USDA-NASA partnership could help Utah farmers

<span>SALT LAKE CITY – A partnership involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA could benefit farmers in Utah and elsewhere as the nation adjusts to the impact of climate change. U.S.D.A. Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden says the agreement will expand cooperation on space-borne remote sensing efforts to gather soil-moisture data to develop soil-moisture maps that can help farmers in the drought-ravaged Southwest.</span>

<span>”We know the climate is changing and we have to adapt, we have to mitigate,” says Harden. “We want to give our producers all those tools to make sure they know as well in advance who is going to be impacted and when, so we can farm and ranch differently if we need to in certain parts of the country.”</span>

<span>Harden adds, the NASA satellite images will also help Forest Service fire fighters and first responders better detect wildfires and predict their behavior.</span>

<span>Craig Gardner, a farmer near Honeyville, Utah, says knowing moisture levels could prove enormously helpful to farmers who continue to produce the nation’s food supply through an historic drought.</span>

<span>”If we can find out how far down the moisture is in the ground,” says Gardner. “For instance, when we’re planting, if we know where the moisture is, we can plant a little deeper so that the crops will come up, or we plant shallower if we know the moisture is higher, so if we don’t have extra water then we don’t worry as much, but if we don’t the have the water then we got to use every device we can to try and give us help.”</span>

<span>According to the federal government’s National Climate Assessment, as temperatures continue to rise, droughts in the Southwest will be longer, prompting even dryer conditions.</span>

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!