USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Administrator Colien Hefferan announced today that USDA is awarding $5 million to 10 universities to conduct research, extension and education activities on management practices that will lead to reductions in agricultural air emissions and odor levels.

"Developing research-based information on air quality issues in an increasingly regulated environment is critical for America's farmers and ranchers," Hefferan said. "By educating the next generation of land managers with sound science through high-impact extension programs, we help producers make informed decisions that are critical to sustaining agriculture."

The awards are administered by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) whose National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program on Air Quality focuses on developing emission data for agricultural production practices and mitigation techniques. The program also seeks to increase knowledge about the transport and end destination of released odor, gases and particulate matter as well as educate producers and the regulatory community about technologies and best practices to lessen the production and transport of agricultural emissions and trace greenhouse gases. The CSREES air quality program has awarded more than $20 million in grants over the past four years.

Funded projects include research to distinguish among greenhouse gas emissions from cropland, animal operations and urban land cover at the University of California, while the University of Nebraska - Lincoln will conduct extension educational programs on best management practices for air quality issues in animal agriculture and develop course curricula.

The fiscal year 2006 grants are being awarded to the following institutions:

Alabama A&M University, $200,000
University of California - Irvine, $499,276
University of Connecticut, $499,429
Georgia Institute of Technology, $499,780
University of Illinois, $499,858
Iowa State University, $499,933
Kansas State University, two awards, $427,659 and $499,378
University of Kentucky, $487,087
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, $498,562
Texas A&M University, $359,038

CSREES' NRI program is the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program at USDA. Its purpose is to support research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.

Source: USDA