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Schumer & Gillibrand urged the creation of NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative in 2014 Farm Bill

Ithaca, NY – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $980,000 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 grains, fruits, and vegetables. Cornell University will use the funding to advance research in the genetics and seed composition of oats; developing and evaluating new methods for North American breeders to use in the milling industry.

“Cornell has once again proven itself to be a national leader when it comes to agricultural research,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding will allow Cornell to contribute critical research on improving the methods our nation uses to grow and mill important grains like oats. In addition, Cornell’s ground breaking genetic research will help New York farmers build on Upstate New York’s long standing agricultural tradition. I am committed to securing resources like this grant that support Universities like Cornell while also helping our nations agricultural industry.”

“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, a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. “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.”

“Plant breeding involves far more than simply ensuring that crops grow better,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Our research aims to optimize the healthful components of the foods that families rely on every day. Oats play a crucial role in human nutrition, and this grant furthers our mission to improve health through innovative science.”

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.