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USDA makes $1.85m available for alfalfa researchUSDA makes $1.85m available for alfalfa research

Alfalfa program supports integrated research to improve efficiency and sustainability of conventional and organic forage production.

February 12, 2016

2 Min Read
USDA makes $1.85m available for alfalfa research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Feb. 12 the availability of $1.85 million in funding for the Alfalfa Forage & Research Program (AFRP), which funds research and extension programs that improve alfalfa forage and seed yield and trains producers to apply best practices.

AFRP is administered by USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA).

"Research into critical agricultural science areas like this reach their full potential when coupled with extension activities. Applicants for these grants should keep in mind the importance of reaching out to producers and farmers to share information and apply research findings," NIFA director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy said. "Integrating these two important functions is how agricultural solutions move from the lab to the farm, and vice versa."

Alfalfa and other forage crops are essential to sustainable agricultural systems and are economic engines for rural communities, NIFA said. These crops are valued for their soil conservation, nitrogen fixation, energy savings, crop rotation and wildlife habitat attributes. However, to provide these societal benefits, the production of forage crops must be profitable to farmers so they will be willing to maintain or expand base acreage.

AFRP supports integrated, collaborative research and technology transfer to improve the efficiency and sustainability of conventional and organic forage production systems. The program encourages projects that establish multidisciplinary networks to address priority national or regional science needs of the alfalfa industry, NIFA said.

By bringing together expertise from multiple organizations and states, these projects will have greater impact and enhance the effectiveness of limited state, federal and industry resources.

The goals of AFRP are to improve alfalfa forage yield and seed yield through better nutrient, water and/or pest management, improve persistence of alfalfa stance by lessening biotic or abiotic stresses, improve alfalfa forage and seed harvesting and storage systems to optimize economic returns, improve estimate of alfalfa forage quality as an animal feed to increase forage usage in animal feeds and use breeding to address biotic and abiotic stresses that affect alfalfa forage yield and persistence and the production of seed for propagation.

Applications are due April 13. View the request for applications for specific program requirements.

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