This week, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Representative Andrea Salinas (D-OR) introduced a bipartisan bill to strengthen a longstanding interagency research partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

H.R. 8613, the NSF and USDA Interagency Research Act, authorizes the NSF and USDA to carry out cross-cutting and collaborative research and development to enhance agricultural sustainability through advanced technological solutions. By merging NSF's research infrastructure and technology development tools with USDA's expertise in agricultural sciences and farmer engagement, the agencies can generate innovative solutions to maintain the vitality and security of our domestic food supply.

“As a farmer and a rancher, I appreciate how science can help us optimize our limited resources to improve crop yields,” Lucas said. “The National Science Foundation will be pivotal in leveraging emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and automation, to revolutionize farming practices and ensure a prosperous agricultural future. This partnership exemplifies how federal agencies can work together to drive innovation and address critical challenges that face our agricultural sector.”

 “As we continue to face worsening wildfires and extreme weather, Oregon farmers and growers deserve the latest technology to stay profitable and adapt to our changing climate,” said Rep. Salinas. “This bill empowers the National Science Foundation and Department of Agriculture to collaborate on research, development, and educational activities related to agriculture. As a result, it would support our rural communities by developing agricultural-based science curricula for our schools and ensuring local producers can utilize and benefit from emerging technologies like AI. I thank Chair Lucas for his partnership on this legislation and look forward to championing it in Congress.”