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Agricultural News

NASA Administrator Bridenstine Talks Intersection of Space, Ag in FFA Blue Room

Fri, 01 Nov 2019 15:43:56 CDT

NASA Administrator Bridenstine Talks Intersection of Space, Ag in FFA Blue Room

The FFA Blue Room at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo has a roster full of ag industry leaders sharing the latest technological advancements. One of the marquee presenters: NASA Administrator James Bridenstine.

He spoke to FFA members about how space technology has impacted farming technology in the past, and how NASA and agriculture continue to intersect for earth science technology and space exploration.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that NASA has an Earth Science Division,” he said. “We are looking at the Earth and every part of the electromagnetic spectrum all the time, and we are figuring out how to use that information to increase crop yields while reducing water usage.”

After his Blue Room presentation- Bridenstein talked with several members of the media in a gaggle style format- you can hear his responses to three questions that zero in on how space intersects agriculture- click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.

Bridenstine reflected on NASA-developed technology now widely used in the agriculture industry, like GPS, and also shared some of the agency’s ongoing projects that can impact agriculture worldwide. The first, Landsat, can potentially provide specific evapotranspiration numbers for farmers to use in a detailed irrigation plan. It measures evaporation rates from the soil and transpiration rates from crops.

Another NASA endeavor, Grace (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), measures the gravity well at different points on Earth, as Earth’s gravity is not constant or consistent. “From these measurements, we can actually make assessments as to how much water is in an aquifer,” Bridenstine said. “We can make assessments as to how much water is in the soil, and we have used these measurements as an agency not just to make drought predictions here in the United States, but we’ve done it to make drought predictions in Uganda.”

These methods can be used to mitigate problems like a drought before it happens, Bridenstine emphasized.

The connection of space to agriculture is much stronger than ever before, Bridenstine said — and the National FFA Convention seems more like a tech conference. “It’s all tech, it’s all science, it’s the STEM fields, and ag is a piece of it,” Bridenstine said. “It’s different than when I was in high school by far. I think that there’s a lot of synergies between agriculture and space exploration. A lot of the science is necessary to explore space.

As a part of our coverage, we are taking pictures in and around the 2019 National FFA Convention- click or tap here to check out the National Convention Album on FLICKR. By the way- we continue a tradition as several state officers of the Oklahoma FFA will be taking pictures for us during the course of the meeting.

Our exclusive coverage of the 2019 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis October 30- November 2 is a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business - Click or tap here for their webpage. We also appreciate the support of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click or tap here for more information about one of the top states in the US in the FFA- the Oklahoma FFA Association. FFA is a student organization for high school-aged students interested in agriculture and leadership.


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