U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced significant funding for sustainable agriculture research projects. More than $146 million is being invested under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. The investment is designed to help improve resiliency in the food supply chain and enhance the climate-smart food and agricultural system.
“USDA is tackling urgent challenges facing American agriculture and communities across our nation. Critical issues like food insecurity, drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention, and market disruption requires investments to help meet these challenges. This is the time for agriculture, forestry, and rural communities to act,” Secretary Vilsack said in a press release. “Together we can lead the way with investments in science and research and climate-smart solutions that feed and nourish families, improve the profitability and resilience of producers, improve forest health, while creating new income opportunities, and building wealth that stays in rural communities.”
A total of 15 sustainable agriculture projects are being funded through the effort. As part of one of the projects, researchers with UC Davis will be working with partners to address groundwater over-use through a $10 million grant. The project will also include the development of educational programs and Extension efforts to support sustainable groundwater management. Another project to be conducted by UC Merced will be working to develop a more climate-resilient approach to water management in agriculture. The project will be supported by a $10 million grant.
“Investments in research projects like these awarded today will result in long-term improvements in agricultural practices that will benefit consumers, farmers and the environment,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “It takes an inclusive systems approach to tackle these major issues. We are excited to see impacts this research investment will generate for our nation to move us towards solutions that benefit all Americans.”