The partnership between USDA and NASA has been invigorated by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December.

"This is the third MOU I'm aware of, and it's a long line of cooperation between USDA and NASA; especially with soil moisture," noted Mike Cosh, research hydrologist with the Agricultural Research Service."NASA's very good about launching satellites and interpreting data that satellites collect. But that data's not soil moisture. That data is what they call either brightness, temperature, or radiance, or reflectance and that's not something that's valuable ro useful to most people."

So USDA helps by correlating it to data on the ground.

"An interpretation of these signals to provide an accurate estimate of valuable information at the surface, such as surface temperature, soil moisture status, vegetation status," Cosh noted.

Paring the information from the ground and from space helps Ag producers better manage their resources, and better prepare for natural disasters like floods or drought.

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