The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $1.9 million in funding for research and development to improve the agricultural productivity, profitability, and conservation of the U.S. alfalfa forage industry. Funding is made through NIFA’s Alfalfa and Forage Research Program (AFRP).
“Alfalfa and other forage crops have great potential as high-value, sustainable crops,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These NIFA investments will help expand this potential into profit for agricultural producers.”
Alfalfa is a high-nutrition animal feed that also shows promise as a source for biobased materials and other renewable resources. AFRP is an integrated alfalfa-oriented research and extension program that supports collaborative research and technology transfer to improve overall agricultural productivity, profitability, and conservation of natural resources through conventional and organic forage and seed production systems. In FY 2017, AFRP will support the development of improved alfalfa forage and seed production systems, practices, and supporting technologies. NIFA is soliciting applications for the FY 2017 to support projects that:
- increase alfalfa forage and seed yields as well as forage quality through improved management practices, plant breeding, and other strategies to reduce biotic and abiotic stresses and costs of production.
- improve alfalfa forage and seed harvest and storage systems to optimize economic returns to alfalfa producers as well as end-users, including milk producers.
- develop methods to estimate alfalfa forage yield and quality, which would support marketing alfalfa forage as a livestock feed, and also develop instruments to reduce producer risks.
- explore new uses for alfalfa such as fish feeds, nutritive supplements, high-value chemical manufacturing, or other novel uses.
Eligible applicants include state agricultural experiment stations, colleges and universities, university research foundations, other research institutions and organizations, federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals who are United States citizens or nationals.
The deadline for applications is May 1, 2017.
See the request for applications for details.
Previously funded projects include a University of Wisconsin project to validate a new lab method to measure how well dairy cattle digest forages. A Washington State University project investigated pesticide resistance in the Lygus bug, which is infesting fields of western U.S. alfalfa.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. 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.