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
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 For the FY 2016 award cycle, $1,853,634 was available for grant awards. A total of 20 applications were received that requested a total of $4,870,015. In June, 2016, a peer-review panel evaluated the applications. The peer panel included faculty from land grant universities and scientists from industry and a Federal lab. Funds were available to support a total of 8 new awards as Integrated Research & Extension Projects totaling $1,854,554. There was a 40% funding success rate for the FY 2016 program. This program seeks to improve the yield and value of alfalfa forage and seed crops, improve persistence of production fields, reduce pest and pathogen pressure, increase tolerance to abiotic stresses including drought and saline soil conditions, improve germplasm by breeding, and reduce hay and silage losses in harvesting and storage. For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 award cycle, $1,853,634 was available for grant awards. A total of twenty (20) applications were received that requested a total of $4,870,015. A peer-review panel evaluated these applications in June, 2016. The peer panels included faculty from land grant universities and scientists from industry and a Federal laboratory. Funds were available to support a total of eight (8) new Integrated Research and Extension Projects awards totaling $1,854,554. The funding success rate for this program in FY 2016 was 40% for new awards. This program seeks to improve the yield of alfalfa forage and seed crops, improve persistence of production fields, reduce pest and pathogen pressure, improve germplasm by breeding, and reduce losses in harvesting and storage of the crop. .
Fiscal Year 2017 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 award cycle, $2,083,825 was available for grant awards. A total of fourteen (14) applications were received that requested a total of $3,459,886. An eight (8) member peer-review panel evaluated these applications on June 22, 2017. The peer panels included faculty from land grant universities and Federal and industry scientists. Funds were available to support a total of eight (8) new integrated research and extension projects awards totaling $2,083,825. The funding success rate for this program in FY 2017 was 57% for new awards. This program seeks to improve the yield of alfalfa forage and seed crops, improve persistence of production fields, reduce pest and pathogen pressure, improve germplasm by breeding, and reduce losses in harvesting and storage of the crop.
Fiscal Year 2018 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 award cycle, $2,086,631 was available for grant awards. A total of 13 applications were received that requested a total of $3,890,106. In June 2017, an eight member peer-review panel evaluated the applications. The peer panel included faculty from 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions (LGIs), Federal scientists, and an industry farmer. Funds were available to support a total of seven (7) new awards as Integrated Research & Extension Projects totaling $2,086,631. There was a 54% funding success rate for the FY 2017 program. This program seeks to establish interdisciplinary and multi-location research and extension networks to address national priorities or regional science needs of the U.S. alfalfa seed and forage industry. It supports the development of improved alfalfa seed and forage production systems, practices, and supporting technologies.
Fiscal Year 2019 For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 award cycle, $2,785,340 was available for grant awards. A total of 37 applications were received that requested a total of $16,699,643. In July 2019, a 14-member peer-review panel evaluated the applications. The peer panel included six faculty from 1862 land-grant universities and one from an 1890 land-grant university; two USDA ARS, one USDA ERS, and one Dept. of Energy Federal scientists; two scientists from private research institutes; and one from a private seed company. Funds were available to support a total of 11 new awards as Integrated Research & Extension Projects plus one new award as a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Research Project, totaling $2,785,340 for twelve awards. There was a 32% funding success rate for the FY 2019 program. This program seeks to establish interdisciplinary, multi-location research and extension networks to address national or regional priority science needs of the U.S. alfalfa industry. It supports the development of improved alfalfa forage and seed production systems, practices, and supporting technologies, including an LCA, that is, an account of energy, material, and environmental emissions and impacts of each stage of the alfalfa production life cycle.
Fiscal Year 2020 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2020: This program is subject to congressional budget approval for FY 2020. At this time, the projected funding level is Zero ($0). If funding is provided, it is anticipated that NIFA will offer only continuation awards in FY 2020. NIFA does not intend to solicit new applications for 2020. Pertinent data to be provided by Program at a future date.
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
The System for Award Management (SAM) combines eight federal procurement systems, including CCR, and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system. CCR activities are conducted through SAM (the CCR website will redirect users to SAM). Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM): Each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR SS 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR SS 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 Competitive 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." SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available as follows: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is not required for this listing. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. 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.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) only accepts electronic applications which are submitted via Grants.gov in response to specific Requests for Applications (RFA). Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. For information about the pre-award phase of the grant lifecycle application processes see: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grants-101/pre-award-phase.html. Further, applicants must follow the instructions provided in the NIFA Grants.gov Application Guide, which can be assessed as follows: Adobe NIFA Applications. 2 CFR part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and 2 CFR part 400 USDA's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards apply to this program. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
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 Competitive Request for Applications (RFA). 2 CFR 200 - Subpart C and Appendix I and 2 CFR part 400 apply to this Program. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 30 to 60 days. Contact the National Program Leader (NPL), as indicated per CFDA Section # 152 - Headquarters Office regarding dates for specific deadlines, start and end dates, and range of approval/disapproval time. Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. NIFA's respective links regarding general information are provided below: http://nifa.usda.gov/ http://www.grants.gov. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for further specific and pertinent details. The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database.
