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USDA Awards $11 Million for Applied Plant Genomics Research, Education and Extension

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2009 – Agriculture Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Rajiv Shah today announced more than $11 million in Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) awards to significantly advance research, education and extension in applied plant genomics.

"CAP grants represent an investment in improving the human condition,” Shah said. "These research dollars yield the best returns because we are focusing on the areas we know advances have a high likelihood for real impact.”

North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., will receive a $4 million CAP award to focus on legume genetics and genomics, specifically on the health and nutritional aspects of this important food crop.  Applications of this project could lead to legume varieties with higher nutritional values.  Because humans consume more legumes than any other crop, this research has the potential to reduce cholesterol and sugar levels, which in turn can prevent or alleviate certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  The North Dakota team will also develop an online learning community teaching consumers about nutritional genetics and genomics and how healthy foods move from the field to the table.

Additional CAP awards to Michigan State University, East Lansing; the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; and the University of California-Davis will link together expertise from USDA, public institutions, private institutions and industry to significantly advance research, education and extension in tomato, potato, barley and tree breeding programs.

CAP awards combine significant funding over time and across institutions to support discovery and applications and promote communication leading to innovative science-based solutions to critical and emerging national priorities and needs.  These grants are awarded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), previously the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, under the new Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences.  

Award amounts are:

  • University of California, Davis, Calif., $2,500,000
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $3,750,000
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., $955,000
  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $4,000,000


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit


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