News & Events

USDA Soliciting Public Comments for Consideration in the FY13 and FY14 Development Cycles

Feb 3, 2012

February 2, 2012
In an effort to improve the quality of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has scheduled a public meeting for February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC and is soliciting public comments for consideration in the development of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 AFRI program solicitations and the FY 2014 Budget. AFRI is charged with funding research, education, and extension grants and integrated research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of National, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture, including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding.

For more details see the summary information below and refer to the February 1, 2012 USDA NIFA Federal Register Notice “Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative” posted at: Pleas.e note that public comments are due by March 22, 2012.

More information about NIFA is posted at: as well as information about the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at:
Any questions may be directed to Terri Joya at 202 401 1282; fax: 202 401 6488; e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Persons wishing to present oral comments at the Wednesday, February 22, 2012 meeting are requested to pre-register by contacting Ms. Terri Joya at (202) 401-1282, by fax at (202) 401-6488 or by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) . Participants may reserve one 5-minute comment period. More time may be available, depending on the number of people wishing to make a presentation and the time needed for questions following presentations. Reservations will be confirmed on a first- come, first-served basis. All other attendees may register at the meeting. Written comments may also be submitted for the record at the meeting. All comments must be received by close of business March 22, 2012, to be considered. All comments and the official transcript of the meeting, when they become available, may be reviewed on the NIFA Web page, , for six months. Participants who require a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations should contact Ms. Joya as directed above.

Additional Program-specific webinars will occur after the public meeting to obtain public comments for use in developing the following activities: Foundational priority areas; Childhood Obesity Prevention; Climate Change; Food Safety; Global Food Security; Sustainable Bioenergy; and NIFA Fellowships Grant Program. The date and time for each webinar will be posted to the following URL: .

Background and Purpose
Section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246) (i.e., the 2008 Farm Bill) amends subsection (b) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)) to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a new competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences. AFRI supersedes the National Research Initiative. AFRI Grants shall be awarded to address priorities in United States agriculture in the following areas: (A) Plant health and production and plant products; (B) Animal health and production and animal products; (C) Food safety, nutrition, and health; (D) Renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; (E) Agriculture systems and technology; and (F) Agriculture economics and rural communities.

To the maximum extent practicable, NIFA, in coordination with the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE), will make grants for high priority research, education, and extension, taking into consideration, when available, the determinations made by the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. The authority to carry out this program has been delegated to NIFA through the Undersecretary for REE.

The program authorizes grants for FY 2009-12, of which the Secretary may retain no more than 4 percent for administrative costs. Funds will be available for obligation for a two-year period beginning in the fiscal year for which funds are first made available. Grants will be awarded on the basis of merit, quality, and relevance and may have terms of up to 10 years.

Subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out the AFRI program, the Secretary may award grants to State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations or corporations; individuals; or any group consisting of two or more of the aforementioned entities. Please see the details in the Request for Applications.

NIFA is holding a public meeting to obtain comments to consider in developing the Fiscal Year 2013 solicitations for the AFRI competitive grants program. The meeting is open to the public. Written comments and suggestions on issues that may be considered in the meeting may be submitted to the NIFA Docket Clerk at the address above.