The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced 40 grants totaling more than $15.7 million for agricultural research on the production of beef, dairy, poultry, pork, and fish that people consume every day. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“To ensure a healthy and safe food supply, we need innovations,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments help foster the discovery and translation of new knowledge into science-based management practices to help America’s agricultural enterprises thrive and meet growing consumer demand.”
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI Foundational program supports research in several priority areas, including animal breeding, reproduction, nutrition, and growth. These grants help improve the quality and efficiency of animal production in a variety of ways, such as through the creation of genetic databases, enhanced breeding methods, and research on the cellular, molecular, genetic, or whole-animal aspects of reproduction, nutrition, growth, and lactation.
The fiscal year 2016 grants include those listed below. More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.
Tools and Resources – Animal Breeding, Genetics and Genomics
- Auburn University, Auburn University, Alabama, $500,000
- University of California, Davis, California, $460,000
- University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, $500,000
- Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, $420,000
- University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $500,000
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, $500,000
- Gordon Research Conferences, West Kingston, Rhode Island, $25,000
- Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, Texas, $25,000
- Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, $465,000
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $480,000
- Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, $460,000
- Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, $150,000
- University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, $480,000
- University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, $5,000
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, $465,000
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, $480,000
- University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, $480,000
- Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $480,000
- Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, $460,000
- Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, $480,000
- The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, $370,000
- Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $480,000
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $480,000
Animal Nutrition, Growth and Lactation
- University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $489,800
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $467,500
- University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, $499,626
- University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, $28,000
- Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, $483,000
- Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, $483,500
- University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, $484,000
- University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, Maryland, $148,422
- University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, $481,000
- North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, $150,000
- Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $484,000
- Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $484,000
- The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $484,000
- Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas, $150,000
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $500,000
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $484,000
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $337,500
Among these FY16 projects, a grant to Cornell University will investigate how microRNA molecules help regulate genes involved in milk production in dairy cows.
Past grants include a University of Maine project that may help bolster the New England salmon farming industry, which has declined substantially since 2000, primarily due to a 35 percent decrease in fertilized egg survival. The research is documenting reproductive hormone patterns of North American Atlantic salmon and collecting tissue samples for future studies on embryo mortality. Another project by Recombinetics, Inc., is developing genome editing tools for simultaneously altering multiple genes to improve livestock breeding. The resulting data may help decision-makers gauge the safety and efficacy of these gene editing tools in food animal production.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results 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.