The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invested over $8.65 million in 22 plant breeding research projects through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program.

The Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production grants includes a co-funded project by the Kansas Wheat Commission through the Farm Bill commodity boards topic provision, as well as five cultivar development projects aimed at accelerating testing, evaluating, and releasing publicly-finished wheat, triticale, sorghum, and canola cultivars for farmers.

“Plant breeding is a critical link in helping agriculture mitigate climate change,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “These innovative projects will advance crop production efficiency, healthfulness, product quality, and the value of U.S. agricultural plants while increasing farmer profitability and sustainability.”

Some research funded from the Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production AFRI priority area includes Texas A&M University’s project, “Unoccupied Aerial System Enabled Phenomic Selection to Develop Improved Southern Maize Hybrids,” to evaluate using drones to improve speed and accuracy of decision-making. Michigan State University’s project, “Mining the Wild Species Solanum Microdontum for Improvement of Cultivated Potato,” to enable efficient late blight and heat resistant potato varieties. University of California-Davis’ project, “Plant Breeding Partnerships: Breeding Pepper for Mechanical Harvesting II,” to develop competitive green chile pepper varieties amenable to mechanical harvesting.

For more information:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
+1 202 720 2791
askusda@usda.gov
www.usda.gov