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NIFA seeks rapid response research proposals

NIFA seeks rapid response research proposals
Through AFRI, agency will invest up to $9 million for COVID-19-related research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced April 23 that it is investing to conduct research on the impact COVID-19 is having on American agriculture.

Last week, NIFA opened its request for applications on research or extension activities that focus on developing and deploying rapid, reliable and readily adoptable COVID-19 agricultural strategies across the food and agriculture enterprise.

Through the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, NIFA said it will invest up to $9 million for research in the following areas:

* Health and security of livestock;

* Food and food processing;

* Well-being of farm workforce, foodservice providers and rural Americans, and

* Economic security.

Applications for these research areas are due June 4, 2020.

“Keeping the agricultural workforce healthy and our nation’s food supply safe is a top priority for USDA,” NIFA director Scott Angle said. “The entire country depends on the jobs that these agricultural workers do, from farm to fork, to ensure a robust agricultural food supply. The systems that our agricultural workforce manages and the products they produce literally sustain both our bodies and our nation’s economy.”

NIFA is using an expedited solicitation, evaluation and grant-making process to quickly deploy funding for COVID-19 agricultural research. In turn, NIFA said it will only fund projects designed to swiftly fill knowledge and information gaps and to strengthen and support critical cross-cutting issues to protect the food and agriculture supply chain, livestock health and security and the safety of foods, as well as research projects that focus on the well-being of farm, foodservice providers and rural Americans.

“Every step must be rapid so we can use agricultural sciences to mitigate this crisis,” Angle said.

In response to the current pandemic, NIFA also has set a May 21 deadline for COVID-19 research proposals from all other areas in the wide-ranging AFRI request for applications. Additionally, NIFA has reopened its Small Business Innovation Research request for applications to search for COVID-19 solutions from small businesses.

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