January 25, 2021

New USDA and NASA Partnership

New USDA and NASA Partnership

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have signed an agreement to strengthen agricultural and earth science research. The agreement brings together NASA’s experience with technology development and space-borne Earth science measurements and USDA’s scientific experience and knowledge of agricultural production, resource conservation, food security and safety, and forests and working lands.

USDA and NASA will investigate gaps in research important to the agricultural community, that could be addressed through innovative Earth observation systems and technologies developed over the next decade. The collaboration also will address recommendations made in the 2017 National Academies’ Earth Science Decadal Survey.

“As we’ve seen over the past 100 years, increasing innovation in agriculture is limitless,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “This partnership between USDA and NASA will bring together the best research, science, and technology we have to offer to help produce more food to feed the growing world. We are continuing an already great collaborative effort to utilize space-based technologies across sectors and into agriculture.”

“When we combine research on the International Space Station with the amazing capabilities that Earth observation provides, I believe that NASA, in partnership with USDA, could transform farming and bolster agricultural production in ways we can’t even imagine today,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Microgravity research can unlock secrets in a wide variety of fields, and I’m particularly excited about our agency’s potential impact on next-generation agricultural techniques.”

The agreement has been applauded by many in the agriculture sector. Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation stated “Today, technology plays an ever-larger role in growing the food we eat, and this partnership between USDA and NASA will no doubt help to advance the goal we all share of feeding the world. Many people don’t realize how applicable NASA’s technology is to agriculture and I applaud this commitment to breaking down walls, and advancing innovation in agriculture. We look forward to working with both the USDA and NASA to inspire the next generation of agriculturalists.”

The agencies will also collaborate on education and communication activities to inspire youth in America to pursue careers in STEM and agriculture through the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education.