USDA-NIFA to Invest in Specialty Crop Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced Fiscal Year 2018 funding for research and extension activities to enhance productivity, safety, and innovation in the specialty crop industry. Funding is made through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“To be competitive in a global market, U.S. specialty crop producers need to use sophisticated technologies and prudent practices,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These NIFA investments support large-scale systems projects that we expect will result in knowledge, which can promote efficient and effective production, processing, and distribution practices, along with long-term solutions to specialty crop industry challenges.” Continue reading

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas:

  • Research in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, and other methods to improve crop characteristics
  • Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators
  • Efforts to improve production efficiency, handling and processing, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing)
  • New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening
  • Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production efficiency,handling and processing of specialty crops.

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FY 2018 Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Request for Pre-Application (RFA) is now available

The FY 2018 Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Request for Pre-Application (RFA) is now available for public viewing.

NIFA Funding Opportunity Page: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/specialty-crop-research-initiative-scri.

Grants.gov Page: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=297651. This page includes a synopsis of the funding opportunity, a link to the full announcement (RFPA) and the application package.

NIFA Invests $35 Million in Specialty Crop Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 12 new grants totaling $35 million for science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry.  Funding is made through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Specialty crops generally fetch high value for the farmers, but require more intensive farming than conventional crops, such as wheat or corn,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors. They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe and affordable food sources.” Continue reading

Citrus Disease Research and Extension (CDRE)

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE) is authorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) to award grants to eligible entities to conduct research and extension activities, technical assistance and development activities to: (a) combat citrus diseases and pests, both domestic and invasive and including huanglongbing and the Asian citrus psyllid, which pose imminent harm to United States citrus production and threaten the future viability of the citrus industry; and (b) provide support for the dissemination and commercialization of relevant information, techniques, and technologies discovered pursuant to research and extension activities funded through SCRI/CDRE and other research and extension projects targeting problems caused by citrus production diseases and invasive pests. Continue reading

National specialty crop project explores new possibilities for grafted tomato and cucurbit plants

Five years ago, a North Carolina State University-led specialty crop project helped several U.S. growers use grafted tomato plants to return land plagued by bacterial wilt to production. The project paired needy growers with companies such as Ontario Plant Propagators that supplied grafted plants. Now NC State researchers are leading a new project that promises to find ways that grafted plants can give growers more choices to manage diseases and add value to their cucurbit and tomato crops. Continue reading

NIFA Announces up to $48.1 Million in Funding Available for Specialty Crop Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released details on up to $48.1 million in available funding to support systems-based research and extension activities to accelerate science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grants yesterday at the New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. The grants are to be funded through NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).

“The Specialty Crop Research Initiative offers strategic investments to help bring specialty crops to market,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “By using this approach, we encourage stakeholders to work together to address problem-solving in a comprehensive way that leads to sustainable, positive outcomes and impacts.” Continue reading