Vilsack Announces Climate Research Grants at University Conference

Ten universities will split $6 million in grants to research effects of climate on agriculture production, USDA says

Published on: Apr 23, 2014

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded $6 million to 10 universities to study the effects of climate on agriculture production, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday during remarks at "The Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action in the Heartland" conference held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Every day, farmers and ranchers see the impact that changes in climate patterns have on their operations, and they are contending with drought, floods or extreme temperatures," Vilsack said. "The discoveries these grants will lead to will be invaluable for American farmers whose livelihoods directly depend on the nation's land and water resources."

USDA says it will fund more research to help ag improve resiliency to drought, floods or extreme temperatures.
USDA says it will fund more research to help ag improve resiliency to drought, floods or extreme temperatures.

NIFA made the awards through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding opportunity in the Climate Variability and Change challenge area. NIFA's climate work is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems.

• University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., $900,000 - This study will provide an integrated social and biophysical assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and variability in the Blue Mountains ecoregion of Oregon.

• Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $250,000 – This project will study the mechanism of Ochratoxin-A toxicity in wine-musts (freshly pressed grape juice for wine making) which is predicted to intensify in winemaking regions because of the increased prevalence of the toxin producing fungi in warmer climates, and create an inexpensive and simple method of detoxification.

• Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $550,000 - The goal of this research is to examine factors that either facilitate or hinder climate adaptation, while assessing the role of human-made infrastructure and policies that protect natural resources, grassland and wetlands.

Related: USDA Invests in 'Climate Hubs'

• Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $975,000 – This project will seek to define the effects of hot and cold temperatures on turkey growth and development and develop management practices to mitigate these effects.

• University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $25,000 – This is a conference grant to support the National Extension Climate Science Initiative Conference, which will empower Extension professionals and collaborators with the latest in climate science research and delivery methods.