USDA announces investment of more than $146 million in sustainable agricultural research

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced an investment of more than $146 million in sustainable agricultural research projects aimed at improving a robust, resilient, and smart food and agriculture system. against the climate.

This investment is being made under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Sustainable Farming Systems program. This innovative program focuses on a broad base of needed research solutions ranging from addressing labor issues and promoting land stewardship to addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture and critical food and nutrition needs.

“The USDA is addressing the pressing challenges facing American agriculture and communities across our country. Critical issues such as food insecurity, drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention and market disruption require investments to help address these challenges. Now is the time for agriculture, forestry and rural communities to act. Together, we can lead the way with investments in science and research and climate-smart solutions that nurture and nurture families, improve producer profitability and resilience, improve forest health, while creating new income opportunities and creating wealth that stays in rural communities,” said Secretary Vilsack.

This investment is part of the third tranche of NIFA grants under its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Farming Systems Program designed to improve the production and sustainability of plants and animals, as well as human and environmental health. AFRI is the nation’s leading and largest competitive grant program for agricultural sciences. These grants are available to eligible colleges, universities and other research organizations.

“Investments in research projects like those awarded today will result in long-term improvements in farming practices that will benefit consumers, farmers and the environment,” said NIFA Director Dr Carrie. Castile. “An inclusive systems approach is needed to tackle these major issues. We are excited to see the impacts this investment in research will generate for our nation to move us forward toward solutions that benefit all Americans.

Here are some examples of the 15 projects funded under AFRI’s Sustainable Agriculture Systems Projects:

  • University of California researchers and their partners aim to mitigate overuse of groundwater and support irrigated agriculture in the Southwestern United States. They will develop innovative educational programs and new extension programs to support sustainable groundwater and irrigated agricultural systems, create models (geophysical, hydrological, biophysical and socio-economic), develop management strategies for adaptation to change climate change and will produce decision support tools. ($10 million)
  • University of Hawaii and partners will develop a model of healthy food systems for children and simulations to identify and test resilience factors in food supply chains to reduce food waste and increase food and nutrition security, diets healthy and children’s health. The work aims to prevent chronic disease in households and communities in the United States-affiliated Pacific Island area. ($10 million)
  • Central State University and its multidisciplinary team, in partnership with 1890 land-grant Historically Black Colleges and Universities, a 1994 Land-grant Tribal College, and 1862 Land-grant Universities, will investigate the use of hemp as an aquaculture feed ingredient to address issues of food safety related to the consumption of seafood raised with hemp-based food additives. They will also look for ways to increase economic markets and the sustainability of seafood and hemp production. ($10 million)
  • A Colby College The partnership project will compare and optimize algae-based feed additives for dairy cows and assess the impact at the animal, farm and community level. The project will include the development of integrated public awareness programs to improve milk production, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and recover nutrients. ($10 million)

Source: USDA

Lana T. Arthur