USDA maps new course

USDA Service Center home page

The Agriculture Department is getting into the map data business to help

farm, conservation and rural development services across the country.

The USDA selected Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. to provide

$2 million in software and services to develop a landmark geographic information

system that will change the way the government manages map data.

The USDA said the technology would help increase farm productivity and

customer service by using geographic data related to soil, water, air, plants

and animals. It will help USDA scientists better calculate soil erosion

rates, protect wetlands and determine what crops to plant, among other things.

The new technology is part of USDA's business modernization process

and will be used by service center agencies, including the Natural Resources

Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and rural development agencies.

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