The federal government is investing $146 million in sustainable agriculture research across the country. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced 15 grants, most totaling $10 million over five years, for projects that range from food systems resiliency for children’s health based at the University of Hawaii to creating scalable algae production to use as a cattle feed additive, a project based at Colby College in Maine.
Other recipients include Ohio’s historically black land grant university, Central State, in partnership with a 1994 Tribal College and other land grant schools to research hemp as feedstock for aquaculture, and the University of California, Merced, a Hispanic-serving institution. Joshua Viers, the lead principal investigator for UC Merced’s project, said the partnership with Utah State University, New Mexico State University, other UC campuses and additional partners will focus “mainly on securing a climate resilient water future” in the West.
“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,” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
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The five-year grants mark the third installment of the Sustainable Agricultural Systems program, which funds interdisciplinary research aimed at increasing sustainability in plant and animal production and improving human and environmental health.
“It takes an inclusive systems approach to tackle these major issues,” NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille said in the statement. “We are excited to see impacts this research investment will generate for our nation to move us towards solutions that benefit all Americans.”
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