Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awards AFRI research, education, and extension grants to combat childhood obesity, improve rural economies, increase food production, create new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability, address water availability issues, ensure food safety and security, and train the next generation of agricultural workforce.
AFRI was established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The President’s FY 2017 budget request proposed to fully fund AFRI for $700 million. This amount is the full funding level authorized by Congress when it established AFRI in the 2008 Farm Bill and would double the $350 million made available in FY 2016. As part of the President’s FY 2017 Budget proposal, AFRI investments will target the diverse challenges facing agricultural producers—from climate change to pollinator health to antimicrobial resistant bacteria. In addition to the $375 million provided in the discretionary request, the budget includes a legislative action to make available $325 million in mandatory funding for the program as part of a government-wide investment in research and development. For more information, see a fact sheet on AFRI's record of achievements and a statement from Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA's director, in his Feb. 3, 2016 blog regarding the importance of agricultural research.
NIFA provides AFRI grants to support research, education and extension activities in six Farm Bill priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economies and rural communities. AFRI-funded science is vital to meeting food, fiber, and fuel demands as the world’s population races toward a projected 9 billion by 2050 concomitant with diminishing land and water resources and increasingly variable climatic conditions. In addition, AFRI programs help develop new technologies and a workforce that will advance our national security, our energy self-sufficiency, and the health of Americans.
NIFA’s AFRI funding portfolio includes both single- and multi-function research, education, and extension grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance. AFRI-funded projects sustain all components of agriculture, including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding. These projects also create jobs and help develop the next generation of agriculture and food scientists.
AFRI-funded integrated projects must include at least two of the three functions of agriculture knowledge – research, education, and extension – to ensure delivery of science-based knowledge to people, allowing them to make informed practical decisions.
The AFRI portfolio includes Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) grants. CAP grants are large, multi-million dollar projects that involve multiple institutions. FASE grants help institutions become more competitive and attract new scientists and educators to careers in high-priority areas of agriculture.
NIFA makes grants for high priority research, education, and extension, taking into consideration the determinations made by the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.
Subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out the AFRI program, the Secretary may award grants to state agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations or corporations; individuals; or any group consisting of two or more of the aforementioned entities.
Each grant program has its own unique set of requirements, the details of which are available within specific Requests for Application.
See a list of available AFRI funding opportunities.
- National Research Council Report: “Spurring Innovation in Food and Agriculture: A Review of the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Program”
- AFRI Annual Synopsis
- AFRI Interagency Programs
- AFRI International Partnerships
- AFRI Stakeholder Feedback
- AFRI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- AFRI FASE & EPSCoR Program
- Integrated Programs Application Information
- Guidance for AFRI Reviewers
- Q&A: President's FY 2017 AFRI Budget Request