Bradley Doorn Highlights NASA’s Contributions to U.S. Agriculture’s Research and Data

Listen to KC Sheperd talk with Bradley Doorn about NASA’s contributions to U.S. agriculture.

At a recent event in Washington, D.C., Farm Director KC Sheperd had the chance to visit with the Program Manager of NASA Applied Sciences, Water Resources and Agriculture Research, Bradley Doorn.  

NASA has been playing a role in agriculture since the 60s and 70s, Doorn said, prioritizing the earth science mission since the conception of the administration. Doorn explained that NASA data is used everywhere, and whether it is the WASDE report, USDA NASS statistics, or the U.S. drought monitor, NASA data and research directly impact American agriculture.

“We work with agriculture institutions like the drought monitor, USDA, or ag industry partners that we have,” Doorn said. “We work with them to help them tell us what the requirements are. One of the objectives in our program is ground-up requirements.”

By prioritizing ground-up requirements, Doorn said the solution to ag industry issues comes from talking with those directly involved. As there are differences in issues faced regionally, Doorn said NASA works to take solutions and mold them to be acceptable throughout the U.S.

“One of the founding issues of our Earth science division is to understand the Earth as a whole system,” Doorn said. “Kind of think of it like an old man like me- I need to go out and have MRIs regularly because things are changing, moving, and don’t always know why.”

An example of this, Doorn said, is that the weather in Oklahoma does not originate in the state, as it is impacted by external factors such as the Earth’s oceans.

“That is one thing NASA can provide is a trusted source of information,” Doorn said. “Our only statutory requirement is to get data out to people and get the best data in the world out to people.”

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