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), which are generally published annually. The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program
How are proposals selected?
2 CFR part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and 2 CFR part 400 USDA's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards apply to this program. Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Competitive Request for Application (RFA). The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program
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
Performance Reports: PERFORMANCE MONITORING: See above for pertinent and specific details.
Auditing
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, SS 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 200 Subpart D applies to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
In accordance with statutory time limits, project periods, including no-cost extensions of time, are not to exceed five (5) years. Further details are provided in the Award document Form NIFA-2009 and the NIFA General Terms and Conditions Grants and Cooperative Agreements (dated October 2016) at: https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifa-general-terms-and-conditions-grants-and-cooperative-agreements-october-2016. SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to the Competitive Request for Applications (RFAs) for specific and pertinent details. The most current RFAs are available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program RFAs are generally released annually. Hence, the RFAs provide the most current and accurate information available. Any specific instructions in the Competitive RFAs supersede the general information provided in the CFDA database. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Letter.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
NIFA is transitioning to a new location for Fiscal Year 2020. NIFA's New Mailing Address AFTER September 30, 2019 follows: National Institute of Food and Agriculture 6501 Beacon Drive Kansas City, MO 64133
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, DC 20250-2250 US
Policy@nifa.usda.gov
Phone: 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 18$2,086,631.00; FY 19 est $2,785,340.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$2,083,825.00; FY 16$1,853,634.00; - SPECIAL NOTES: (1) The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive and/or capacity project grant, or cooperative agreement are established, these amounts will be announced in the annual Competitive Request for Application (RFA). The most current RFA is available via: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alfalfa-and-forage-research-program
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
As an administrator of U.S. government support, NIFA works in partnership with grantees to ensure responsible stewardship of federal funds. Our grantees and partners are required to comply with all relevant rules and regulations. The following resources are provided to NIFA's partners and award recipients to support their adherence to federal regulations governing program performance: NIFA's primary (main) website: https://nifa.usda.gov/regulations-and-guidelines The following represent specific documents and direct links: POLICY GUIDE NIFA's Federal Assistance Policy Guide describes agency policies and procedures. https://nifa.usda.gov/policy-guide CERTIFICATIONS AND REPRESENTATIONS Certifications and representations provided through the NIFA application process. https://nifa.usda.gov/certifications-and-representations ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF USDA SUPPORT BY NIFA When acknowledging USDA support in accordance with 2 CFR Part 415, grantees must use the following acknowledgement for all projects or initiatives supported by NIFA. https://nifa.usda.gov/acknowledgment-usda-support-nifa FEDERAL REGULATIONS The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) lists all regulations published in the Federal Register. https://nifa.usda.gov/federal-regulations FOIA The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal documents and information such as research data. https://nifa.usda.gov/foia NEPA POLICY AND GUIDANCE The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Policy and Guidance set the standard for identifying potential environmental impacts. https://nifa.usda.gov/nepa-policy-and-guidance OGFM ISSUED CORRESPONDENCE The Office of Grants and Financial Management occasionally issues correspondence to applicants, grantees, and/or the general public for informational or clarification purposes. https://nifa.usda.gov/ogfm-issued-correspondence RESEARCH MISCONDUCT NIFA requires that all its awardees adhere to the USDA Scientific Integrity Policy and the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct. https://nifa.usda.gov/research-misconduct NIFA'S GENERAL AWARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS Award terms and conditions are determined by statutory, regulatory, and agency requirements, as well as each grant's circumstances. Terms and conditions dictate important items related to your grant, including method of payment, reporting frequency and content, and prior approval requirements. References to the terms and conditions of awards are located on the NIFA 2009 Award Fact Sheet. NIFA's general award terms and conditions (see link below) is applicable to this program, for awards with an award date on December 26, 2014 and thereafter. https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifa-general-terms-and-conditions-grants-and-cooperative-agreements-october-2016.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 Anticipated projects in FY 2016 will address one (1) or more of the following focus areas: (a) Improving alfalfa forage yield and seed yield through better nutrient, water 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. 