Reps. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, and Haley Stevens, D-Mich., have introduced new legislation that aims to apply the power of quantum computing to assist the agriculture industry and streamline fertilizer production.

The Quantum in Practice Act would introduce quantum molecular simulations and modeling to allow experts to study fertilizer chemical elements and reactions with accuracy.

“From fertilizer production to materials manufacturing, quantum computing has the untapped potential to lower input costs for our farmers, improve energy storage, and produce more effective medications for patients,” Rep. Feenstra said in a press release.

“I’m proud to introduce the Quantum in Practice Act to ensure that our main streets, farmers, and small businesses can realize the real benefits of quantum computing, not just in theory, but in practice,” he added. “Thanks to scientific ingenuity, there is boundless opportunity for our rural communities to harness the power of quantum computing to strengthen our agricultural sector, streamline fertilizer production, and enhance our way of life in the 4th District.”

Rep. Feenstra originally introduced a version of this bill in 2022. According to the press release, quantum computing can model the nitrogen fixation process utilized by bacteria, which could be used to develop cheaper, next-generation synthetic fertilizers.

In addition to assisting the agriculture industry with streamlining fertilizer production, the members of Congress said potential scientific discoveries could also help produce safer medicines, energy storage, new metals, protective gear, and superconductors.

Original cosponsors of the legislation include: House Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Reps. Young Kim, R-Calif., Jake Ellzey, R-Texas, Rick Crawford, R-Ark., Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Rudy Yakym, R-Ind., Brandon Williams, R-N.Y., Tom Kean, R-N.J., Joseph Neguse, D-Colo., and Jeff Jackson, D-N.C.

Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“Quantum simulations are able to model interactions at the sub-molecular level and create a cost-effective alternative to the expensive development of new fertilizers, medications, protective equipment, and more,” said Sen. Young.

“As we secure our competitive advantage in the 21st?century, we must support the cutting-edge research that will revolutionize Indiana’s agriculture and pharmaceutical industries,” he added. “The Quantum in Practice Act would help ensure that American researchers and industries can pursue practical applications to advance quantum technologies.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.