The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrated National Ag Day by investing $11.5 million in research to help ensure America’s small and medium-sized farming operations remain viable and improve the quality of life in American farm communities.
“Few groups are as resilient and as determined as American farm families,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is committed to creating a fairer, more equitable system for farms of all sizes to compete and remain profitable. This investment in innovative research will give these family farms the tools they need to be more sustainable, profitable, and productive as they face agricultural and economic challenges. When American farmers have a chance to compete, they have a greater chance at succeeding.”
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded 24 grants to 20 universities and organizations through their Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This is the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. These research efforts focus on alternative crop enterprises, marketing, and scaling up fruit and vegetable production to overcome marketing constraints.
Some of the southeastern universities that received NIFA grants include:
• Auburn University, Auburn University, Alabama: “Challenges and Opportunities for Beginning Small and Medium-Sized Producers in the Southeast” ($500,000)
• Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama: “An Integrated Approach to Improve the Profitability and Viability of Small and Limited Resource Farmers in Rural Counties” ($500,000)
• University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida: “Changing Labor Markets and Labor Risk Management: Decision-making Tools for Small- and Medium-Sized Farms” ($499,660)
• University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia: “Exploring the Future of Family Forestlands under Female Ownership for the Sustainability of Forest Resources in Georgia” ($499,827); “Documenting Challenges, Identifying Solutions, and Developing Decision Support Tools for Small and Medium-sized Forest Businesses” ($496,704)
• Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: “Increasing the Adoption of Technology and Enhancing Sustainability of Small Beef Cattle Farms” ($500,000)
• Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee: “Enhancing opportunities for land access and transfer for Tennessee’s young and beginning farmers” ($499,991); “Managing Breed Resources to Improve Productivity and Profitability in Meat Goats” ($496,703); “Establishing Animal Health and Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs to Maximize Profitability of Small-Scale Ruminant Production Systems” ($464,816)
• University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin: “The Relationship between Farm Size and Farmer Opportunities to Profit from Natural Resources on their Land” ($473,756)
Learn more about the impact and public value of NIFA’s research investments online at nifa.usda.gov/impacts.