The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has invested $14.5 million in two key programs awarded through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. NIFA awarded $8.6 million for 18 Economics, Markets and Trade projects, and $5.9 million for12 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics projects.
“These investments will help our nation better promote agricultural products and maximize export markets and opportunities,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “This research will help U.S. farmers provide a safe, nutritious, secure food supply, while enhancing rural prosperity and economic development.”
Some projects funded from the Economics, Markets and Trade grants priority area include: A University of Arizona study, “Using Field Level Soil Quality Data for Crop Insurance: A Big Data Simulation and Credibility Approach to Improve Crop Insurance Pricing and Agricultural Land Sustainability Practice,” will explore an improved crop insurance premium pricing method that uses soil information and big weather data to increase premium pricing accuracy. Tufts University’s “From Scarcity to Prosperity: Nutrition and Food Spending Goals and Constraints for Low-Income Americans,” will assess low-income consumers’ food aspirations and nutritional perspectives, and relax constraints to achieving healthy, affordable diets.
“Natural resources are critical to sustainable food, fiber, timber and bioenergy production,” Dr. Castille said. “Enhancing the relationship between farms and forestlands can improve the environment and provide ecosystem services that create carbon sequestration, clean air and water, recreation, and biodiversity.”
Some research funded from the Environmental and Natural Resource Economics priority area include: University of Arkansas’ project, “Performance Feedbacks and Peer Comparisons in Irrigation Management,” to help producers make more informed irrigation management decisions. Purdue University’s project, “A Retrospective Assessment of Conservation Cost Sharing`s Success in Controlling Invasive Plants in Nonindustrial Private Forests,” to assess the effectiveness of cost sharing in controlling invasive plants and improving environmental quality in private forests.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.