$150 Million in New USDA Grants for Sustainable Agricultural Systems


The USDA has published a Request for Applications for 2021 Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grants totaling $150 Million. The Grant is run by the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Letters of Intent are due January 7, 2021; applications are due April 1, 2020. Click to view the Request for Applications:

2021 USDA Sustainable Agricultural Systems Grants

The purpose of the Sustainable Agriculture System Grants is to increase agricultural production by 40% in sustainable ways as we approach a world population of 10 billion by 2050, and to do so in the context of economic, societal, and environmental attributes of sustainability.

The Grant Application states that projects should address: “(1) sustainable agricultural intensification; (2) agricultural climate adaptation; (3) value-added innovation; and/or (4) food and nutrition translation. These projects are expected to significantly improve the supply of affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible agricultural products, while fostering economic development and rural prosperity in America.”

If you are interested in partnering with the Aquaponics Association on a grant proposal, please email us at community@legacy.aquaponicsassociation.org. The Aquaponics Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a registration in the Federal Government’s SAM Application System. The Mission of the Aquaponics Association is to expand the practice of aquaponics through education, advocacy, and connection.

The Grants are intended to support “research, education, and extension work by awarding grants to solve key problems of local, regional, national, and global importance in sustaining conventional, organic, and urban agricultural systems. These include farm efficiency, profitability and sustainability, ranching, bioenergy, forestry, aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, mitigating impacts of biotic and abiotic constraints on food production, food safety, mitigating food waste and food loss, physical and social sciences, home economics and rural human ecology, biotechnology, and classical breeding.”

At the Cultivating the Future Conference last month, we discussed that it’s difficult for aquaponics growers to apply for such large-scale grants because the application process is so long, arduous, and expensive. Maybe the USDA will find a way to make it easier for the most sustainable growers to obtain the resources we need to expand.

Conference presenter Angela TenBroeck, CEO of Aqua Hortus Farms suggested that rather than asking growers to undertake the expensive, arduous grant application process, the USDA go into the field and actively seek the growers doing the best work. What do you think?


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