NASA Harvest News
Led by Dr. Catherine Nakalembe in collaboration with the Swiss Re Foundation, SERVIR, and RCMRD, NASA Harvest partners are combating food insecurity in Kenya and beyond. These efforts rely on satellite imagery to identify agricultural fields to assist the country’s crop insurance program and future financial assistance programs. Traditionally, Kenyan government officials visit farms in person to collect crop condition data and determine the potential need for assistance — a task that consumed significant amounts of both time and labor. Dr. Nakalembe, NASA Harvest Africa Lead, explains that by instead utilizing satellite imagery to collect data on rainfall, soil moisture, and land use, the same officials can remotely monitor conditions offsite and spend more time distributing necessary aid. The above image, courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory, shows the “greenness” (NDVI) of the landscape throughout Kenya, a measurement that indicates whether vegetation is healthy versus where it is less vibrant due to potential drought or other disruptive conditions. Knowing which areas have distressed vegetation (e.g. crops) can dramatically reduce the amount of time agricultural agents have to spend traveling across the country. Already, the satellite identification of cropland in Kenya has lowered costs by 70%, which has permitted the Kenyan Agricultural Ministry to go from reaching 30,000 farmers in 2015 to 425,000 in 2019.
more details by visiting the NASA Applied Sciences website.
Stanford University partner, Dr. Jillian Deines, recently published her team's work validating satellite-derived crop yield estimates. The group used more than 1 million ground truth points and field maps, each spanning 10 years over the US corn belt for validation. They found that these satellite-based yield estimates were accurate and useful for informing management and filling in yield gaps.
NASA Harvest AI Lead, Dr. Hannah Kerner, is co-editing a new Research Topic in the journal AI in Food, Agriculture, and Water. The topic will focus on how AI can be combined with new data collection methods to improve monitoring and management of small-scale farms. Manuscript abstracts are due March 1, 2021.
NASA Harvest partners led by Dr. Shraddhanand Shukla at the UCSB Climate Hazards Center recently studied the relationship between the onset of rainy seasons in Sub-Saharan Africa with the potential for drought later in the year. They found that even a 10 day delay in the onset of the rainy season could double the chances of drought in affected areas.
6th Grain, an agricultural technology company that combines farmer-level information with EO data to improve agricultural decisions, are hosting a free public webinar Feb. 12. Led by NASA Harvest partner and 6th Grain Chief Science Officer Dr. Molly Brown, the webinar is focused on how 6th Grain uses EO data to support the agricultural value chain. Register today!
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Upcoming Events
NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program is holding training on the use of hyperspectral data to map vegetation across landscapes and in water environments. The training is free and registration can be done here. The trainings are split across three days (Jan 19, 26 & Feb 2 ) and cover processing and accessing hyperspectral data, as well as applications in land management, agriculture, wetland, coastal, and marine environments. If you missed the first sessions, materials and recordings are still available online!
The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) is hosting a webinar on CEOS Analysis Ready Data for Land (CARD4L) on Feb 1 and 2. It will cover an introduction to the CARD4L specifications for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors and provide use examples of CARD4L SAR products by the EO community, both public and private. To permit the greatest participation, the webinar will be repeated in two time slots 12 hours apart. Click here for more information and registration.
The lead of NASA Harvest's Africa Program, Dr. Catherine Nakalembe, will be presenting at the Wiley Science Talk: Global Food Security for the Next Decade on February 2, 2021. The talk will focus on the relationship between agricultural systems and food security and how agricultural research is spurring innovative programs to improve outcomes for smallholder farmers and reduce hunger. You can read more about the talk and register to attend here.
Digital Earth Africa will be hosting a webinar on Feb. 3 that will explore the challenges in broadening access to and increasing capacity development of EO data. The amount of EO data that is collected daily has risen sharply over the past several years, however the ability to access and utilize it has not seen a likewise increase. The webinar will introduce participants to the DE platform as well as share how it has been used to as a decision driver. More information and the registration form is available here.
6th Grain, an agricultural technology company that combines farmer-level information with EO data to improve agricultural decision making, will be hosting a public webinar on Feb 12 to highlight how they use remote sensing and meteorological data to support the agriculture value chain across the globe.
Those interested in attending should email 
demo@6grain.com and a Zoom link will be sent to you one week before the webinar.
IGARSS 2021 Symposium will focus on crossing the borders that exist between countries and research institutes; different collection platforms; data sources; and disciplines. In an attempt to increase accessibility, IGARSS has created an online platform that will run concurrently with the in-person events in Brussels. Abstract submissions are being accepted through Jan 25th. More info can be found here.