Research

NIFA grants for fundamental and applied research enable discovery of solutions to complex problems of regional, national, and global importance. We focus on supporting programs that provide foundational knowledge as well as on programs that address critical issues facing the long-term viability of agriculture.

NIFA is the USDA's extramural research agency, funding individuals; institutions; and public, private, and non-profit organizations. Our grants enable researchers to address problems critical to our nation’s farmers and ranchers, consumers, and communities.

Funding national priorities

Congress appropriates funds to areas of agriculture and food-related sciences with high potential to address key challenge areas. NIFA's scientific staff then implements congressional intent into comprehensive, high-priority research or integrated programs and releases requests for applications (RFAs).

NIFA funds applied research in a range of high-priority areas:

  • Food Security
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Water
  • Sustainable Bioenergy
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention
  • Food Safety

High-impact Outcome

North Carolina A&T research makes peanuts safer to eat

Allergies to peanuts — the 12th most valuable cash crop in the United States — are among the most severe of all food allergies, affecting some 2.8 million people in the country, including 400,000 school-aged children. Scientists at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University have discovered a way to remove up to 98 percent of the allergens.  Researchers found that by soaking roasted peanuts that have been shelled and skinned in a solution containing food grade enzymes they can virtually reduce or eliminate two key allergens. The process does not affect flavor, and treated peanuts can be eaten whole, in pieces, or as flour in various products. The process has been validated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through human clinical trials using skin prick tests.