USDA awards $14.5 million in AFRI grants

USDA awards $14.5 million in AFRI grants

Grants awarded in Plant Health and Production and Plant Products area.

USDA awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience on June 2. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

USDA awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience on June 2. (Photo: Moodboard/Thinkstock)

"As global temperatures rise, we are already seeing that our crops and native plants are increasingly threatened by pests, diseases and invasive species," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Research into growing more resilient, stress tolerant crops that use water and nutrients more efficiently will offer farmers new tools to produce crops sustainably, and will benefit consumers with food security in the face of climate change and the loss of agricultural land."

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.

The grants were awarded through AFRI's Plant Health and Production and Plant Products (PHPPP) area, which supports basic and applied research in the following areas: understanding plant-associated microorganisms and plant-microbe interactions; controlling weedy and invasive plants; and plant-associated insects and nematodes.

Understanding Plant-Associated Microorganisms and Plant-Microbe Interactions:

-USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo., $472,400
-University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $499,830
-University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., $499,938
-Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $500,000
-North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $150,000
-Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $499,980
-Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $499,970
-Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $498,780
-Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., $15,000
A full list of projects funded and project descriptions are available on the NIFA reporting website.

Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants:

-Wichita State University, Wichita, Kan., $430,882
-Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $158,744
-Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $272,078
-Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $500,000
-Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $500,000
-University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $500,000
A full list of projects funded and project descriptions are available on the NIFA reporting website.

Plant-Associated Insects and Nematodes:

-Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $385,100
-University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., $149,800
-North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $133,000
-Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, N.Y., $379,000
-New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., $499,900
-Gordon Research Conference, West Kingston, R.I., $15,000 (conference)
-Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., $500,000
-University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $485,000
-USDA Forest Service, Madison, Wisc., $15,000 (conference)
A full list of projects funded and project descriptions are available on the NIFA reporting website.

To date, PHPPP has awarded more than $68 million to further progress and solve challenges in plant production through research, education, and extension. For example, University of Pennsylvania researchers are currently using funding to working to aid the pollination of plants by producing improved honey bee strains.

Science funded by AFRI is vital to meeting food, fiber, and fuel demands as the world's population is projected to exceed nine billion by 2050 and natural resources are stressed under a changing climate.

Source: USDA

TAGS: USDA
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