Congressional members discuss NASA ag research

Members of Iowa’s congressional delegation say NASA’s efforts to enhance ag research can help improve food security and reduce price volatility.

Astronaut Raja Chari says NASA has been working with ag stakeholders to develop tools and data that can help increase production.

“We have an interest in doing hyperspectral imagery of food so we can analyze the things we’re using,” Chari said, “but that’s also what we’re using now for crop analysis.”

Republican Senator Joni Ernst tells Brownfield the data could help lawmakers craft future farm bills.

“Some of that data may end up at EPA and there will be many other agencies that will be able to take that information and then roll it into various legislative proposals,” Ernst said.

Republican Chuck Grassley suggests the private sector could benefit from NASA’s agricultural developments. “Which is 75% of the American economy and will probably follow up in a more fast and efficient manner than what government would follow up on,” Grassley said.

Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson says the research could expand precision agriculture technologies. “Collaboration is essential to making sure we can continue to innovate,” Hinson said.

NASA recently partnered with the USDA to explore ways to create more climate-resilient food systems.

Chari, Ernst, Grassley, and Hinson participated in an ag science policy roundtable at Grinnell College on Monday.

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