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Quantum Fields: Iowa Congressman Pushes For Quantum Tech in Agriculture

quantum agriculture

Insider Brief

  • Iowa Congressman Randy Feenstra said will be pushing to expand a 2018 law to promote agricultural uses for quantum.
  • He will push for agricultural applications to be specified when Congress discusses the reauthorization of the U.S.’s National Quantum Initiative in 2023.
  • Quantum technology could help farmers by creating new fertilizers, improved weather modeling and other use cases directly applicable to agriculture.

Among the crop of use cases for quantum computing, agricultural uses are often left at the bottom of the pile. An Iowa congressman is hoping to change that.

Iowa Congressman Randy Feenstra told Radio radio station KMA that he will be pushing to expand a 2018 law on promoting quantum tech to include agricultural applications for this emerging technology.

“This is the fastest computing apparatus that is in the world and we always talk about health care and we talk about financials and all of this other stuff that quantum computing can do,” Feenstra told the radio network. “And I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. When you look at quantum molecular simulations, you can start modeling with fertilizer, with input costs for agriculture.’”

According to Feenstra, quantum computing’s unique ability to process data faster than classical computers gives it the ability to improve farming.  Feenstra says it has the potential to expand battery storage and create more effective medications, as well as create the next generation of farm fertilizers.

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Fully realized quantum technologies could also improve field monitoring and provide more accurate weather forecasts.

He will push for agricultural applications to be specified when Congress debates the reauthorization of the U.S.’s National Quantum Initiative in 2023. The NQI, passed in 2018, provides a plan for advancing quantum technology, particularly quantum computing. The NQI, as well as other government programs, has spurred a rapid increase in Federal spending on quantum information science over the last two years.

Quantum technology has the potential to make American farms more productive and more efficient, Feenstra told KMA. It’s an opportunity to make sure farmers aren’t technologically left behind.

“I don’t want agriculture left behind when we start talking about the efficiency and effectiveness of quantum computing,” Feenstra says. “…The next generation, this is what it’s all about, is how we can be more efficient, more effective in what we can do on the farm and we can do that with quantum technology.”

Feenstra made his comments during an appearance on KMA earlier this month.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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