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USDA Research Investments Spur New Agricultural Markets

DENVER, Oct. 19, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced an investment of nearly $22 million in agricultural economics research that includes agricultural markets, international trade, farm labor, consumer behavior and nutrition, food retail, agricultural production and processing and agricultural policy.

“The challenges facing the agricultural sector, the production and consumption of food, and management of natural resources and the environment continue to evolve,” said USDA NIFA Director Dr. Manjit Misra. “At NIFA, we support research that investigates the increasing global demands for food production in the face of limited resources and changing climate. These will have major implications for how we use natural resources, promote healthy diets, invest in science, and foster economic opportunities and quality of life for all Americans.”

Misra made the announcement today in Colorado during his keynote address at the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services Annual Meeting sponsored by the North American Agricultural Advisory Network.

This investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grants portfolio within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program. AFRI builds fundamental and applied knowledge in food and agricultural sciences critical for solving current and future societal challenges.

AFRI is the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. These grants are available to eligible colleges, universities and other research organizations.

Examples of the 41 projects include:

  • Auburn University researchers will conduct the first comprehensive study to empirically estimate equivalence scales that compare economic wellbeing of U.S. households of different compositions over the past 50 years. The results could be widely applied to define the poverty line, evaluate social inequality and poverty, calibrate social safety net payments, measure the costs of raising children, and calculate payments for life insurance, alimony and legal compensation for wrongful death.
  • Colorado State University researchers, through one of the funded projects, will measure the incidence of persistent food insecurity among at-risk Americans and analyze its drivers, as well as estimate mortality rates for individuals experiencing food insecurity and its effects on life expectancy.
  • University of California Davis scientists will analyze the effects of weather, climate change, adaptation and natural resource scarcity through the lens of California irrigated agriculture. Specifically, they will quantify the effect of weather and climate change on the revenue of specialty crop growers.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute researchers will seek to understand the effects of the changing pattern of consumers’ expenditure on food-at-home to food-away-from-home on welfare distribution throughout the food supply chain.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2023, NIFA’s total investment was $2.6 billion.

Visit our Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts.

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