USDA announces $3M for critical ag research grants

Science developed from these grants will provide timely assistance and have an immediate impact for the agriculture community.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced nearly $3 million in grants to address critical issues affecting agriculturally-important plants and animals. The science developed from these grants will provide timely assistance and have an immediate impact for the agriculture community.

The awards were made under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's (AFRI) Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE) program, and addresses priority areas of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"It is essential to promote partnerships between researchers, extension experts, and producers to ensure the success of American agriculture," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "The CARE program is centered on the swift identification of problems, creation of solutions, and prevention of interruptions or issues that impact farmers' ability to provide a safe and abundant food supply for our nation."

Fiscal year 2014 is the first year NIFA has made awards under the CARE program. Examples of what these grants will focus on include a project from the University of Georgia that is researching disease management practices for blueberries, particularly addressing the currently unknown life cycle time of the damaging Exobasidium leaf and fruit spot disease.

An Extension project from Montana State University will be working directly with cattle producers to adopt sagebrush grazing techniques for their cattle that create a sustainable environment for the greater sage-grouse.

Fiscal Year 2014 grants include:

  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $149,399
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $149,580
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $149,925
  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, $149,884
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $149,995
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $149.988
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $149,655
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $149,899
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $149,924
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb., $148,203
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb., $148,209
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb., $150,000
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $150,000
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $149,800
  • Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa., $150,000
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $149,999
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, Tenn., $150,000
  • University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $141,807
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $149,837
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc., $149,992

AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grants program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. The AFRI Foundational Program addresses six priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge in fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences critical for solving current and future societal challenges. The six priority areas include: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.

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