WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $1.8 million in available funding to research new, environmentally friendly pesticides and innovative tools and strategies to replace an older treatment, methyl bromide. Funding is made through NIFA's Methyl Bromide Transition Program.
"These policy changes were based on sound science in the interest of public health," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "The next step is more research to find practical, safe alternatives and educate stakeholders on best practices."
The pesticide methyl bromide is being phased out worldwide under an international treaty to protect the Earth's ozone layer by phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals. Methyl bromide has been used for over 50 years for a range of pest management purposes from farming to storage, shipment and quarantine. The Methyl Bromide Transition (MBT) program helps to discover and implement practical and safer pest management alternatives. Projects may focus on integrated research and extension activities or extension-only projects that promote the adoption of new pest management practices.
Eligible applicants include colleges and universities, including Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs), and research foundations maintained by eligible colleges or universities.
The deadline for applications is April 25, 2017.
Since 2000, NIFA has invested more than $40 million through MBT. Previously funded projects include a University of Florida project that evaluated the economic impact of the methyl bromide ban on the Florida tomato industry. A Michigan State University project addressed the unique challenges of the northern U.S. growing region by developing a transition plan to help growers, farmers and other stakeholders adapt. A research and extension project at the University of Florida investigates the potential of Ethanedinitrile as an effective and sustainable alternative for soil fumigation of vegetable specialty crops, tomatoes and watermelon. At the University of California, Santa Cruz, a research and extension project will improve the reliability of anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) as an alternative method of controlling soil pests in strawberry and apple production. The project will provide growers with guides to adapt ASD for their individual farms.
NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www.
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