NIFA invests $15.5M to retain America's cutting edge position in food and agricultural production

NIFA awarded 18 Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics Tools grants totalling $10.4 million to initiate research on big data analytics  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invested a total of $15M in two key programs awarded through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT). NIFA awarded 18 Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics Tools grants totaling $10.4 million to initiate research on big data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive technologies needed to keep U.S. agriculture on the leading edge of food and agricultural production. NIFA also invested $5.1 million for 12 Nanotechnology for Agricultural and Food Systems grants to support nanotechnology-based solutions that improve food production, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and food safety. 

“Big data and artificial intelligence will increasingly play a vital role in the future of agricultural technologies and innovation,” said NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “As we work to enhance farmer profitability and agricultural sustainability and realize precision nutrition for consumers, these technologies will keep research and development moving at a rapid pace to provide the tools needed for success.”

Example projects funded from the 18 Food and Agriculture Cyber informatics Tools grants include the University of Idaho’s project, “Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Implementing Integrated Pest Management in Small-Grain Production Systems.” This project will develop an AI-based decision support system for identifying pests in wheat-based production systems. U.S. Ignite, Inc.’s project, “Platforms for Advanced Wireless:  Research Rural Platform,” will form a public-private partnership to support creating four at-scale experimental platforms for advancing fundamental wireless research to enable rural broadband to benefit customers in rural communities, and to attract and retain skilled networking jobs in the local community.

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