The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced five grants totaling more than $2.5 million for agricultural research that is funded jointly with national or state commodity boards. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Our collaboration with commodity boards helps the U.S. agriculture industry thrive,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “By responding to the needs of the U.S. agricultural sector, we are investing in research that will have a positive economic impact.”
In FY 2016, the first year of collaboration with national and state commodity boards, topics from five commodity boards were integrated into four program area priorities within two AFRI Requests for Applications (RFAs): Improving Food Safety, Critical Agricultural Research and Extension, and Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production in the Foundational Program RFA; and Breeding and Phenomics of Food Crops and Animals in the Food Security Challenge Area RFA. The commodity boards provided half of the funding for the award in their topic area. The projects include:
- The USDA Agricultural Research Service, Southern Region, received an NIFA grant of $489,804, funded jointly by the National Peanut Board, to investigate peanut and tree nut allergies.
- Oregon State University, Corvallis, received an NIFA grant of $294,000, funded jointly by the Washington State Potato Commission, to improve data management tracking of potato early dying disease.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, received an NIFA grant of $294,000, funded jointly by the National Peanut Board, to research drought tolerance in peanuts.
- Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, received a NIFA grant of $490,000, funded jointly with a consortia of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Nebraska Corn Board, and Kentucky Corn Promotion Council, to improve yield prediction models for next generation breeders.
- Kansas State University, Manhattan, received an NIFA grant of $980,000, funded jointly by the Kansas Wheat Commission, to improve selection protocols to accelerate wheat quality.
More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.
Commodity boards are organizations that promote, research, and share industry and consumer information on particular agricultural products, such as almonds, honey, lamb, and wheat. The 2014 Farm Bill enables commodity boards to submit topics for research supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. Topics must relate to established AFRI priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Once topics are approved, the resulting proposals are reviewed using NIFA’s established peer-review process.
NIFA welcomes commodity board topics that support AFRI priority areas throughout the year. To submit a topic for consideration for inclusion in an AFRI RFA in FY18, commodity board representatives should visit the NIFA Commodity Board web page for more information
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.