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Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Agricultural Systems – United States

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Agricultural Systems – United States

Deadline: 6-Jun-24The National Institute of Food and Agriculture through this RFA is soliciting visionary integrated research, extension, and education projects that use transdisciplinary, systems approaches to promote the blending of science, technology, and societal considerations to solve challenges to current and future food and agricultural systems.

The purpose of AFRI is to invest in research, education, and extension work by awarding grants to solve key problems of local, regional, national, and global importance in sustaining conventional, organic, and urban agricultural systems. The projects supported by AFRI address topics such as farm/ranch production efficiency, profitability and sustainability; bioenergy and bio-based products; forestry; aquaculture; rural communities and entrepreneurship; human nutrition; biotic and abiotic constraints on food production; food safety; reducing food waste and food loss; physical and social sciences; family and consumer sciences and rural human ecology; development of circular economies, and genetic improvement of plants and animals. Through this support, AFRI advances knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture and forestry. Additionally, AFRI supports work in education and extension activities that deliver science-based knowledge to end users, allowing them to make informed, practical decisions. The AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) RFA provides funding for integratedThis AFRI RFA will support projects that significantly advance foundational and applied sciences for the following USDA priorities:
  • Addressing climate change via climate smart agriculture and forestry;Advancing racial justice, equity, and opportunity;Creating more and better market opportunities; andTackling food and nutrition insecurity
  • The AFRI SAS RFA is aligned with the following USDA Strategic Plan FY 2022-2026 Goals:
  • Strategic Goal 1: Combat Climate Change to Support America’s Working Lands, Natural Resources and Communities;Strategic Goal 2: Ensure American’s Agricultural System is Equitable, Resilient, and Prosperous;Strategic Goal 3: Foster an Equitable and Competitive Marketplace for All Agricultural Producers;Strategic Goal 4: Provide All American’s Safe, Nutritious Food;Strategic Goal 5: Expand Opportunities for Economic Development and Improve Quality of Life in Rural and Tribal Communities.
  • The AFRI SAS RFA is aligned with the following USDA Science and Research Strategy, 2023– 2026 priorities:
  • Priority 1: Accelerating Innovative Technologies & PracticesPriority 2: Driving Climate-Smart SolutionsPriority 3: Bolstering Nutrition Security & Health
  • Global Engagement
  • NIFA supports global engagement that address the USDA Strategic Plan goals and USDA Science and Research Strategy priorities that are emphasized in this RFA. NIFA recognizes that collaboration with international partners may be necessary to attain the agency’s goals for U.S. agriculture, develop Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry practices, support national development of the bioeconomy, promote global competence of their nation’s future agricultural workforce, and promote safe and nutritious food security in a growing world.
  • Program Area
  • The purpose of the AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program area is to promote a sustainable supply of accessible, healthy, safe, and affordable, food and other agricultural products, while enhancing rural economic development, employment and economic opportunities, and improving the long-term health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Sustainability is core to this program.The SAS program area will fund projects that significantly advance previously established foundational and applied sciences for the following USDA priority outcomes:
    • Food and Nutrition Security:
      • Enhance the contributions of food and agriculture to improve the health of the nation through resilient local and regional food systems, adoption, and application of new or existing technologies, tools, education, and other resources to ensure all Americans have consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, affordable foods essential to optional health and well-being.Projects addressing this goal must develop, implement, or enhance understanding of at least one of the following:
        • Local and Regional Food Systems: Build resilient local and regional food systems that foster and support agricultural innovation that ensures America’s agricultural system is safe, equitable, health, affordable, sustainable, and prosperous. Design culturally and contextually appropriate approaches to reduce food loss and waste and food supply chain disruption with an emphasis on mitigating the effects of climate and other disasters on food systems and fostering resilient food systems, especially in disaster-prone areas.Nutrition-Sensitive Climate-Smart Agriculture: Promote productive, profitable, and nutrition-sensitive climate-smart production practices that increase returns on investment for farmers/producers and mitigate economic losses and reduce food loss and waste, particularly among underserved farmers. Promote production of nutrient-dense crops known to prevent diet-related chronic diseases while ensuring more sustainable production in terms of soil health, nutrient density, and crop resilience to climate variabilities.Nutrition Security and Diet-Related Health Disparities: Develop innovative approaches to address equitable upstream social determinants of health with an emphasis on fostering connections with sustainable agricultural systems that integrate robust partnerships and efforts led by or with strong representation from underserved communities
      Strengthening the Bioeconomy:
      • Develop sources of clean energy and high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks to foster economic development and prosperity, with an emphasis toward generating benefits to underserved communities.Projects supporting this goal must address at least one of the following:
        • Sustainable Bioenergy and Biobased Products: Develop new and/or improved approaches for the production and manufacturing of clean energy (particularly sustainable aviation fuels) or sustainable biobased products (e.g., domestically sourced natural rubber, wood/lignocellulosic bioproducts.) Proposals should include a description of the cost savings relative to products currently on the market (including product specifications and pricing) and environmental benefits of the approach (such as greenhouse gas emission reductions, waste management benefits, and/or other relevant benefits).Resilience and Robustness of Bioeconomies: Develop innovative approaches that increase the adaptability of bioeconomies to climate shocks (including biological, environmental, and supply chain). Innovations in community-based local and regional collaborations are appropriate for this topic. Funded projects may entail use of modeling or assessment techniques to determine short- and long-term sustainability benchmarks, impacts, and outcomes of new or improved production systems compared to existing energy and bioproduct production systems. Models and analytic tools should be capable of estimating the value and impact of products and byproducts at each point, from manufacture to disposal, in local and regional contexts.Regional Resource Hub (RRH) Partnerships: USDA-NIFA is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Fuels and Products Shot™ Regional Resource Hubs to advance development and commercialization of low-carbon bioenergy and biobased products. RRHs support research, development, and deployment of purpose grown energy crops that will contribute to no less than 85% reduction in carbon intensity in biobased products, including sustainable aviation fuels, compared to fossil-based counterparts.
      Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF):
      • Improve mitigation, adaptation, and resilience of agricultural and forestry production systems to climate changeProjects supporting this goal must also develop, implement, or enhance understanding of one or more of the following:
        • Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of current rates by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions from agriculture and forestry by 2050. Reducing greenhouse gases that have relatively short atmospheric residence times (such as methane), increasing carbon sequestration, and reducing risk of wildfires are important priorities to address.Markets and Socioeconomics: Improve market opportunities for CSAF. Opportunities exist to create CSAF supply chains and products, develop carbon and other ecosystem service markets, and reduce food loss and waste. Improving greenhouse gas measurements and climate modeling will underpin efficient markets.Regionally Appropriate Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Develop resilient agricultural, rangeland, aquaculture, or forestry systems that can adapt to climate change while considering incremental climate changes and extreme weather events. Enhanced prediction of climate-related stressors; advancing appropriate management, tools, and technologies; and translating climate knowledge for stakeholders are essential for CSAF systems.
  • Funding Information
  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $ 80,000,000Award Ceiling: $10,000,000Award Floor: $50,000
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Applicants for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) RFA must meet all the requirements discussed in this RFA. Failure to meet the eligibility criteria by the application deadline may result in exclusion from consideration or, preclude NIFA from making an award.
    • Integrated Projects
      • Eligible applicants for Integrated Projects include:
        • colleges and universities;1994 Land-Grant Institutions; andHispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities
        For item colleges and universities under Integrated Projects, the terms “college” and “university” mean an educational institution in any state which:
        • admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;is legally authorized within such state to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;provides an educational program for which a bachelor’s degree or any other higher degree is awarded;is a public or other nonprofit institution; andis accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association.
    Duplicate or Multiple Submissions – submission of duplicate or predominantly overlapping applications is not allowed. NIFA will disqualify both applications if an applicant submits multiple applications that are duplicative or substantially overlapping to NIFA programs within the same fiscal year. For those new to Federal financial assistance.
  • For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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