USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited South Dakota State University Wednesday to announce more than $75 million in grants for research, education and extension activities to ensure greater food security in the United States and around the world.
The awards were made to teams at 21 U.S. universities to conduct research that will find solutions to increasing food availability and decreasing the number of food insecure individuals.
"Millions of American households lack the resources to access sufficient food, and many of those, including our children, may go hungry at least once this year," Merrigan said. "The grants announced today will help policymakers and others better recognize the food and nutrition needs of low-income communities in our country, while improving the productivity of our nation's agriculture to meet those needs."
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture made the awards through the 2012 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's Food Security program. USDA says the program supports research that will keep American agriculture competitive while helping to end world hunger, and focuses on achieving the long-term outcomes of increasing domestic and international food availability and food accessibility.
This year's funded projects include research at South Dakota State University to examine community efforts to encourage healthy food choices and research at Purdue University to develop new strategies to defend against ear rot diseases in corn. Additionally, scientists at the University of Tennessee will identify ways to improve milk quality and enhance the sustainability of the Southeast dairy industry.
Fiscal year 2012 awards include: Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., $3,963,395; University of California, Berkeley, Calif., $3,997,212; University of California, Davis, Calif., $3,750,000; University of California, Riverside, Calif., $416,130; University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $26,000; University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $410,906; Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $5,349,650; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa $5,358,680; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $2,998,931; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $20,195; Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $5,500,000; University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $2,925,456; Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $2,989,032; Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $2,913,199; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., $3,997,207; University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $2,997,040; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $3,730,635; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $1,166,650; State University of New York, Buffalo, N.Y., $3,965,003; North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $3,971,568; Pennsylvania State University, University, Park, Pa., $420,000; South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $3,964,611; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $3,000,000; Texas AgriLife Research, College Station, Texas, $2,977,638; Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va., $1,141,005; Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $2,984,255; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $33,400; and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Fort Pierce, Fla., $419,631.
AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grants program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. The five AFRI Challenge Areas—food safety, global food security, childhood obesity prevention, sustainable bioenergy and climate adaptation—advance fundamental sciences.