USDA Invests $4.8 Million in University Agricultural Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 19 grants totaling $4,790,100 to support agricultural science programs at non-land-grant universities. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Our nation’s ability to achieve nutritional security in the context of the multitude of biological and environmental constraints will require continued new discoveries and a cadre of graduates who are prepared to enter the agricultural workforce,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in supporting transformative research and education at the more than 80 higher education institutions that offer strong agricultural sciences programs is critical.” Continue reading

USDA Announces $1.7 Million to Support Research at Tribal Colleges and Universities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $1.7 million in funding to build research capacity at land-grant tribal colleges and universities. Funding is made through NIFA’s Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP).

“1994 land-grant universities represent a critically important part of our nation’s construct of academic institutions providing the leadership to address nutritional security amongst tribal populations while protecting our environment and natural resources, and at the same time ensuring young people are receiving education that prepares them for the workforce,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. Continue reading

USDA Announces $2 Million in New Grants for STEM-related Teacher Professional Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $2 million in grants to train high-school educators to improve student outcomes in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences. These awards are made through NIFA’s Professional Development Opportunities for Secondary School Teachers (PD-STEP) program, the newest grant offering under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative program.

“Every professional in agricultural research remembers a teacher who inspired them,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Supporting talented educators who want to enhance their students’ learning is one of best ways to ensure our scientific workforce continues to have the skills and preparation needed to meet the demands of the future.” Continue reading

NIFA Announces $1.85 million for Potato Breeding Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $1.85 million in funding for regional potato breeding research to support the development of superior-performing varieties that can be brought to market as soon as possible. The United States is one of the top potato producers worldwide, and industry sales estimates topped $3.6 billion in 2015.

“Potatoes constitute a significant proportion of our diets, and there’s urgent need to continue to develop varieties with value-added traits, including a nutrient profile that promotes growth and development in children,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of NIFA. Continue reading

USDA Announces $18.9 Million Available to Support Agricultural Education at 1890s Land-grant Institutions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $18.9 million in funding for eligible 1890 land-grant colleges and universities to obtain or improve agricultural and food sciences facilities and equipment. The 1890 Facilities Grant Program helps the eligible institutions educate the future workforce in the food, agricultural and human sciences job sectors.

“This funding signals our ongoing commitment to create future leaders and skilled professionals in the field of agricultural innovation,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “By building adequate facilities we help 1890 land-grant universities and institutions sustain their programs in agriculture, food and human sciences.” Continue reading

USDA Invests $13.6 Million in Citrus Greening Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced four grants totaling more than $13.6 million to combat a scourge on the nation’s citrus industry, citrus greening disease, aka Huanglongbing. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The economic impact of citrus greening disease is measured in the billions,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in research are critical measures to help the citrus industry survive and thrive, and to encourage growers to replant with confidence.”  Continue reading

USDA Announces $5 Million in Funds for Smart Technology Innovations in Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of up to $5 million for research to strengthen the science behind the next generation of internet-connected agricultural implements and resources through the Cyber Physical Systems program. Funding for this program is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Data driven analytical tools throughout the food supply chain—from production through processing, transportation, and food storage—will allow us to make smarter decisions that can promote efficient food production, reduce food waste, and increase food safety,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These investments in cyber physical systems will improve efficiencies across the agricultural industry.” Continue reading