department in Whitehall, though much of it - millions and millions of files - is hidden away.

"It is worth billions of pounds to British people, businesses and our rural economy, and it can be used to improve the quality of our natural environment."

Defra hopes that this free resource of data will give space to individuals to innovate, pursue ideas that bring progress, take risks and build profitable businesses.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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