The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 23, National Ag Day, an $11.5 million research investment to aid America’s small and medium-sized farms in becoming more profitable and improve the quality of life in American farm communities.
“Few groups are as resilient and as determined as American farm families,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is committed to creating a fairer, more equitable system for farms of all sizes to compete and remain profitable.
“This investment in innovative research will give these family farms the tools they need to be more sustainable, profitable and productive as they face agricultural and economic challenges. When American farmers have a chance to compete, they have a greater chance at succeeding.”
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded 24 grants to 20 universities and organizations with their Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
The AFRI program is the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences.
AFRI research efforts focus on alternative crop enterprises, marketing, and scaling up fruit and vegetable production to overcome marketing constraints.
By focusing on these key elements, small and medium-sized farm operators can increase their competitiveness in local markets and can provide greater access to food for their communities.
The USDA said this is extremely critical as a more equitable food and farming system is built back stronger.
NIFA awarded grants to the following:
Auburn University, Auburn University, Alabama: “Challenges and Opportunities for Beginning Small and Medium-Sized Producers in the Southeast” ($500,000)
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama: “An Integrated Approach to Improve the Profitability and Viability of Small and Limited Resource Farmers in Rural Counties” ($500,000)
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut: “A comprehensive probiotic-based approach to promote layer performance, layer health and egg safety for small and midsize farms” ($500,000)
Rural Coalition, Washington, District of Columbia: “Community Resilience Through Land Tenure Rights” ($500,000)
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida: “Changing Labor Markets and Labor Risk Management: Decision-making Tools for Small- and Medium-Sized Farms” ($499,660)
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia: “Exploring the Future of Family Forestlands under Female Ownership for the Sustainability of Forest Resources in Georgia” ($499,827); “Documenting Challenges, Identifying Solutions, and Developing Decision Support Tools for Small and Medium-sized Forest Businesses” ($496,704)
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana: “Incentivizing Land Access for Small, Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers: Research, Extension and Community of Practice” ($499,997)
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana: “Taking the Next Step as a Small and Medium Sized Farm: Understanding the Integration of Production, Food Safety, and Profitability” ($499,997)
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: “Increasing the Adoption of Technology and Enhancing Sustainability of Small Beef Cattle Farms” ($500,000)
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland: “Hemp Contracting and Risk Management Issues” ($497,979)
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota: “Building a Bidirectional Supply Chain for Farm to Rural Grocery to Wholesale (F2G2W)” ($500,000)
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri: “Collective Entrepreneurship Research and Education for Socially-disadvantaged Small- and Medium-Food System Enterprises” ($499,975); “Nudging Landowners and Tenants toward Environmental and Social Stewardship” ($498,833)
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York: “Improving Livestock Marketing Returns for Small- and Medium-Scale Farms through Innovative Data Collection and Analytical Tools” ($500,000)
North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota: “Novel merging of heifer reproductive and management systems efficiencies to expand small and medium-sized farm business profit” ($499,991)
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio: “Strategic and Operational Agenda to Promote Sustainable Growth in the Developing Pawpaw Value Chain” ($429,928)
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania: “Farm Succession and Transfer Dynamics: Sustaining an Agriculture of the Middle in the U.S.” ($494,263)
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island: “Developing Evidence-based Handling Guidelines for Improving the Safety of Free-range Poultry Eggs” ($199,483)
Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee: “Enhancing opportunities for land access and transfer for Tennessee’s young and beginning farmers” ($499,991); “Managing Breed Resources to Improve Productivity and Profitability in Meat Goats” ($496,703); “Establishing Animal Health and Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs to Maximize Profitability of Small-Scale Ruminant Production Systems” ($464,816)
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, Texas: “Creating Partnerships Between Veterinarians and Small and Medium-Sized Farmers to Enhance Economic Efficiency and Sustainability” ($499,999)
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin: “The Relationship between Farm Size and Farmer Opportunities to Profit from Natural Resources on their Land” ($473,756)
Learn more about the impact and public value of NIFA’s research investments online at nifa.usda.gov/impacts.