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NIFA Releases Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Synopsis for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

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

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2010 – USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today released the first Annual Synopsis for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program, which awarded more than $176 million in 470 research, education and extension grants in fiscal year 2009.

“USDA’s commitment to addressing today’s challenges, such as climate change, obesity and bioenergy, is evident in the high quality work funded through AFRI,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. “AFRI grants supported several impressive projects in 2009, and we are working hard to ensure these grants have the biggest possible impact this year.”

Fiscal year 2009 was the first year that NIFA administered the AFRI program, which was created by the 2008 Farm Bill. In the first year, AFRI solicited competitive grant applications in 40 programs addressing the areas of plant and animal health and production, plant and animal products, food safety, nutrition and health, renewable energy, natural resources and environment, agricultural systems and technology, and agricultural economics and rural communities.

More than 2,000 competitive grant applications were received and reviewed through a competitive peer review process comprised of more than 500 subject matter experts from across the country.

The 1890 land-grant universities had their largest individual success in the AFRI program when Southern University won a $1 million grant for food safety research related to E. coli.  Other grants to 1890 institutions totaled nearly $260,000 and faculty from these universities made up 5.4 percent of AFRI’s competitive review panels.

Twenty-seven grants were made to new investigators receiving their first federal grant and 13 postdoctoral fellowships. Thirty percent of grants made were for integrated projects that combined research, education and extension components.

For additional FY 2009 funding highlights, please view the full report.

In March 2010, NIFA released the fiscal year 2010 AFRI request for applications, which made available $262 million that will address five societal issues: global hunger and food security, childhood obesity, food safety, climate change, and sustainable energy. More information is available online at

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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