Farm bill makes changes in USDA research funding initiative

The 2008 Farm Bill, a.k.a. the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, makes some changes in the agency’s flagship competitive grants program. That program, currently called the National Research Initiative, will be renamed the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Funding for the AFRI will be authorized at $700 million per year, with 60 percent of appropriated funds going to basic research and the remaining 40 percent to applied research programs. Within the total funding for AFRI, a minimum of 30 percent must be for integrated projects — those that integrate research with extension and/or teaching — thereby providing a newly elevated role for extension and education within AFRI. More information about the changes by this legislation, compiled by UW-Madison agricultural economics and colleagues, is available at