In a bid to increase government transparency, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched the Rural Data Gateway.
USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said the new resource will “make the department’s data for rural projects easier to access for its partners and for people living in rural communities.
The agency said the Rural Data Gateway will “help USDA better target resources to the people who need them most in rural places.” The agency added that easing access to program data will help USDA become a stronger partner to rural people, entrepreneurs, government officials, and other stakeholders.
“The Biden-Harris Administration knows that transparency is important for a free government,” Under Secretary Torres Small said. “It also drives innovation, accountability and more equitable outcomes for rural people everywhere. The Rural Data Gateway will highlight places where USDA has expanded access to capital for people in rural communities who need it most. It will demonstrate how Rural Development (RD) funds are being used across rural America.”
Under Secretary Torres Small cited specific use cases, including helping business owners, farmers, and ranchers better understand where RD resources have helped to modernize infrastructure and create economic prosperity, as well as helping help rural people see where investments are being made to expand or improve access to health care, high-speed internet, and safe drinking water.
The new data platform includes “easy-to use” investment dashboards that show how Rural Development has supported local and regional economies in the last 11 years through 69 programs. The data is broken up by state, county, and congressional district, which USDA said will help users analyze trends across different regions.
USDA said the Rural Data Gateway is part of its larger goal of expanding public access to Federal government data as required by the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act of 2018.