Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Water for Agriculture

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

This AFRI Challenge Area addresses critical water resources issues such as drought, excess soil moisture, flooding, quality and others in an agricultural context. Funding will be used to develop management practices, technologies, and tools for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, public decision makers, public and private managers, and citizens to improve water resource quantity and quality. The long-term goal of the AFRI Water for Agriculture Challenge Area is to tackle critical water issues by developing both regional systems for the sustainable use and reuse, flow and management of water, and at the watershed and farm scales, water issues focused on production and environmental sustainability efforts. Project types supported within this Challenge area are multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects and Food and Agricultural Enhancement (FASE) Grants.

Deadline: August 4, 2016

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

In FY 2016, applications are sought in the following priority areas: (1) Water Availability for Diverse Agricultural Uses: The Right Water for the Right Place and Time (2) Understanding Decisions and Behaviors Connected with Agriculture and Post-harvest Processing Industry Water Use (3) Understanding the Human Health Impacts to Exposure from Nontraditional Water Used in Agriculture 

Eligibility Requirements

1) Research, Education and Extension Projects Eligible applicants for single-function Research, Education or Extension Projects include:1) State Agricultural Experiment Station; 2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); 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, nationals, or permanent residents; and 9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in 1) through 8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations.

2) Integrated Projects Eligible applicants for Integrated Projects include: 1) colleges and universities; 2) 1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and

3) Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities. For Integrated Projects, the terms "college" and "university" mean an educational institution in any state which 1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate; 2) is legally authorized within such state to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; 3) provides an educational program for which a bachelor’s degree or any other higher degree is awarded; 4) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and 5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association. A research foundation maintained by a college or university is eligible to receive an award under this program. 3) Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Section 7101 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246) amended section 1404 of NARETPA (7 U.S.C. 3103) to create a definition for a new group of cooperating institutions: Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities HSACUs). HSACUs are colleges and universities that qualify as Hispanicserving Institutions (HSIs) and offer associate, bachelors, or other accredited degree programs in agriculture-related fields. HSACUs do not include 1862 land-grant institutions.

4) Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement Grants The Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants have additional eligibility requirements. See Part II, D for details.

Amount Description

The amount available to support the AFRI program in FY 2016 will be approximately $350 million. Of this amount, no less than 30 percent will be made available to fund integrated research, education, and extension projects. Of the AFRI funds allocated to research activities, section 7406 of the FCEA directs 60 percent toward grants for fundamental (or basic) research and 40 percent toward grants for applied research. Of the AFRI funds allocated to fundamental research, not less than 30 percent will be directed toward research by multidisciplinary teams. It is anticipated that no less than 15 percent of the FY 2016 funds will be made available for Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants, and no more than two percent of the funds available for fundamental research will be made available for Equipment Grants. 

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

August 4, 2016