Press Release

NASA and USDA Launch Partnership to Advance Cooperation in Earth Science Technologies and Applications

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2003
Filed under , ,

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Ann M.
Veneman and NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today launched a
partnership that will use Earth Science technologies to
enhance the competitiveness of American farmers and ranchers
and help protect the environment.

O’Keefe and Veneman signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) that enables USDA to draw on the best scientific and
technical information available from NASA research in Earth
observation and systems engineering. The primary purpose of
this new cooperative effort is to help increase the
production efficiency of farmers while continuing to reduce
the cost of production. Earth observation technologies
provide insights into climate and precipitation patterns,
crop health, airborne particles, and water availability.

“Precision agriculture practices are helping farmers improve
productivity while protecting our natural resources,” said
Secretary Veneman. “This partnership with NASA will make
available remote sensing technologies that will advance
precision agriculture.”

This joint endeavor also spawns information that contributes
to interagency cooperation on climate change through the
Climate Change Research Program to develop a scientific
understanding of the Earth’s response to natural or human-
induced changes.

Veneman said that such technology would also be highlighted
at the upcoming Ministerial and Expo on Agricultural Science
and Technology in Sacramento, Calif., on June 23-25.
Ministers from over 180 countries will discuss and share
science and technological innovation in agriculture at the

“NASA is pleased to be part of this worthwhile effort, which
will benefit all Americans,” said Administrator O’Keefe.
“NASA’s unique ability to view the Earth from space enhances
our ability to anticipate climate change, understand weather
and natural hazards, as well as to mitigate and assess the
effects of natural and human-induced disasters. The
information we provide will allow our partners to make
critical, accurate and timely decisions.”

An immediate outcome of the new partnership is a $1 million,
three-year program to establish Geospatial Extension Programs
at land grant universities. Geospatial Extension specialists
work closely with NASA and USDA to address Earth Science
applications and the remote sensing needs of the agricultural

The MOU focuses on cooperation in the following five areas:

  • Carbon Sequestration for Carbon Management
  • Environmental Models for Biological Invasive Species
  • Water Cycle Science for Water Management and Conservation
  • Weather and Climate Prediction Research for Agricultural Competitiveness
  • Regional, National, and International Atmospheric Predictions for Air Quality Management

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding
the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System
Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and
natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

For more information on NASA’s Earth Science program, see

For information on the Ministerial and Expo on Agricultural
Science and Technology, see

SpaceRef staff editor.