The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $6 million in grants to support research, education and Extension efforts to increase food security and improve food production.

“As the world population continues to grow, we will need to find ways to double our food production levels to sustain an estimated 9 billion people,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “As a leader in agriculture production, the United States plays a critical role in feeding the world. This funding is critical to finding new solutions that will enable us to feed, clothe and shelter all people.”

NIFA made these grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security challenge area. The goal of this challenge area is to increase agricultural productivity as well as the availability and accessibility of safe and nutritious food. In fiscal year 2013, the food security challenge area focused on reducing crop and livestock losses due to pests, which account for a significant amount of food loss during production and post-harvest. The food security challenge area also sought to examine the social and economic factors that influence manager’s choices regarding loss prevention technologies. Seven of the projects awarded this fiscal year will work to manage these losses in crops and livestock systems. Six of the awards are to support conferences designed to gather experts in a broad range of disciplines to better understand the nature of food loss throughout the whole food system – farm to table.

Fiscal year 2013 grants include:

  1. University of California, Riverside, Calif., $34,931
  2. Idaho State University, Moscow, Idaho, $150,000
  3. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $910,198
  4. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $981,244
  5. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $959,988
  6. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $999,872
  7. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $749,059
  8. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M., $20,000
  9. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $49,250
  10. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., $49,250
  11. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $999,639
  12. Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Wash., $47,318
  13. USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Md., $49,250

A brief description of each awardee’s project is available on the NIFA website.