Nav: Home

USDA announces $15.6 million in grants to strengthen rural communities

May 04, 2016

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $15.6 million in grants to increase prosperity in rural America through research, education, and extension programs focused on promoting rural community development, economic growth, and sustainability. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

"Nearly 60 million Americans live in rural areas, and their value and impact through the agriculture industry can be felt both domestically and internationally," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "To help these communities remain prosperous and viable, we need to support discovery of new ways that promote economic viability among producers, small businesses, and communities in rural America."

Farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are the backbone for Americans everywhere, providing food, feed, fiber, fuels, and open spaces. However, rural areas and communities face many hardships. Nearly 85 percent of persistent poverty counties are located in rural areas and over six million rural Americans, including about 1.5 million children, live in poverty today. Funding from NIFA is expected to assist communities and regions in creating self-sustaining, long-term economic development through research and strategic planning.

The following projects have been selected for awards in each AFRI program:

Innovations for Rural Entrepreneurs and Communities:
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $499,966
  • University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $500,000
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $499,738
  • Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $149,974
  • North Carolina Central University, Durham, N.C., $417,942
  • Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas, $47,570
  • University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $494,110
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $498,212

Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities - Environment and Natural Resources:
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., $500,000
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., $499,995
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $498,434
  • University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $499,534
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $499,995
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $498,641
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., $49,000

Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities - Economics, Markets and Trade:
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., $482,831
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., $398,186
  • University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif., $474,132
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., $499,872
  • Albany State University, Albany, Ga., $499,386
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $498,396
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass., $499,990
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $462,829
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $499,990
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va., $402,416

NIFA also provided funds through the Small and Medium-sized Farm program. This program assists farmers and ranchers with management strategies and new technologies to improve the viability and competitiveness of small and medium-sized dairy, poultry, livestock, crop, forestry, and other commodity operations.

Small and Medium-Sized Farms:
  • Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala., $480,000
  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala., $480,000
  • Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., $479,880
  • Tufts University, Medford, Mass., $479,194
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $477,860
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $469,771
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., $478,342
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $479,751
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $479,995
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $425,000

The AFRI Foundational Program supports projects that sustain and enhance agricultural and related activities in rural areas and to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and alleviate poverty. Some of the issues covered include demographic changes and impacts in rural areas; consumer behavior; how markets are structured and perform; and agriculture's impact on the environment.

President Obama's 2017 budget request proposed to fully fund the AFRI program, doubling the amount that was available in 2016 to $700 million. Since its creation, AFRI has been funded at less than half the levels established in the 2008 Farm Bill, and USDA has only been able to fund one out of 10 research proposals presented. While grants awarded to universities, non-profits, community groups, businesses, foundations, associations, and federal agency and international partnerships have led to significant achievements that address critical issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and communities, thousands of innovative research proposals have been left unfunded.

Many of the awarded projects also align with USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinated efforts across the Department to support local and regional food systems. Under this administration, USDA has invested over $1 billion in more than 40,000 projects that are creating new economic opportunities in rural America, increasing access to healthy foods, and connecting urban and rural communities across the country.
-end-
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Related Agriculture Articles:

EU agriculture not viable for the future
The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen in the journal Science.
Global agriculture: Impending threats to biodiversity
A new study compares the effects of expansion vs. intensification of cropland use on global agricultural markets and biodiversity, and finds that the expansion strategy poses a particularly serious threat to biodiversity in the tropics.
A new vision for genomics in animal agriculture
Iowa State University animal scientists helped to form a blueprint to guide the next decade of animal genomics research.
New pathways for sustainable agriculture
Diversity beats monotony: a colourful patchwork of small, differently used plots can bring advantages to agriculture and nature.
The future of agriculture is computerized
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative have used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to improve basil plants' taste by maximizing the concentration of flavorful molecules known as volatile compounds.
More Agriculture News and Agriculture Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...