announced the availability of over $136 million in funding for basic and applied agricultural research, as part of its “foundational program” within the Agriculture, Food, and Research Initiative (AFRI) – a federal competitive grants program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Since no Request For Applications (RFA) was released for this program last year, this year’s RFA includes a substantially larger pot of research funding, including over $19 million for research grants under AFRI’s Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities program area. This program area in particular, funds research that is especially relevant to sustainable agricultural systems, such as the sustainability of small and medium-sized farms, rural entrepreneurship, rural development, economics, and environment. There are several new priorities worth nothing in this program area, including research on:The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently
- the development of local and regional food systems,
- assessing the impact of immigration policies on the cost of farm labor,
- the economic impacts of local markets on food supply, and
- programs that assist beginning, small and medium-sized farms.