Ithaca, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1 million in new federal funding for Cornell University. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA grants support research and programs that help specialty crop growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Cornell University will use the funding to advance research in double cropping and diverse forage crop mixtures to build resilience in the Northeast. Cornell University will also work in collaboration with research stations in Vermont and New Hampshire to increase yield stability and reduce the negative impact of variable weather.
“This grant builds on two of New York’s great strengths, world class education and robust local agriculture,” said Senator Schumer. “Federal funding through NIFA will ensure research opportunities for our students, better yields for our farms, and give New Yorkers access to fruits and vegetables grown in their own backyards. I am thrilled to announce this grant and will continue to fight for New York’s place as a national leader in agriculture technology.”
“Cornell University is one of the most innovative institutions in the country and an ideal place for this significant federal investment, which will give Cornell the tools to continue its groundbreaking advanced research to strengthen the nation’s food and agricultural industries.” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “I will continue to support more federal funding for scientific research at our colleges and universities, so that more young people can be inspired to do research, test their ideas, and help make our communities better places to live.”
“Thanks to the support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Cornell is able to help organic farmers—who typically don’t partake in crop insurance programs—increase resiliency in a time of climate change and extreme weather events,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This funding advances work in developing ‘ecological insurance’ techniques, such as intercropping and diversifying crop rotations with drought tolerant forage crops, that will allow the Empire State’s organic feed and forage producers to reliably and sustainably supply the state’s growing organic milk sector, the third largest in the nation.”
The USDA NIFA program aims to strengthen local food systems and support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, and nursery crops through research, agricultural extension activities, and initiatives to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.