USDA Announces $3 Million in Funding for Critical Agriculture Production Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today 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.

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.

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.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit