USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Organic Agricultural Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $3.8 million in available funding to address critical issues related to organic agriculture. Funding is made through NIFA’s Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants – Organic Transitions (ORG) program.

The ORG program supports the development and implementation of research, extension, and education programs that enhance organic livestock and crop production. Organic agricultural systems provide many ecosystem services, and natural resources stewardship is a key principle in organic farming. Continue reading

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in the Safety, Health of Farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for projects that strengthen food and agricultural science education in insular areas of the United States. Funding is made through three NIFA programs:

  • Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas (RIIA), which work to strengthen institutional educational capacities in instruction and curriculum within a broadly defined arena of food and agricultural sciences-related disciplines,
  • Distance Education Grants (DEG) for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas, which support projects to improve formal, post-secondary agricultural sciences education through distance education technology, and
  • Agriculture and Food Sciences Facilities and Equipment (AGFEI) program, which supports the construction or upgrade of agriculture and food science facilities and equipment necessary to conduct tropical and subtropical agricultural research.

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Partnership as a Verb

By Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Merriam-Webster defines partnership as a noun: The state or condition of being a partner.

I define partnership as a verb: To join or associate with another to create outcomes. Continue reading

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces up to $8.6 Million in Available Funding for Community Food Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced up to $8.6 million in available funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and self-reliant food systems. This funding is available through NIFA’s Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Community food projects enable low-income communities to address food insecurity and hunger by creating and strengthening local food systems,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Recent USDA data shows that because of programs like this, we are making progress addressing food shortages, decreasing food insecurity and promoting healthy diets and nutrition education.” Continue reading

USDA Awards $16 Million for Research into Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production Methods

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded $16.5 million in grants to support research into methods for boosting agriculture productivity and ensuring food security in the face of pests, diseases and a changing climate. In addition, USDA announced that it is seeking applications for the next round of projects, which will focus on pollinator health and plant and animal phenomics. The grants are made available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).   Continue reading

USDA Announces $5.2 Million For Nanotechnology Research

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced an investment of more than $5.2 million to support nanotechnology research at 11 universities. The universities will research ways nanotechnology can be used to improve food safety, enhance renewable fuels, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests, and more. The awards were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s premier competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences. Continue reading

U.S. Agriculture Officials to Address Critical Plant Pest and Disease Detection

Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, Plant Protection and Quarantine Division, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will be key speakers at the National Meeting of the USDA’s National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) in Arlington, Va. The conference is a gathering of scientists who monitor the introduction and occurrence of insects, nematodes and pathogens of plants across the United States. The network is funded in part by a $6.7 million grant through the USDA/NIFA Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative, which aims to improve on early detection and rapid response to pest outbreaks that can adversely impact our nation’s food crops and agricultural economy. Continue reading