I’m currently conducting a blog series where each week I give an overview of the responsibilities of a government agency regulating our food and agriculture system. I think it’s a helpful reminder for everyone on just how complex our regulatory system really is. It’s a game of Who’s Who for government players in the U.S. food and agriculture economy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (“NIFA”) reports to the Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics. NIFA aims to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, and human health by funding research, education, and cooperative extension. This subagency was created by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
NIFA’s research is in the area of:
1. agricultural systems (e.g., farm safety, manure management, organic agriculture, sustainable agriculture);
2. livestock (e.g., animal breeding, animal well-being, aquaculture, animal health),
3. biotechnology and genomics (e.g., plant breeding, animal genomics),
4. economics and community development (e.g., farm financial management, financial security);
5. education (e.g., 1890 Land Grant Programs including Cornell University, Higher Education Programs, Hispanic Serving Institutions);
6. families, youth and communities (e.g., Youth Development and 4-H, Urban Protections, Child Care & After-School Programs, Family & Consumer Sciences);
7. food, nutrition and health (e.g., food safety, health and wellness, obesity, food security);
8. international (e.g., global engagement);
9. environment and natural resources (e.g., air quality, ecosystems, forests, soils, water, wildlife and fish);
10. pest management (e.g., pesticides, pest management);
11. plants (e.g., horticulture, plant breeding); and
12. technology and engineering (e.g., precision agriculture).