Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Graphic of various agricultural images. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

NIFA Celebrates National Ag Day

Nifa Authors
Margaret Lawrence, Writer-Editor

March 21 marks the 50th Anniversary of National Ag Day, which will be celebrated in communities and schools across the nation.  One of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) strategic objectives aligns closely with this year’s National Ag Day theme of “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.”

In its recently released NIFA 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, NIFA identified the need to bolster scientific research to enhance the nation’s resilience and response to climate change by embracing innovative and novel approaches as a key objective. 

“Climate change is posing an escalating threat to U.S. food and agriculture,” said Dr. Dionne Toombs, Acting NIFA Director. “But NIFA is working to address climate change by supporting research, Extension and education efforts that improve and expand climate-smart agriculture.”  

NIFA professionals are leading a coordinated, collaborative response to the vulnerabilities and impacts caused by a changing climate in coordination with its partners including Land-grant Institutions, non-land-grant colleges and universities as well as other organizations.  

Adapting to Change 

“The steps we and our stakeholders take in adapting to climate change can reduce its impacts,” said Toombs. “But it also creates new opportunities for mitigation, sustainable production and conservation. Our adaptation actions can improve economic opportunities, strengthen infrastructure and promote equity in rural and urban areas.” 

A critical part of NIFA’s work is supporting the research and development necessary to further climate adaptation. This work will lead to new tools, practices and technologies vital to transforming the agricultural sector of the future.  NIFA provides crucial funding through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences, as well as other competitive grants and capacity programs. 

How NIFA Is Addressing Climate Change   

  • Implemented the Bioproduct Pilot Program to support research studying the benefits of using materials derived from covered agricultural commodities to manufacture construction and consumer products. NIFA is funding three projects that will support the scale-up of bioproduct manufacturing in the U.S.    

  • In addition to reviewing all AFRI program area priorities to incorporate climate change-related language where applicable, NIFA also added two new climate-related program area priorities in the Fiscal Year 2023 AFRI Requests for Applications, one in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems program area that funds research into reducing enteric methane emissions from ruminants (A9221) and another in the Foundational and Applied Science program area focused on Environmental Justice (A1461). 

  • Released an updated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, outlining how NIFA will combat climate change and its threat to U.S. food and agriculture. Implementation is currently underway and includes program changes and attention to environmental justice.   

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products
Agriculture systems and technology
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment

Your feedback is important to us.

Take the Website Survey