The United States of Department of Agriculture\'s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released the request for applications (RFA) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program. In fiscal year 2014, NIFA plans to award approximately $82 million to support the AFRI Foundational Program.
The AFRI Foundational Program addresses six priority areas 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 six priority areas include: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
The fiscal year 2014 RFA will feature two new programs intended to address critical and emerging issues. The Exploratory Research Program (ERP) addresses new challenges that in food security, climate change, environmental quality and natural resources, nutrition, obesity, food safety, strong families and vibrant communities, and thriving youth. The program seeks to find innovative ideas that will position U.S. agriculture at the global forefront. ERP grants will be funded up to $100,000 for one year. The Critical Agriculture Research and Extension (CARE) program seeks to address critical problems that continue to impede the efficient production and protection of plants and animals. Funded projects will quickly yield solutions or practices that can be rapidly implemented by producers. CARE will fund projects up to $150,000 for three years.
AFRI is NIFA\'s flagship competitive grants program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. NIFA anticipates the amount available for AFRI Program in fiscal year 2014 will be approximately $275 million. This amount is based on the temporary appropriations, which provide funds through January 15, 2014. Adjustments will be made to program allocations once the fiscal year 2014 appropriations are finalized. AFRI will make awards in four challenge areas: food safety, food security, childhood obesity prevention, and a new challenge area, water for agriculture. The AFRI challenge areas will continue to support societal challenge areas where research, education, and Extension can achieve significant and measurable outcomes. The NIFA Fellowships Grants program will also be offered again to provide opportunities for training and workforce development through pre and postdoctoral fellowships in the agricultural sciences.
All AFRI program information, including the RFAs, is available online. Visit www.nifa.usda.gov/afri for more information.