USDA launches new electronic platform for commodity markets

Dairy products to be first set of data released through new system on Feb. 2.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced Jan. 31 the launch of a new electronic data platform to deliver market price information to the commodity industries. The new web-based platform -- Market Analysis & Reporting Services (MARS) -- uses state-of-the-art technology to present detailed data sets in a more customer-focused way to better support competitive markets for producers and help stabilize food prices for American families.

“USDA Market News is the most relied-upon source of unbiased agricultural market data,” said Greg Ibach, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “USDA’s on-site market reporters gather, analyze and publish unbiased data all day long to ensure fair food prices for consumers across the country and around the world. The MARS project applies the best data management practices to make the data available when and where farmers, packers and processors need it.”

As Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue promised last summer, USDA staff are using the latest technologies available to deliver the most effective, most efficient, customer-focused service in the federal government.

“MARS improves the transparency, speed and accuracy of USDA Market News and facilitates the flow of data from more than 3,600 markets to AMS analysts and, ultimately, to producers, industry and the public,” USDA noted. “The new dynamic interface provides data analysts with one-stop instant access to agricultural commodity data through a searchable database with the ability to create custom reports, data sets and data visualizations to make large amounts of information more easily understandable in a fraction of the time.”

Businesses may also utilize the built-in application program interface (API) to create new uses for the data as customer needs evolve, USDA said.

On Feb. 2, 2018, Market News information for dairy products will be the first set of data and reports available through MARS, followed by cotton and tobacco, which are scheduled for April 2018. Dates for livestock, poultry and grain and specialty crops will be announced on the new My Market News website.

USDA anticipates that all Market News data will be moved to the new system by March 2019. USDA’s existing Market News website will continue to post data until all commodities are available through MARS.

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