USDA Announces $7.2 Million for Research on Plant-Biotic Interactions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 10 grants totaling $7.2 million for research on the interactions of plants, microbes, and invertebrates. This is the first round of grants awarded through the Plant-Biotic Interactions program, a joint funding opportunity established through a partnership between NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NIFA funding is made possible through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The research to be supported by these grants will help reveal the mechanisms that govern how plants interact with the world around them,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The expectation is that NIFA investments will result in tools for growers to help plants thrive in the face of pest and environmental constraints, along with other challenges.”  Continue reading

USDA Invests $7.6 Million for Research on Pests and Beneficial Species

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 21 grants totaling $7.6 million for research to help manage pests and beneficial species that affect agricultural crops. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“There continues to be a critical need to develop new ways to defend our crops against pests,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments will also help to develop better strategies to foster the beneficial insects and microbes that have potential to combat pests.” Continue reading

NIFA Announces $4.3 Million for Higher Education Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 20 grants totaling $4.3 million to help higher education institutions teach the next generation of food and agricultural science professionals. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program.

“NIFA invests in the development of future agricultural professionals,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA helps advance education of our nation’s agricultural workforce at our public and private colleges and universities.” Continue reading

USDA Invests $6.8 Million for Research and Extension Grants on Pollinator Health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced seven grants totaling $6.8 million for research and extension projects to 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.

“An estimated $15 billion worth of crops, including more than 90 fruits and vegetables, are pollinated by honey bees alone,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “With the recent declines in pollinator populations owing to various factors, it is imperative that we invest in research to promote pollinator health, reduce honey bee colony losses, and restore pollinator habitats.”  Continue reading

USDA Awards $4.8 Million to Support Critical Agricultural Research and Extension Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $4.8 million to support 17 research and extension grants that address critically important problems in U.S. agriculture. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“America’s agricultural systems are constantly exposed to biological and environmental threats,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These NIFA investments in user-inspired projects bring together researchers, extension experts, and practitioners to find solutions that can be rapidly adopted by the agricultural community.” Continue reading

USDA Invests $17.7 Million in Plant Health and Production Workforce

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 54 grants totaling more than $17.7 million for plant research that helps optimize crop production, mitigate disease, and increase yield. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Plants are the foundation of diet for both humans and animals,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “It is imperative to invest in research to stay ahead of the biological and environmental constraints, and develop new technologies to produce a secure, nutritious food supply for a growing population.” Continue reading

USDA Invests $17.5 Million for Resilient Rural Communities and a Sustainable Agriculture Economy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 47 grants totaling nearly $17.5 million to improve sustainable agriculture and help rural communities thrive. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“A number of factors are involved in achieving economic success in rural communities,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These NIFA investments will help us understand the social and behavioral factors that inform decision-making in agriculture, which can help rural communities thrive.” Continue reading