The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $16.5 million in research grants to universities that are pursuing methods of boosting agriculture productivity and ensuring food security in the face of pests, diseases, and a changing climate.
USDA is also seeking applications for the next round of projects, which will focus on pollinator health and plant and animal phenomics. The grants are made available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and are administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
In the seven years since AFRI was established, the program has led to true innovations and ground-breaking discoveries in agriculture. Rounding projects have helped to directly combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase the security and safety of our food supply, find new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability, and enhance resiliency of our food systems.
“In the face of diminishing land and water resources and increasingly variable climatic conditions, food production must increase to meet the demands of a world population projected to pass 9 billion by 2050,” said Vilsack. “Funding in research to respond to these challenges should be considered as an investment in our nation’s future, an investment which will pay big dividends in the years to come.”
These awards are part of the AFRI Food Security Challenge Area, which is responsible for funding projects that focus on increasing agricultural productivity and food availability. Since 2010, NIFA has awarded more than $219 million to the AFRI Food Security Challenge Area.
Fiscal year 2015 grants include:
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo., $50,000
University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $2,397,840
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $500,000
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $10,000
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $120,000
University of Maryland, College Park, Md., $2,397,840
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $2,327,840
University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $2,000,000
North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $50,000
North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $2,147,839
South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $2,382,840
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $150,000
Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $40,000
Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $2,000,000