The Space for Ag initiative within the Earth Science division of NASA promotes the use of Earth observation to strengthen food and water security, support market stability, and protect human livelihood. Together with the National Drought Mitigation Center, a Nebraska producer, and an ag tech entrepreneur, this discussion will focus on promoting food security, water resources and agricultural resilience through the use of satellite data and space technology.
Dr. Karen St. Germain
Dr. St. Germain is the Division Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters. She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management for the entire agency’s Earth Science portfolio, from technology development, applied science, research, mission implementation and operation.
Mark Svoboda, climatologist, is the Director of the National Drought Mitigation Center. He has been with the NDMC since it was established in 1995, and has been one of the U.S. Drought Monitor authors since it was established in 1999. Svoboda serves on the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Implementation Team and co-chairs the NIDIS Portal Development Team. As of January 2010, Svoboda was serving on the American Meteorological Society’s Applied Climate Committee for a three-year term and is helping lead the effort on updating AMS’s Statement on Drought.
Brandon Hunnicutt is the owner and partner of Hunnicutt Farms, an irrigated farming operation in South Central Nebraska that produces corn, soybeans, popcorn, seed corn, and other crops in a sustainable manner having a mix of both conventional and organic practices. Constantly trying to use the latest in technology to improve efficiencies while researching new ideas to help with climate change is an important mission to Hunnicutt Farmers. Brandon's role is to assess and implement ideas and practices in the areas of agronomy, sustainability, technology, and marketing. As the Vice Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board, Brandon helps develop, carry out and participate in programs of research, education, market development and promotion to enhance profitability and expand the demand and value of Nebraska corn and value-added corn products.
Jackson Santsell, founder and CEO of Sentinel Fertigation, is currently a Ph. D. student in Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Jackson believes food production will need to change substantially over the next several decades to meet the challenges of a changing climate, increased population, shifts in consumer demand, and necessary environmental regulations. Jackson's current research focuses on increasing the economic and environmental efficiency of agricultural inputs, particularly nitrogen, through the development of sensor-based fertigation methods and technologies. Fertigation provides growers the advantage of maximizing the functionality of their irrigation system and offers the opportunity for multiple in-season applications without increasing soil compaction. His goal is to bring adoptable and easily integrated fertigation technologies to growers.