USDA announced the availability of $21 million to support the development of regional systems in sustainable bioenergy and biobased products, as well as education and training for the next generation of scientists that will expand availability of renewable, sustainable goods and energy. This funding is available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
"This announcement marks the Obama Administration's latest investment in the biobased economy, which pumps $369 billion into the U.S. economy each year and supports 4 million jobs in rural and small towns across the United States," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today's investment into regional production systems and the development of our next generation of scientists will have a direct impact on local economies now and set us up for a brighter, more innovative future."
Established by the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, AFRI is the nation's premier competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences. This round of funding is offered through the AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts challenge area, which creates or sustains jobs by enhancing existing food and fiber production systems, boosts ecosystems by reducing greenhouse gases and improving water and habitat quality, and provides renewable energy, chemical, and product options.
In fiscal year 2016, the Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts challenge area is soliciting applications that focus on the following priorities:
-Regional Bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs), which support the production and delivery of regionally-appropriate sustainable biomass feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproducts. While the focus of CAPs will be on feedstocks, competitive proposals must present the feedstock development and production in the context of comprehensive regional sustainable bioenergy and bioproducts supply chain systems.
-Investing in America's scientific corps: Preparing a new generation of students, faculty, and a workforce for emerging opportunities in bioenergy, bioproducts, and the bioeconomy.
To date, more than $237.2 million in research, education and extension grants have been awarded through AFRI's Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area.
Application deadlines vary by program area. See the request for applications for more information.