Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $3.4 million for research projects in support of the new International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) program.

"Wheat is one of the world's most important staple crops, providing a significant amount of daily calories and protein throughout the world," said Secretary Vilsack. "By 2050, the demand for wheat as part of a reliable, affordable, and nutritious diet will grow alongside the world population, and continued wheat research will play an important role in ensuring its continued availability."

Awards for this program will be made through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The new International Wheat Yield Partnership program seeks to enhance agriculture research that can benefit the global community and support the G20 nations' Wheat Initiative with the key aims of enhancing the genetic component of wheat yield and developing new wheat varieties that are adaptable to different geographical regions and environmental conditions. The programs priorities will focus on breakthroughs for wheat breeding using new technologies and also discoveries that lead to significantly greater yield; further, applications that demonstrate coordination and collaboration with international partners are encouraged. Applications are due May 3, 2016 and more information may be found in the NIFA-IWYP Request for Applications.

Along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the international partners involved with IWYP include the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (BBSRC); Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia (GRDC); Department of Biotechnology of India (DBT), from Mexico, the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC); from France, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA); and from Switzerland, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA).

AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grants program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. The program addresses six priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge in fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences critical for solving current and future societal challenges. These priority areas include 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities. More information about AFRI and other funding opportunities are available on the NIFA website.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit nifa.usda.gov/impacts.