close up of alfalfa leaves weaver1234/iStock/Thinkstock.

USDA announces $1.9m for alfalfa, forage research

Alfalfa is a high-nutrition animal feed that also shows promise as source for bio-based materials and other renewable resources.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced March 30 the availability of $1.9 million in funding for research and development to improve the agricultural productivity, profitability and conservation of the U.S. alfalfa forage industry.

Funding is made through NIFA’s Alfalfa & Forage Research Program (AFRP).

“Alfalfa and other forage crops have great potential as high-value, sustainable crops,” NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy said. “These NIFA investments will help expand this potential into profit for agricultural producers.”

Alfalfa is a high-nutrition animal feed that also shows promise as a source for bio-based materials and other renewable resources. AFRP is an integrated, alfalfa-oriented research and extension program that supports collaborative research and technology transfer to improve overall agricultural productivity, profitability and conservation of natural resources through conventional and organic forage and seed production systems.

In fiscal 2017, AFRP will support the development of improved alfalfa forage and seed production systems, practices and supporting technologies.

NIFA is soliciting applications for fiscal 2017 to support projects that:

* Increase alfalfa forage and seed yields as well as forage quality through improved management practices, plant breeding and other strategies to reduce biotic and abiotic stresses and costs of production;

* Improve alfalfa forage and seed harvest and storage systems to optimize economic returns to alfalfa producers as well as end users, including milk producers;

* Develop methods to estimate alfalfa forage yield and quality, which would support marketing alfalfa forage as a livestock feed and also develop instruments to reduce producer risks, and

* Explore new uses for alfalfa such as fish feeds, nutritive supplements, high-value chemical manufacturing or other novel uses.

Eligible applicants include state agricultural experiment stations, colleges and universities, university research foundations, other research institutions and organizations, federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations and individuals who are U.S. citizens or nationals.

The deadline for applications is May 1.

See the request for applications for details.

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