Plant Health and Production and Plant Products Program Area

The Plant Health and Production and Plant Products (PHPPP) program area of the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program was established to increase knowledge of plant systems and the various factors that affect agricultural plant productivity. This knowledge would enable U.S. agriculture to solve critical challenges it may face in the mid-21st century. There is need for increased agricultural plant productivity, safe and nutritious food, and new products to meet the demands of a growing populations in the face of limiting resources, loss of agricultural land to urban development, and increasing global market competition.

General Information

Plant production, protection, and the development of new plant products are critical to the sustainability and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, and our nation’s economic preeminence. The Plant health and production and plant products program area was established with the recognition that increasing knowledge of plant systems and the various factors that affect productivity will help U.S. producers and consumers face critical challenges in areas such as nutritional security, stewardship of natural resources, bioenergy, climate variability, organic production, loss of agricultural land, challenges to pollinator health, and increasing global competition. Future improvements to production systems will require a greater understanding of complex, inter-related factors, across a wide range of scales. These include investigations of plant and pest biology at molecular, cellular, and whole-organism levels as well as innovative and environmentally-sound approaches to improve plant performance and provide protection from biotic and abiotic stressors. Additionally, there is a critical need to help mitigate the ecological footprint of agriculture; the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has articulated a vision of significantly reducing energy, water, and nitrogen use and greenhouse gas production. Applications must incorporate ways to develop approaches that will contribute to the measurable reduction of the overall ecological footprint of row crop agriculture.

In response to stakeholders' comments and to allow holistic projects on critical problems in plant production systems, a few changes have been made in the organization of the Plant Health and Production and Plant Products program area in FY 2018. In addition to the five previous program area priorities offered in FY 2017, two new program area priorities: Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources and Agricultural Biosecurity Coordination Network will be offered in FY 2018. Furthermore, in FY 2018, NIFA continues to jointly offer a program with the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled, "NSF-NIFA Plant Biotic Interactions."

In FY 2018, the Plant Health and Production and Plant Products program area of the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program is soliciting Research Project applications for Standard, Conference, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grant types relevant to the seven program area priorities described below. In addition, AFRI invites Research Project applications for Standard and FASE (Strengthening Standard and New Investigator) Grant types that address Commodity Board priorities that align with one of the program area priorities listed below:

  • Foundational Knowledge of Agricultural Production Systems
  • Pest and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems
  • Physiology of Agricultural Plants
  • Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production
  • Pollinator Health: Research and Application
  • Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources
  • Agricultural Biosecurity Coordination Network

Research proposals submitted to this program area must justify the choice of organism or system in terms of its importance to production agriculture. The use of model systems is allowed, but applicants must clearly describe the relevance of model system development to plant production systems and also describe how results obtained from model systems will be transferred to agriculturally-important organisms during the project period.

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