WASHINGTON D.C - USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service today awarded $5 million in grants to 11 universities and USDA's Agricultural Research Service to conduct research, education and extension projects aimed at improving and protecting air resources by reducing agricultural atmospheric emissions.

"Developing research-based information on air quality issues is critical for America's farmers and ranchers," said Colien Hefferan, CSREES administrator. "Understanding the sources and fate of agricultural emissions is critical for developing effective mitigation strategies and best management practices to protect our natural resources and environment."

The awards are administered through the CSREES' National Research Initiative (NRI) Air Quality competitive grants program. This grant program seeks to improve knowledge of the environmental fate of agricultural atmospheric emissions, as well as increase adoption of best management practices to improve air quality and protect human and environmental health. The CSREES Air Quality program has awarded more than $25 million in the past five years.

Funded projects include research at Kansas State University to study the concentrations and emission fluxes of particulate matter, selected volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases from a large cattle feedlot. Researchers at the University of Arkansas will develop a relatively simple and inexpensive ammonia emission mitigation system for commercial broiler chicken houses. A University of Colorado project will determine the impact on air quality from the production of four biofuel crops.

The fiscal year 2008 grants are being awarded to the following institutions:

  • University of Arkansas, $97,123
  • University of California, $529,885
  • University of Colorado, $398,253
  • University of Illinois, $599,928
  • Indiana University, $399,689
  • Indiana University, $399,986
  • Kansas State University, $399,981
  • Princeton University, $100,000
  • Texas A&M University, $174,404
  • USDA-ARS, $599,825
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute, $597,998
  • Washington State University, $354,788

  • CSREES' NRI program has been the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program at USDA. Its purpose was to support research, extension and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. The 2008 Farm Bill did not renew the NRI, but did authorize the creation of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

    Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.