The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of more than $16 million in funding to support research, education and Extension efforts to improve food production and increase food security, defined as regular access to affordable, nutritious food. NIFA is funding the grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security program.
"Agricultural production is inextricably linked to the health of our nation, and every American deserves access to safe, nutrient-rich food," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "This funding will increase food security by improving agricultural production systems at the regional and national levels and by encouraging diverse agricultural production."
The goal of the AFRI Food Security challenge area in 2015 is to develop more sustainable, productive, and economically viable plant and animal production systems. This program will also develop regionally-adapted crop cultivars and livestock breeds that contribute to rural economic development and prosperity while enhancing food security.
The fiscal year 2015 AFRI Food Security request for applications addresses four priorities of the 2014 Farm Bill to continue building a foundation of knowledge in fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences that are critical for solving current and future societal challenges. The four priority areas include: plant health, production, and products; animal health, production, and products; food safety, nutrition and health; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension work by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture. AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill and supports work in six priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) bioenergy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.