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national institute of food and agriculture

Celebrating the Agricultural Impacts of 1890 Land-Grant Universities

USDA has a long history of investing in and supporting our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The 19 HBCUs established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, along with the two HBCU land-grant universities established in the original 1862 legislation – University of the District of Columbia and University of the Virgin Islands – are a critical link in ensuring public access to agricultural education, research, and outreach programs are equitably distributed to all Americans. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports research at these institutions with both capacity and competitive funding.

NIFA-Supported Research Innovates to Reduce Food Loss and Waste: An Interview with Robert Nowierski

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is USDA’s extramural science-funding agency within USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area. What is NIFA doing to help reduce food loss and waste? This interview features insights from Robert Nowierski, NIFA, National Program Leader for Bio-Based Pest Management.

Automation Helps Solve Specialty Crop Challenges

With support from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Multistate Research Fund, researchers at 17 land-grant universities are working together to develop automated systems that work well for labor-intensive specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery plants. A multi-state collaborative approach lifts the burden of research and development from a single specialty crop sector and spurs major advances.

NIFA Impact: Research on Regulatory Policy Impacting Low-Moisture Food Safety

Nut products. Spices. Pet food. Breakfast cereals. Although most consumers would not expect these foods to contain harmful bacteria, all have been linked to nationwide outbreaks and recalls due to the presence of salmonella, which is the most frequently reported cause of food-related illness in the U.S. To better regulate the way foods are grown, harvested, and processed, the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act focuses on preventing food contamination rather than responding to foodborne-illness events.

Pollinators at a Crossroads

Bees and other pollinators, including birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and small mammals, play a critical role in our food production system. A healthy pollinator population is vital to producing marketable commodities. More than 100 U.S. grown crops rely on pollinators. The added revenue to crop production from pollinators is valued at $18 billion. Pollinators also support healthy ecosystems needed for clean air, stable soils, and a diverse wildlife. That’s why USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partners with the Land-Grant University System, U.S. government laboratories, and private and non-profit organizations to support research, education, and extension programs advancing pollinator health.

Milk Findings May Help Infants Worldwide

Today is World Milk Day! In America, the average consumption of milk is about 146 pounds (17 gallons) per person per year according to data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Children account for a large portion of milk drinkers, particularly infants as milk is meant to be the sole source of nutrition for infants until age 6 months.