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NASA to contribute to agricultural research

This image taken by the Landsat satellite shows an agricultural region in Idaho on August 14, 2000, captured in the visible spectrum
© NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


The US Department of Agriculture and NASA have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening their longstanding partnership on space-based assets benefitting life on Earth. 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 explore research gaps of importance 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 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.”

The agreement also will leverage USDA’s connections with the agricultural community and the global marketplace.

The partnership outlined in the agreement will benefit a variety of Earth and space-based goals, including activities in support of NASA’s Artremis programme, which will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon and establish sustainable exploration with our commercial and international partners. Plant-related research on the International Space Station, and other space or ground platforms, may lead to creative new ways to improve American and global agriculture, protect the environment, and contribute to better human health. 

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Biovegen notes a growing interest in agricultural R&D projects


Biovegen has seen a growing interest in stakeholders engaging in innovative research projects for agriculture. The Spanish technology platform for plant biotechnology is a public-private partnership, led by the business sector, which brings together entities from the agrifood sector with an interest in R&D&i in applied plant biology.

The platform organised a day at Fruit Attraction in Madrid in partnership with the INIA (National Institute of Agricultural and Food Technology and Research), where it made more than 200 contacts with researchers and companies interested in their projects, thereby confirming a growing “effervescence and interest” in the fruit and vegetable sector for R & D & I projects. This is how the president of this platform is dedicated to building bridges between agricultural technology suppliers and plaintiffs, José Pellicer, who also values ​​“the important global offer but adapted to the needs of each region” exposed during the aforementioned working day. Indeed, throughout that morning of October 23, the directors or senior executives of eight of the autonomous centres of the R & D & I network that INIA coordinates (the CBGP of Madrid; the IFAPA of Andalusia; the APPOINTMENT of Aragon; INAGEA of the Balearic Islands; the IRIAF of Castilla La Mancha; the IRTA of Catalonia; the IVIA of the Valencian Community and NEIKER of the Basque Country) presented their main strategic and research lines. More than 300 entrepreneurs, private researchers or representatives of centres from all over Spain filled the Fruit Forum 4 room to the point that the director of the fair, Raúl Calleja – who participated in the opening of the meeting – acknowledged that these Biovegen conferences are all “a pride” for this fair “because R&D is the added value that we seek to offer to the business activity that we gather here.”

Key facts

  • The evolution of this platform, dedicated to mediating between research and agrifood companies, accredits this reactivation: in 2014 it had 43 associates, today there are 104

  • The Conference Attraction Technology Attraction ’by the hand of INIA, filled the room and attracted 300 researchers, responsible for agricultural centres and entrepreneurs

  • Eight directors of the main agricultural centres coordinated by INIA presented their main lines of action, adapted to the needs of their autonomous community

TAGS: Biovegen, platform, agricultural research