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Auburn University: Agricultural funding received for research grants, new equipment

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This past year, Auburn University’s College of Agriculture announced the availability of state-funded research and equipment purchase capital for fiscal year 2023. These competitively awarded grants were offered through the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) research program.

A total of 34 proposals were submitted across the three principal AAES programs: AgR-SEED, Production Agricultural Research (PAR) and equipment grants. Of these, 22 AgR-SEED proposals, four PAR grants and three equipment grants were selected to receive funding.

“This funding addresses some of the most immediate and long-term needs of agriculture, at both the state and national levels,” said Art Appel associate dean for research in the College of Agricultural and associate director of the AAES.

The grants are administered through the AAES with USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch funding and matching state appropriations. Many of the two-year, $50,000 grants support combined research and extension projects to address current farming problems in a timely manner through applied research.

PAR projects, explained Appel, typically address a specific problem and/or challenge being experienced currently by Alabama agricultural producers. PAR grant recipients must also include a “demonstration of stakeholder involvement and focus on achieving an immediate/near-term solution.”

AgR-SEED, meanwhile, stands for Agricultural Research Enhancement, Exploration and Development.

“These projects ask applicants to present a specific agricultural research topic that may require more in-depth investigation,” Appel said. “The topics may expand knowledge about well-known problems or investigate new areas using cutting-edge methods.”

AgR-SEED applicants are asked to summarize the body of knowledge and show (if available) any previously completed research activities that are related to the proposed project. The overall investigative scope of AgR-SEED projects may have both a state and national reach.

“Applicants are asked to share what the potential long-term impact will be from achieving improvement in—and sustainability of— the U.S. agricultural, food and forestry systems, and the potential their AgR-SEED research topic has in securing larger funding from federal sources,” Appel said.

Also, for FY 2023, the AAES program accepted grant applications for faculty requested equipment purchases. And, for the first time, the program accepted applications for the purchase of databases, which are particularly useful in economic and marketing research. This program requires applicants to contribute a 50% match.