Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment

NIFA Programs Support Soil Health

“The soil is the great connector of lives […]. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” -Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

Trees Could Become Auto Parts as Research Moves Into Next Phase

Trees could be turned into auto parts that are lighter, stronger, and more environmentally friendly than the ones on the road now, as research based at Clemson University moves into its next phase.

Collaborating to Increase Educational Opportunities

The University of Texas at El Paso recently led a collaborative network of four regional universities to introduce students to the agricultural sciences. BGREEN was supported through the NIFA's Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program.

NIFA Grantee Gets the Golden Goose

What do mussels, soy, kitchen cabinets, and golden geese have in common? Just ask Oregon State University (OSU) wood chemist Kaichang Li. Since his days as an organic chemistry graduate student, Lee was interested in reducing the need for hazardous solvents. One day, Li was out crabbing at the beach, and noticed how mussels clung tightly to rough, unwashed surfaces. In 2001, Li received a NIFA grant to develop a soy-based wood glue that could mimic the marine adhesive proteins found in the tenacious mussels.

Budget-friendly Bioplastic

Bioplastics, which are made from vegetable fats, corn starch and other renewable sources, have great potential as sustainable packaging. Yet bioplastics are expensive to produce. New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Jiangnan University has revealed production methods that can improve its properties while overcoming obstacles to commercial manufacturing.

Little Shrub Could Make Big Impact to the Tire Industry

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and its consortium partners, Cornell University, Clemson University, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service produced several sets of concept passenger car tires in which all the natural and synthetic rubber is replaced by guayule natural rubber.

SPLAT Goes the Beetle

With USDA SBIR funding, ISCA Technologies introduced a highly effective pest control product that targets mountain pine beetles.

Super Sponge Removes Mercury from Water

With NIFA funding, researchers at the University of Minnesota (UMN) created a sponge that uses nanotechnology to absorb mercury from polluted water in seconds. NIFA originally published this impact in the 2017 Annual Report.

University of New Mexico-Taos Develops the Next Generation of Climate Change Scientists

Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources, and rural economies. These threats have significant implications not just for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, but for all Americans. Addressing climate change is a priority for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Happy Birthday NIFA: Celebrating seven years of research, education and extension milestones

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture celebrates the seventh anniversary of its establishment on Oct. 1. Replacing the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, NIFA was established by the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) to find innovative solutions to issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and communities. In the past seven years, NIFA-funded research has led to breakthrough discoveries in the areas of sustainable Ag production systems, education, environmental systems, family and consumer sciences, bioenergy, human nutrition, food safety, climate variability, youth development, and more.