The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the award recipients of more than $2 million in Alfalfa and Forage Research Program (AFRP) funding to study an array of topics affecting the alfalfa industry.

Now in its fourth year of funding, the AFRP was created to support integrated, collaborative research and technology transfer to improve the efficiency and sustainability of alfalfa forage and seed production systems. It encourages projects that establish multi-disciplinary networks to address priority national or regional science needs of the alfalfa industry. The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) worked closely with Senator Moran (R-KS) and others to secure a $1.35 million appropriation in FY ’14 and ’15, a $2 million appropriation in FY ’16, and a $2.25 million appropriation in FY ‘17. The following projects were awarded funding:

“The AFRP continues to enhance alfalfa production all over the country,” said NAFA President Beth Nelson. “Its scope and reach becomes more impressive every year.”

AFRP funds are collaborative in nature meaning each project submission must include a collaboration among organizations in at least three states as a requirement of funding. Researchers from 19 states will share in this funding.
AFRP supports the development of improved alfalfa forage and seed production systems. Its focus areas include improving: alfalfa forage and seed yield through better nutrient, water and/or pest management; persistence of alfalfa stands by lessening biotic or abiotic stresses; alfalfa forage and seed harvesting and storage systems to optimize economic returns; estimates of alfalfa forage quality as an animal feed to increase forage usage in animal feeds; and/or breeding to address biotic and abiotic stresses that impact forage yield and persistence and the production of seed for propagation.