1. Impact of Microbial Inoculants on the Quality and Fermentation Stability of Alfalfa Round-bale Baleage Alfalfa is a high protein and highly digestible forage for beef cattle producers and dairies. This project looks at microbial inoculant technologies the improve fermentation of alfalfa grass baleage to improve the appeal of alfalfa to beef and dairy producers. To date the program has successfully trained local producers on improving the establishment of alfalfa acreage as evidenced by increased skill by producers in producing high quality alfalfa and alfalfa-mixed baleage. In addition the team has trained county agents in successful management practices. Three (3) field days have been held. 2. Forage Quality Improvement in Reduced-Lignin Alfalfa Monoculture and Alfalfa-Grass Binary Mixtures Alfalfa provides multiple ecosystems services in addition to being an important rotation crop. Reduced lignin alfalfa is a more digestibly feed and therefore will increase the value of alfalfa as a feed. This project will look at using new varieties of reduced lignin alfalfa grown in both monoculture and mixed stands. To date this study has established their plots of alfalfa in addition to mixed stand plots with orchargrass and meadow fescue. In addition, one (1) sample cutting was harvested and photos have been taken to analyze grass stands. The team has also begun doing educational extension presentations at forage specific meetings in throughout New York State. 3. Potato Leafhopper Threshold Revised for Alfalfa Host Resistance and Alfalfa Grass Mixtures Potato Leafhopper is a pest that has a high negative impact on alfalfa crops and therefore alfalfa economics. This study will look at resistant varieties and potential mixtures that can decrease damage by leafhopper. In addition, this study will also create guidelines that establish threshold values so producers will know when it is economically advantageous to apply insecticide. This study will look at leafhopper in three (3) states: Maryland Ohio and Wisconsin. To date, the project has established field plots in all locations. Samples from the first year have been collected but no results have been attained yet. 4. Reestablishing IPM Recommendations for Aphids in Alfalfa Hay in the Low Desert. Currently aphids are a serious pest for alfalfa, but most of the time broad spectrum insecticides are used to control them. An economic threshold of aphid has never been established or alternatives looked at in the low desert. This project will establish an economic threshold and investigate the efficacy of selective insecticide management for aphids in alfalfa. Guidelines have been shared with growers and the team sees them using these management practices. Survey data showed 25% of producers are using targeted insecticides relative to broad spectrum. In addition, the team identified a natural biological control agent, and entomopathogenic fungi that infects aphids, and are starting to develop communication about this. 5. Developing Molecular Markers for Enhancing Resistance to Drought and High Salinity in Alfalfa Alfalfa, the fourth most widely produced crop in the US, yield is limited by water. Much of the crop is irrigated and with climate change effects, adaptation to drought and salt tolerance will be beneficial traits. This project will identify germplasm with drought and salt resistance and develop populations with a high percentage of resistance. The project has identified 20 traits of interest and evaluated. Greenhouse plants were tested for four (4) traits related to salt stress: Dry weight, plant height, chlorophyll content and stomatal conductance and plant performance was assessed. 24 potential molecular markers have been identified that will be used for marker-assisted breeding in the future.
Fiscal Year 2017 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2017: 1. Developing regionally-adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools; 2. Proximal and remote sensing of alfalfa canopies for early detection of insect stress and rapid integrated pest management decision making; 3. Development of grazing recommendations and on-farm decision tools for managing alfalfa-grass mixtures in the Southeastern US; 4. Bacterial stem blight of alfalfa: Connection with frost damage, development of resistant germplasm, and mapping resistance genes; and 5. Identifying factors to optimize establishment of alfalfa inter-reduced seeded in corn.
Fiscal Year 2018 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2018: 1. More efficient methods for characterizing winter survival; 2. Developing alfalfa tolerant of saline soils; 3. Quantifying resilience, a quantitative trait; 4. Remote sensing in study and reduction of traffic impact on production; and 5. Genomics to enable selection for reduced inbreeding depression.
Fiscal Year 2019 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2019: Four of the twelve projects to be funded for 2019, those rated “Outstanding” by the review panel, are: 1. Developing regionally-adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools 2. Advancing the use of alfalfa leaf protein concentrate in aquafeeds to enhance finfish production and reduce environmental impacts in aquaculture production 3. Insecticide Resistant Alfalfa Weevils in the Western US: Quantifying Scope of Resistance and Implementing a Plan to Manage the Threat 4. Restoring grasslands with the addition of alfalfa in an effort to sustainably increase alfalfa production in the Southeast In addition, the life-cycle analysis project to be funded will be: Improving alfalfa-based livestock forage production systems using life cycle assessment.
Fiscal Year 2020 FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2020: Data is not yet available. It is projected that NIFA will offer only continuation awards in FY 2020. NIFA does not intend to solicit new applications for 2020 Pertinent information will be provided by program at a future date once received.

 


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