The state Department of Agriculture is looking for research proposals on sustaining and growing Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.
“Agriculture bears the brunt of the impact of complex challenges with no simple solutions,” said Russell Redding, secretary. “Research is the first critical step toward managing the costly and complex challenges of today and developing innovative solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.”
In October 2021, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the most recent round of more than $2 million in agriculture research funding.
These grants are helping to increase understanding and control animal and plant diseases and pests; increase farm productivity along with regenerative and organic methods that enrich and sustain the soil and water resources; advance human and animal medicine; apply emerging technology in food safety; and protect pollinators crucial to the food supply, Redding said.
The agriculture department is looking for proposals for research topics including animal health and welfare and its interactions with human and environmental health; study of the impacts of mental health challenges on farm success, the availability of on-farm housing for farm workers, and strategies for recruiting and retaining an agriculture workforce; and consumer research on the appeal of biodegradable packaging and new uses for milk proteins and milk-based products.
Additional research topics include studies of the economic impacts of pest infestations; water and soil management practices on farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that have not received state or federal funding; and programs and initiatives in the PA Pollinator Protection Plan and the PA Farm Bill.
Full proposal guidelines can be found in the PA Bulletin.
In his 2022-’23 budget, Wolf proposed $2.187 million to fund agricultural research under this program. The amount available to fund grant proposals is dependent on the amount funded in the final budget. The grants do not require matching funds.
Proposals must be submitted online using the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application.
Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2022. Applicants who have questions may contact Morgan Sheffield at [email protected] or 717.787.3568.