[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 88 (Friday, May 7, 2010)]
[Pages 25199-25200]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-10690]



National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding the Agriculture 
and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting and request for stakeholder input.


SUMMARY: In Fiscal Year 2009, the National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture (NIFA), formerly known as the Cooperative State Research, 
Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), created a new research, 
education, and extension program called the Agriculture and Food 
Research Initiative (AFRI). The AFRI process has been iterative. 
Pursuant to the requirements of section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, 
and Energy Act of 2008, beginning in September of 2008 CSREES solicited 
public comment from persons who use or conduct research, extension, or 
education regarding the implementing regulation to be developed for 
this new program. In an effort to improve the quality of the AFRI 
program, NIFA is again holding a public meeting and soliciting public 
comments for consideration in the development of the Fiscal Year 2011 
AFRI program solicitations. All comments must be received by close of 
business June 7, 2010, to be considered.

DATES: The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 2, 2010, from 8:30 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the One Washington Circle Hotel, 
1 Washington Circle, NW., Washington, DC 20037. You may submit 
comments, identified by Docket Number NIFA-2010-0001 by any of the 
following methods to the NIFA Docket Clerk:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    E-mail: afri@nifa.usda.gov. Include Docket Number NIFA-2010-0001 in 
the subject line of the message.
    Fax: 202-401-1782.
    Mail: Paper, disk or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to 
AFRI; Competitive Programs (CP) Unit; National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 2240; 1400 
Independence Avenue, SW.; Washington, DC 20250-2240.
    Hand Delivery/Courier: AFRI; Competitive Programs (CP) Unit; 
National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of

[[Page 25200]]

Agriculture; Room 2457, Waterfront Centre; 800 9th Street, SW.; 
Washington, DC 20024.
    All submissions received must include the agency name and the 
Docket Number NIFA-2010-0001. All comments received will be posted to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Terri Joya, (202) 401-1761 
(phone), (202) 401-1782 (fax), or tjoya@nifa.usda.gov.


Additional Meeting and Comment Procedures

    Persons wishing to present oral comments at the Wednesday, June 2, 
2010 meeting are requested to pre-register by contacting Ms. Terri Joya 
at (202) 401-1761, by fax at (202) 401-1782 or by e-mail to 
tjoya@nifa.usda.gov. Participants may reserve one 5-minute comment 
period. More time may be available, depending on the number of people 
wishing to make a presentation and the time needed for questions 
following presentations. Reservations will be confirmed on a first-
come, first-served basis. All other attendees may register at the 
meeting. Written comments may also be submitted for the record at the 
meeting. All comments must be received by close of business June 7, 
2010 to be considered. All comments and the official transcript of the 
meeting, when they become available, may be reviewed on the NIFA Web 
page for six months. Participants who require a sign language 
interpreter or other special accommodations should contact Ms. Joya as 
directed above.

Background and Purpose

    Section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 
(Pub. L. 110-246) amended subsection 2(b) of the Competitive, Special, 
and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)) authorizing the 
Secretary of Agriculture to establish a new competitive grant program 
to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and 
education to address food and agricultural sciences. Subject to the 
availability of appropriations to carry out this program, the Secretary 
may award grants to State agricultural experiment stations; colleges 
and universities; university research foundations; other research 
institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national 
laboratories; private organizations or corporations; individuals; or 
any group consisting of two or more of the aforementioned entities. 
Grants shall be awarded to address priorities in United States 
agriculture in the following areas: (A) Plant health and production and 
plant products; (B) Animal health and production and animal products; 
(C) Food safety, nutrition, and health; (D) Renewable energy, natural 
resources, and environment; (E) Agriculture systems and technology; and 
(F) Agriculture economics and rural communities. To the maximum extent 
practicable, NIFA, in coordination with the Under Secretary for 
Research, Education, and Economics (REE), will make awards for high 
priority research, education, and extension, taking into consideration, 
when available, the determinations made by the National Agricultural 
Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. The 
authority to carry out this program has been delegated to NIFA through 
the Undersecretary for REE.
    NIFA is holding a public meeting to obtain comments to consider in 
developing the Fiscal Year 2011 solicitations for the AFRI competitive 
grants program. The meeting is open to the public. Written comments and 
suggestions on issues that may be considered in the meeting may be 
submitted to the NIFA Docket Clerk at the address above.

Summary of Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

    The program authorizes $700 million in grants for FY 2008-12, of 
which the Secretary may retain no more than 4% for administrative 
costs. Funds will be available for obligation for a two-year period 
beginning in the fiscal year for which funds are first made available. 
Grants will be awarded on the basis of merit, quality, and relevance 
and may have terms of up to 10 years.
    Of the AFRI funds allocated to research activities, section 7406 
directs 60 percent toward grants for fundamental (or basic) research, 
and 40 percent toward applied research. Of the AFRI funds allocated to 
fundamental research, not less than 30 percent of AFRI grants will be 
directed toward research by multidisciplinary teams. In addition, the 
law specifies that of the total amount appropriated for AFRI, not less 
than 30 percent is to be used for integrated programs.

Implementation Plans

    NIFA plans to consider stakeholder input received from this public 
meeting as well as other written comments in developing the Fiscal Year 
2011 solicitations for this program.

    Done at Washington, DC, this 3rd day of May 2010.
Meryl Broussard,
Interim Deputy Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2010-10690 Filed 5-6-10; 8:45 am]