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Home / Grants for Women / Alfalfa and Forage Research Program

Alfalfa and Forage Research Program

To improve alfalfa and forage yield and seed yield of crops grown for propagation, improve persistence of plantings, reduce pest pressure for both forage and seed production, improve genetic quality of commercial cultivars and reduce losses during harvest and storage.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status

Active

Program Number

10.330

Federal Agency/Office

Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Type(s) of Assistance Offered

Project Grants

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2014: Represents FY 14 newly authorized and newly funded.
For FY 2014 award cycle, fourteen (14) projects were awarded; total funding was $1,250,037. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:
For the FY 2015 award cycle, approximately $1,246,266 was available for project grant awards after subtracting administrative costs. Awards have not yet been finalized.

A total of 10 applications requesting a total of $2,066,724 were received in this year’s competition. In July, a peer-review panel evaluated these applications. The peer panels included faculty from land grant universities and scientists from industry and a Federal lab.
Funds were available to support a total of 6 new awards as Integrated Research & Extension Projects, totaling approximately $1,246,266.

The funding rate for this program in FY11 was 60% for new awards.

Funded projects should address one or more of the following focus areas: (a) Improving alfalfa forage yield and seed yield through better nutrient, water and/or pest management; (b) Improving persistence of alfalfa stands by lessening biotic or abiotic stresses; (c) Improving alfalfa forage and seed harvesting and storage systems to optimize economic returns; (d) Improving estimates of alfalfa forage quality as an animal feed to increase forage usage in animal feeds; and (e) Breeding to address biotic and abiotic stresses that impact alfalfa forage yield and persistence and the production of seed for propagation. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
Program is subject to congressional budget approval in FY 2016. The agency anticipates the same amount of available funding, $1.35 million.

Authorization

High-Priority Research and Extension Initiatives, 7 U.S.C 5925(d)(8).

Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility

(1) State agricultural experiment stations;
(2) colleges and universities;
(3) university research foundations;
(4) other research institutions and organizations;
(5) Federal agencies,
(6) national laboratories;
(7) private organizations or corporations;
(8) individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and
(9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8).

Beneficiary Eligibility

(1) State agricultural experiment stations;
(2) colleges and universities;
(3) university research foundations;
(4) other research institutions and organizations;
(5) Federal agencies,
(6) national laboratories;
(7) private organizations or corporations;
(8) individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and
(9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8).

Credentials/Documentation

Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) – each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information – Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E – Cost Principles applies to this program.

What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov.

Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.

Award Procedure

Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors:
(a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities;
(b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;
(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs;
(d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations;
(e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and
(f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.

2 CFR Part 400 applies to this program.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Approval/Disapproval Decision Time

From 30 to 180 days.

Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subparts D & E apply to this program.

Renewals

Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.

How are proposals selected?

Within guidelines established for the program as described in the RFAs.

How may assistance be used?

The Secretary may award competitive grants for collaborative projects that are mutually beneficial to the United States and other countries and encourage private sector involvement.

What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting

Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual and summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on federally funded projects. The details of these reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. Details of annual and final technical reporting requirements also are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. (Pertinent details regarding Progress Reports are provided above.). A final “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Division, Office of Grants and Financial Management at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division
Office of Grants and Financial Management
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. (Pertinent details regarding Performance Monitoring Reports are provided above.).

Auditing

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F – Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart F—Audit Requirements nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. A non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in § 200.503. Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.

Records

In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, § 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.

Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The term of competitive project grants and/or cooperative agreements under this program may not exceed five (5) years.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

USDA, NIFA, Deputy Director Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS), Division of Plant Systems – Production, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2250, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2250 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.govPhone: 202-401-5024 Fax: 202-401-1782

Website Address

http://nifa.usda.gov/program/agronomic-forage-crops-program

Financial Information
Account Identification

12-1500-0-1-352.

Obligations

(Project Grants) FY 14 $1,250,037; FY 15 est $1,246,266; and FY 16 est $0 – The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislatively authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

NOTE:
For Fiscal Year 2016, a budget was not requested to fund the program.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).

Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 – Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 – Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information

2 CFR Part 175 – Award Term for Trafficking in Persons

2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417 – OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-Wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 – Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 – General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 – Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 – New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 – Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs–General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. —Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in federally-assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) – Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:
The root system is the fundamental means for plants to explore the soil environment and acquire the water and mineral nutrients needed for growth. New crop cultivars that can more efficiently capture resources from the soil are needed for future low-input, high-yield agricultural production systems. In alfalfa, root system architecture (RSA) is believed to affect stand persistence and crop yield. However, selection for persistence and yield has focused on aboveground plant traits, largely ignoring the potential contribution of the root system for crop improvement. The goal of this project is to gain an understanding of root system development in alfalfa for developing germplasm with improved nutrient acquisition and water use to increase persistence and productivity of the crop. Rapid methods will be developed and markers identified to be used to accelerate breeding improved cultivars of alfalfa.

Alfalfa possesses the ability to produce high yields of nutrient dense forage, has excellent drought tolerance, and is an aggressive N fixer. Even so, alfalfa production has declined in the Mid-Atlantic Region from 1 million acres in the mid-1990s to 0.5 million acres in 2013. One way to expand this acreage is to increase exports, as has been successfully done in the western US. If this project is fully implemented, alfalfa acreage in the Mid-Atlantic region could expand by more than 250,000 acres. The development of a successful alfalfa export market in the humid eastern United States is highly dependent upon the production of large quantities of uniform, properly cured, high quality alfalfa hay and containerizing that hay for shipping abroad. This project will evaluate the impact of using hay preservatives (propionic acid and anhydrous ammonia) on the quality and stability of containerized alfalfa hay and develop and implement an alfalfa production school and informational website that specifically targets and supports alfalfa producers in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Alfalfa provides high quality animal feed and offers numerous environmental benefits to agroecosystems, including nitrogen fixation, control of soil erosion, and disruption of pest and weed cycles. Yield is a critical trait for alfalfa, yet long selection cycles due to the perennial nature of the plant limit genetic gain. Total annual yield can be increased by accelerating the selection cycle and by modulating fall dormancy so that plants grow into the autumn and early winter. This extended growing season enhances total production, provided the fall growth does not negatively impact winter survival. This project will evaluate the genetic gain for biomass yield obtained from two cycles of genomic selection based on genome-wide SNP markers generated using genotyping-by-sequencing. This is the first attempt at using genomic selection in alfalfa, and will indicate what benefit, if any, we can expect from using this selection method. In addition, this project will assess the possibility of characterizing fall dormancy in sward plots, testing an alternative method of characterizing fall dormancy.

Alfalfa is the fourth highest economic value crop in the U.S. and 48% of the nation’s alfalfa hay is produced under irrigated conditions. However, rapidly diminishing water resources threaten this productive sector. Deficit irrigation strategies are needed to adjust to periodic droughts while sustaining yield, and to improve alfalfa varieties and irrigation methods to sustain production under water deficits. This project team will 1) develop deficit irrigation strategies to conserve water under drought conditions; 2) quantify the interactions between variety and irrigation strategy and assist in developing new germplasm adapted to periodic water deficits; 3) document the practicality and performance of Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) in controlled studies, and on farmers’ fields; and 4) conduct extension activities and outreach to improve farmer expertise in water management, SDI, and specifically how to deal with periodic water limitations.

This project will do a comprehensive investigation of the biology and management of Lygus bug populations infesting fields of western US alfalfa produced for seed. The team will investigate pest and beneficial arthropod species constituency and abundance, predatory insect feeding behaviors, and dispersal patterns of Lygus. Simultaneously the team will investigate the genetic basis of insecticide resistance, using techniques recently developed. This information will be inserted into a matrix with seasonal insecticide recommendations, based on efficacy on Lygus and safety to beneficial arthropods and pollinators. The material will be made available to growers via traditional and state-of-the-art electronic push extension technologies. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:
These projects are not yet under contract. Awards have not yet been finalized.

Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
We expect this year to have similar project types since we do not anticipate that the subject matter will change.

Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.

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