06-02-16 USDA Awards More Than $14.5 Million to Support Plant Health and Resilience Research…

USDA Press Release

USDA Awards More Than $14.5 Million to Support Plant Health and Resilience Research

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience. 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).

“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. In the seven years since AFRI was established, the program has led to true innovations and ground-breaking discoveries in agriculture to combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability and enhance resiliency of our food systems, and ensure food safety.

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:

  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $483,700
  • University of California, Riverside, Calif., $500,000
  • 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
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $15,000 (conference)
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $499,990
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $498,310
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., $15,000

Descriptions of these projects are available on the NIFA reporting website.

Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants:

  • Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., $500,000
  • Chapman University, Orange, Calif., $69,178
  • Wichita State University, Wichita, Kan., $430,882
  • USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Miss., $500,000
  • 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
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $500,000
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $500,000

Descriptions of these projects are available on the NIFA reporting website.

Plant-Associated Insects and Nematodes:

  • University of California, Berkeley, Calif., $454,000
  • USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Athens, Ga., $480,000
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $468,527
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $385,100
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.C., $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)
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $499,500
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $454,000
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas, $150,000
  • 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)

Descriptions of these projects 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. In addition, AFRI programs help develop new technologies and a workforce that will advance our national security, our energy self-sufficiency, and the health of Americans. The President’s 2017 budget request purposes to fully fund AFRI for $700 million; this amount is the full funding level authorized by Congress when it established AFRI in the 2008 Farm Bill.

For more information on what a changing climate means to agriculture and how USDA is helping the agriculture and farming sectors mitigate and adapt to this challenge, visit USDA’s Medium entry, How Food and Forestry Are Adapting to a Changing Climate.

Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

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