NASA soon will help farmers to increase their productivity, according to this Federal Computer Week article.
A memorandum of understanding signed May 30 will give the Agriculture Department access to NASA's monitoring, mapping and systems engineering technology. The idea behind the partnership is to improve farmers' yields and provide NASA with information for an initiative to study the Earth's response to farming.
Another goal of the project is to reduce pollution.
In order to reach these goals, farmers will have access to several new technologies:
- Monitors and maps to detect and record changes in yields, soil properties and crop conditions
- Sensors to vary the application rate and timing for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation water
- Vehicle guidance systems to provide sensing for weed and pest populations and detect crop properties, such as protein content, during harvest
For more information, you can read the transcript of the press conference with Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. Here is a short quote of O'Keefe about future collaboration projects between NASA and USDA.
Based on some of the outstanding cooperation between USDA and NASA, we have pinpointed five focus areas for additional research and development of support tools and the application of remote-sensing technologies. In these areas of carbon management, of agricultural competitiveness, of air quality, of water management and conservation, and the management of invasive species, which certainly is an element and an aspect of what we're capable of doing, as a consequence of satellite research, improvements have been made that is quite novel today.
Source: Sara Michael, Federal Computer Week, May 30, 2003
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