The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it and NASA have signed a MoU to improve agricultural and Earth science research to benefit life on Earth.

The USDA and NASA have signed an agreement to improve agricultural and Earth science research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it and NASA have signed a memorandum of understanding meant to strengthen their partnership on space-based assets benefitting life on Earth.

According to the USDA, the agreement brings together NASA’s experience with technology development and space-borne Earth science measurements and the USDA’s scientific experience and knowledge of agricultural production, resource conservation, food security and safety and forests and working lands.

The USDA said it and NASA will look into research gaps of importance to the agricultural community that could be remedied through innovative Earth observation systems and technologies developed over the next 10 years. It said the partnership will also 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 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 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.”

According to the Department, the agreement will also leverage its connections with the agricultural community and the global marketplace.

The USDA said the partnership outlined in the agreement will benefit various Earth and space-based goals, like activities in support of NASA’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon and establish sustainable exploration with its commercial and international partners. It said plant-related research on the International Space Station and other space or ground platforms could lead to creative new ways to improve agriculture, protect the environment and contribute to better human health.

According to the USDA, agencies will also collaborate on education and communication activities to inspire children to pursue careers in STEM and agriculture through the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education.

Originally published at WIBW