AFRI Annual Review

Fiscal year 2015

Established by the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agriculture. It is the flagship funding program the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) uses to combat major agriculture-related societal challenges through research, education, and extension. AFRI is one of NIFA’s major programs through which to address the six Farm Bill priority areas.

The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension as well as integrated programs by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi‐state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. Providing this support requires that AFRI advance fundamental sciences as well as translational research and development in support of agriculture and coordinate opportunities to build on these discoveries. This will also require that AFRI support education and extension that delivers science‐based knowledge to people, allowing them to make informed practical decisions. For this important and critical mission, the AFRI program accomplished the following in FY 2015: 

  1. Administered $325 million dollars on behalf of the American public to advance food and agriculture;
  2. Published 7 Request for Applications (RFAs) that accepted 2,694 proposals in support of 37 program area priorities;
  3. Provided 569 peer-reviewed competitive awards, which is 22% more than the previous year’s report;
  4. Supported and trained 1,910 students and postdoctorates towards future careers in the food, agriculture, and social sciences;
  5. Facilitated a success rate of 17% — the highest rate in three years;
  6. Partnered with and ensured diversity amongst 545 experts to ensure the highest quality science was funded;
  7. Obtained an increase in program funding of approximately 3% during tight fiscal times; and
  8. Advanced the most crucial societal challenges addressing food and agriculture. 

USDA-NIFA Approach

AFRI, with its broad funding portfolio, addresses every facet of agriculture, including food production, farming and ranching, renewable energy, aquaculture, nutrition, forestry, food safety, rural communities, farm efficiency and profitability, and traditional and innovative breeding techniques. AFRI advances fundamental sciences as well as translational research and development in support of agriculture and coordinates research opportunities to build on these new discoveries. In addition, AFRI-awarded programs deliver this science to communities through extension programs, which allows the public to make informed decisions that impact their daily lives.

With the world’s population expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, NIFA works to solve the challenges of meeting the food, clothing, fuel, and shelter needs of all people. In order for NIFA to address these critical issues, we partnered with food and agricultural scientists and educators with expertise in: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agricultural systems and technology; and agricultural economics and rural communities. NIFA partners with the scientific community to provide federal financial assistance grants to address critical issues in United States agriculture in the areas of global food security, water for agriculture, childhood obesity prevention, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, and climate change.

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To read more of the AFRI 2015 Annual Review, please view the following sections: