NIFA Update July 24

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                          July 24, 2019

Making a Difference

Sorghum seedlings are grown in special boxes for BNI characterization. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife.

Sorghum seedlings are grown in special boxes for BNI characterization. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife.

Texas A&M Researchers to Develop Climate-Smart Sorghum

Texas A&M researchers believe the development of climate-smart crops is the key to improving nitrogen-use efficiency and reducing fertilizer nitrogen loss in agricultural fields. The crops would have the ability to suppress soil nitrification and have reduced nitrogen emissions, said Dr. Nithya Rajan, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop physiologist.

Rajan's study, “Innovative Sorghum-Based Production Systems with Biological Nitrification Inhibition Property to Enhance Sustainability of Agroecosystems,” is funded by a $500,000 grant through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Foundational and Applied Science Program. Read the full Texas A&M article.


Congratulations to Hongda Chen

Recognizing Hongda Chen tweet,

News for You

4-H National Youth Science Day Game Changers graphic

Inspiring Kids to Learn Computer Science with Game Changers

Now in its 12th year, 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) was created by National 4-H Council, NIFA and Cooperative Extension to ignite an early interest in science, technology, engineering, and math learning among young people. Game Changers teaches kids ages 8-14 how to use computer science to create games, solve problems, and engage in topics they’re passionate about. The challenge kit activities do not require the Internet. The NYSD celebration kicks off Oct. 1. Learn more online at 4-H National Youth Science Day.

2018 Extension Master Gardeners report graphic

Master Gardener Successes

There are roughly 86,076 Extension Master Gardener volunteers throughout the United States, contributing $5.6 million hours educating the public, providing youth programming, and facilitating produce donated to food banks. This is only the beginning of the value master gardeners provide for their communities. Read the full Extension Master Gardener 2018 National Report.

Award Announcements

NIFA Invests $2.7 Million in Networks for Research Synthesis and Data Management

NIFA recently announced seven data synthesis and management awards that establish and manage networks of research, extension, and education specialists who focus on enabling systems and communities to effectively utilize data, improve resource management, and integrate new technologies and approaches to further U.S. food and agriculture enterprises. These synthesis, data management, and sharing projects focus on an understanding of the value of data and how it can impact U.S. agriculture for small and large farmers, agricultural industry, forestry, food industries, and help environmental and natural resource management. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative area of Bioenergy Natural Resources and Environment.


NIFA Invests $1 Million in Behavioral and Experimental Economics

NIFA recently announced one award to develop a Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental and Risk Management Research (CBEAR) to advance the use of behavioral and experimental economics to conduct research on how policies and programs can influence the provision of ecosystem services from agricultural resources, the management of risk, and other aspects of food and agricultural policy. CBEAR will coordinate a consortium of researchers from major research and land-grant universities that applies the science of behavioral economics to understand the values and decision-making process of farmers, ranchers, and landowners. This is a joint effort between the Economic Research Service and NIFA. This grant is part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.