NIFA Invests $15.4 Million in Sustainable Agroecosystems: Functions, Processes and Management

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently awarded 35 Sustainable Agroecosytems grants that will improve the sustainable management of agro-ecosystems (agricultural, forest and range) while maintaining or improving the supporting natural resources and ecosystem services. The funded research will improve our understanding of the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes that determine the health and quality of soil, water and air resources, and how these respond to natural and human based changes and management. Other research will provide science-based information that integrates the complex interactions between natural processes and management practices, and that is needed to make decisions to support agricultural production, including bioenergy and biobased product feedstocks, maintain or improve ecosystem services, and avoid critical thresholds of irreversible damage or loss to our natural resource base. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

NIFA Invests $7 Million to Improve Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently awarded 22 Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production grants that will advance development of publicly available cultivars bred to improve the production efficiency, yield, sustainability, resilience, healthfulness, product quality, and value of U.S. agricultural plants while increasing farmer profitability and exports. The awards include both classical and genomics-enabled plant breeding research focused on pre-breeding and germplasm enhancement, cultivar development, selection theory, and applied genetics. Further, NIFA and the National Peanut Board will co-fund three of these awards, taking advantage of a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill that encourages these types of public-private research partnerships. More information about NIFA’s commodity boards program is available on the NIFA website. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative EDEN RFA available

The FY 2018 Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative: Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Request for Application (RFA) is now available. This funding provides for national coordination of EDEN for outreach service to enhance biosecurity of the U.S. agriculture and food system.  You may find this funding opportunity on the NIFA website or Grants.gov. This is a cooperative agreement for approximately $383,000 annually for four years based on the availability of funding and progress reports. The deadline for applications is July 26, 2018. Please share this announcement widely within your networks.    Continue reading

USDA, NIFA Announce Investments in Pollinator Health Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 14 grants totaling approximately $10 million for research to help sustain healthy populations of pollinators, which are crucial to the nation’s food security and environmental health. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“One-third of all U.S. crop production requires pollination by animals – primarily honey bees, but also wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles and bats,” said Acting NIFA Director Tom Shanower. “Recent declines in both managed and wild pollinators are of paramount importance to our nation’s food security and the vitality of natural resources.”  Continue reading

Nominations for the 2018 Justin Smith Morrill Lecture

Each year the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) joins with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to sponsor a lecture presented at the APLU Annual Meeting. The lecture honors one of the three most important historical figures of the Land-grant University system, William Henry Hatch for research, Seaman A. Knapp for extension, and Justin Smith Morrill for whom the Morrill Act which created the Land-grant University system is named.

NIFA and APLU are seeking nominations to honor Justin Smith Morrill – the U.S. Senator primarily responsible for enactment of the historic legislation establishing the land-grant university system. The Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Lectureship is awarded to honor outstanding contemporary leadership in teaching and significant contributions as an educator. Continue reading

Comparative Genomics Research Program

The purpose of this Notice is to inform potential applicants that the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is participating, effective immediately, in PAR-17-482 “Comparative Genomics Research Program”. NIFA invites application for research developing comparative approaches that can be used to understand genome structure and function and the relationship between genomic features and phenotypes. NIFA will support studies that enable the use of a diverse array of species to advance our ability to improve genome annotations that complements Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FANNG) efforts or understand basic biological processes related to health and disease of agriculturally important animals, as well as studies that develop novel analytical tools and resources for the comparative genomics research community. Continue reading

Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding Under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program

A Federal Register Notice entitled “Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding Under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program” was published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2018.

NIFA is soliciting topics from eligible commodity board entities (Federal and State- level commodity boards, as defined below) that the entities are willing to co-fund equally with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program Requests for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the established priority areas of AFRI. Continue reading