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NASA, USDA agreement could lead to major farming improvements

PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA have entered into an agreement that could lead to images from space being used to help farmers.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden said the deal could use NASA satellite images to help the farmers deal with a lack of water and other problems in their fields.

“They could look at moisture and other problems for a farmer or a rancher that could lead to more problems in the future if they’re not addressed sooner,” she said.

Arizona Farm Bureau spokeswoman Julie Murphree said she already knows of some farmers in the state who are using drones to monitor what is going in their fields — and they are getting results.

“We can tell if one part of the field is more stressed than another — in other words, maybe it needs more water,” she said. “This type of technology allows that to have more pinpoint accuracy.”

Murphree said the agreement will help the farmers become more efficient and improve their practices with the use of NASA technology.