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AFRI Awards to Study Effects of Climate Change on Agricultural and Forest Production

February 23, 2011

On Friday February 18, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funding opportunity, awarded three $20 million grants (over 5 years) to Coordinated Agriculture Projects (CAP) to study the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production.

Dr. Tim Martin, of the University of Florida will lead a team to study climate change mitigation and adaptation of southern pines.  Research results will guide planting of pine in future climates, and provide insights on management systems that enable forests to sequester more carbon and remain robust in the face of changing climate.

A team led by Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode, of the University of Idaho, will monitor changes in soil carbon and nitrogen levels, and greenhouse gas emissions from climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies implemented in the region’s agriculture.  The team will also introduce innovative approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation into K-12, undergraduate, and graduate curricula to prepare citizens and professionals for climate-related challenges and defining agriculture’s role in providing food, energy and ecosystem services.

Dr. Lois Wright Morton, of Iowa State University, will lead a team to estimate the carbon, nitrogen and water footprints of corn production in the Midwest.  Her team will evaluate the impacts of various crop management practices under different climate models.  The project will also integrate education and outreach components, specifically focusing on a place-based education and outreach program called “I-FARM.”   This interactive tool will help the team analyze the economic, agronomic and social acceptability of using various crop management practices to adapt and mitigate to the effects of climate change.

NIFA Director Roger Beachy stated in the announcement that “these projects ensure we have the best available tools to accurately measure the effects of climate change on agriculture, develop effective methods to sustain productivity in a changing environment and pass these resources on to the farmers and industry professionals who can put the research into practice.”

For more information on AFRI, visit our Farm Bill Grassroots Guide here.

To view the NIFA news release online, go here.

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment, Research, Education & Extension

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