USDA Announces $21 Million Available For Bioeconomy Research and Development
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $21 million to support the development of regional systems in sustainable bioenergy and biobased products, as well as education and training for the next generation of scientists that will expand availability of renewable, sustainable goods and energy. This funding is available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
"This announcement marks the Obama Administration's latest investment in the biobased economy, which pumps $369 billion into the U.S. economy each year and supports 4 million jobs in rural and small towns across the United States. Over the course of this Administration, America has more than doubled our renewable energy production, and today we import less than half our oil. We are saving money at the pump, bolstering national security by relying less on foreign oil, and combatting climate change with investments in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide for cleaner air," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today's investment into regional production systems and the development of our next generation of scientists will have a direct impact on local economies now and set us up for a brighter, more innovative future."
Established by the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, AFRI is the nation's premier competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences. In the seven years since AFRI was established, the program has led to true innovations and ground-breaking discoveries in agriculture to combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability and enhance resiliency of our food systems, and ensure food safety. This round of funding is offered through the AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts challenge area, which creates or sustains jobs by enhancing existing food and fiber production systems, boosts ecosystems by reducing greenhouse gases and improving water and habitat quality, and provides renewable energy, chemical, and product options.