USDA funding studies on food safety, climate change

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About $20 million in federal grants will fund research on improving food safety and addressing the impact of climate change.

The Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, plans to provide the money for projects at 33 universities. The amount going to each varies from $25,000 for one project at the University of Minnesota to $2.1 million for four projects at The Ohio State University.

About $14 million of the grants will be used for food safety research, through which NIFA will support studies on critical and emerging food safety issues, mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance, safety improvements for produce, and mechanisms of food contamination.

NIFA will provide $6 million for studies on how climate change can affect agriculture and how farms and ranches can react and continue providing food.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an announcement, “With longer growing seasons and an increased number of extreme weather events, climate-related changes are increasingly posing new challenges and risks for America’s producers.”

Those challenges include droughts, floods, and extreme temperatures, he said.

Examples of the climate change projects are studies at the University of Colorado to assess vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and variability in the Blue Mountains region of Oregon, at Michigan State University to identify temperature effects on turkey growth and development and ways to mitigate harm, and at Oklahoma State University to develop beef cattle adaptable to climate change–induced drought.

More information is available here.