Skip to main content

News & Events

Help build a sustainable US food system by putting USDA data into the hands of farmers, researchers, and consumers.

July 24, 2015 - October 27, 2015

Help build a sustainable US food system by putting USDA data into the hands of farmers, researchers, and consumers.

Being a farmer in America is not for the weak of heart. For decades, it has been a game of both chance and experience - making farming a difficult industry to enter. In fact, the number of entry-level farmers has fallen by 30% since 1987 (

For those that do enter this industry, farming is becoming an increasingly data and technology driven activity. Known as “precision farming” or “precision ag,” farmers are now utilizing data from satellites, market reports, weather forecasts, surveys, and sensors that provide on-demand GPS monitoring and mapping tools. (

Still, it’s not enough.

American farmers need more data in order to create a sustainable food system for the United States. They need to analyse the food supply coming from farms and ranches and the economics of consumer demand. They need to know how yields have changed over time so they can prepare for and predict future crops. They need to know what is growing well in their area and what isn’t. Similarly, consumers and researchers want to know where their food is coming from and how we can make US agriculture more sustainable.

The USDA has a tremendous amount of food supply, economic demand, and remote sensing data as part of its Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), the challenge is to explore how to make this data accessible and provide insights for potential users.

Help create a sustainable, competitive, and healthy US food system. Use USDA data to create working, interactive applications to get farmers the information they need –and help feed America.

View full rules


This challenge is open to:

  • Individuals (who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry)
  • Teams of eligible individuals
  • Organizations (up to 50 employees)
  • Large Organizations (with over 50 employees) may compete only for the non-cash Large Organization Recognition Award.
  • Employees of Large Organizations (with over 50 employees) are eligible as long as they enter the competition independent of their company and meet all other requirements.

Employees of the USDA, Microsoft, ChallengePost and contractors currently under contract work for USDA, Microsoft, or ChallengePost are not eligible. 


What to Create: Submit a working, interactive application that integrates one or more of the required USDA datasets. 

Static data visualizations will not be eligible. Applications must include interactive functionality (e.g. the user can change parameters to update the visualization and/or result).

Eligible Platforms:

  • Smartphone or tablet (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle, Windows 8 Mobile)
  • Web (mobile or desktop)
  • Desktop (Windows PC, Mac Desktop)
  • Software running on other publicly available hardware (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)

Supplemental Material: You must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the application via screencast or video. You must also submit a text description and at least one image/screenshot of your working application.

Testing: You must make your app available for testing by providing a link to access your installation file, an uploaded installation file, a beta distribution build, etc. See full testing access options.

New & Existing Solutions: Apps may be newly created or pre-existing. If the submitted app existed prior to the competition’s submission start date, it must have been updated to integrate the required USDA data during the submission period.

Category: Other