USDA and Microsoft Test Co-Built APIs With Food Resiliency Challenge

Building on the partnership that created the CropScape and VegScape APIs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Microsoft have announced the Innovation Challenge for Food Resilience. The challenge invites public and private entities to address climate change's impact on the U.S. food supply. Participants will utilize APIs jointly published by the USDA and Microsoft to build applications and tools that analyze a broad set of data regarding the country's food supply.

"Microsoft and the USDA ... hope that the challenge will provide a great incentive for developers and researchers interested in data science to put together some great applications helping address the USA's food resiliency needs," Daron Green, Microsoft Research's deputy managing director, commented.

The USDA has opened both existing and new data sets to participants during the challenge. Participants can gain access to the data sets via, the Farm Data Dashboard (a Microsoft Azure hosted portal) and a number of APIs (e.g., NASS Quickstats API, NASS CropScape API, NASS VegScape API). Additionally, participants are encouraged to integrate the challenge-specific APIs with data from other government agencies (e.g., NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey).

With $63,000 in prizes available, and a top prize of $25,000, participants have a number of opportunities to win. Eligible platforms include smartphone or tablet, Web, desktop and software. Entrants must submit a video demo and make the tool/app available for testing. For a more detailed list of entry requirements, visit the challenge website. Entries are due Nov. 20. Visit the FAQs to view common questions about the proposal process.

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