USDA-NIFA Invests Over $15M in Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities


KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 2, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced an investment of over $15 million to support building new and better markets for U.S. agriculture and rural communities.

“These critical research investments support the economic, social and environmental sustainability of agriculture and rural communities,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “Outcomes of this research will inform decision making, policy design and implementation to enhance agricultural production systems and promote rural economic development and prosperity that is inclusive, equitable and has long-lasting impacts.”

This investment is under the NIFA’s Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities (AERC) program’s Economics, Markets and Trade priority area. AERC addresses challenges facing the evolving agricultural sector within rural communities, including implications for food production and consumption, and natural resources management to protect the environment in the face of increasing global demands for food production.

AERC is part of the NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Foundational and Applied Science program, which builds on the fundamental and applied knowledge foundation in food and agricultural sciences that is critical for solving real-world problems.

Collectively, this funding will support 27 projects. These research projects will develop theories, methods and applications for agricultural economics.

Examples of fiscal year 2022 funded projects, include:

  • The University of Connecticut will generate new knowledge about forming preferential trade agreements, their impact on global trade, and the consequences for U.S. agricultural and food businesses and employment. The project will help to inform federal policies that aim to foster the competitiveness of U.S. farmers and ranchers and increase their participation and success in international markets. ($650,000)
  • University of Florida, in cooperation with California Polytechnic State University and USDA’s Economic Research Service, will investigate the growth and locational patterns of dollar stores with respect to store demographic, socioeconomic and market-level characteristics; the impact of dollar-store growth on changes in household purchasing behavior; and the effect of dollar-store entry on the viability of independent grocery stores. The work will shed light on the consequences of dollar-store growth on U.S. retail market structure, inform policymakers, and contribute to sustainable U.S. food systems and economic development. ($623,756)
  • Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, is partnering with Virginia Tech and ICF International to develop and evaluate a choice-experiment architecture using online, interactive and map-based software to determine valuation for large-scale agricultural conservation and ecosystem services. The methods developed will provide a means to estimate respondents’ willingness to pay for a wide array of conservation programs and practices, resulting in credible estimates of economic value linked to agricultural conservation practices. ($799,994)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in partnership with Prairie View A&M University, will investigate the influence of packer market power on the beef market during the pandemic. The project aims to improve the sustainability and resiliency of the U.S. beef production system. ($203,752)
  • North Carolina A&T University will provide experiential learning opportunities for students in agricultural and related sciences through a research symposium of all 1890 Land-grant Universities. Students will participate in active learning sessions across many science diciplines. The symposium, planned for April 2-5, 2022, in Atlanta, Ga., will showcase the research power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and encourage the next generation of scientists and agricultural professionals. ($50,000)

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY 2021, NIFA’s total investment was $1.96 billion.


Information courtesy of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture