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Over $9 Million to Address Critical Water Resources Issues
Illinois Ag Connection - 06/15/2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Wednesday announced 14 grants totaling more than $9 million to help solve critical water problems in rural and agricultural watersheds across the United States. The grants are funded through the Water for Agriculture Challenge Area of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Food, water, climate, energy, and environmental issues are all linked together, which is why we invest in multi-level approaches to water management solutions," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "These solutions will improve water resource quantity and quality for America's agricultural systems, and also inform decision makers and citizens alike."

The Water for Agriculture Challenge Area aims to address critical water resources issues such as drought, excess soil moisture, flooding, quality and quantity, and other water issues within an agricultural context.

"Understanding the Human Health Impacts to Exposure from Nontraditional Water Used in Agriculture" includes the University of Illinois, Champaign, which will receive $463,338.

Among the grants, a University of Montana project will improve the efficacy of climate information for water use through developing, testing, and institutionalizing new tools for producers. A University of Florida project will ensure economic sustainability of agriculture and silviculture in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia while protecting the water quantity, quality, and habitat in the Upper Floridian Aquifer.

Since 2014, NIFA has awarded nearly $42 million through the Water for Agriculture Challenge Area. Previously funded projects include a University of Nevada project dedicated to enhancing climate resiliency and agriculture on tribal land. A Clemson University project is focused on developing a near real-time drought forecasting model that would help farmers anywhere in the United States.

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