USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has budgeted $23 million for competitive grants during 2011 in the Foundational Program area of plant health and crop production, including weed management. NIFA’s Foundational Programs focus on building knowledge in the fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences that is critical to solving current and future societal challenges.

“We’re grateful that NIFA has restored vital funding to weed science that was missing in last year’s federal budget,” said Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., science policy director of the Weed Science Society of America.  “In light of the growing herbicide resistance problems, farmers and land managers need new integrated weed management strategies now more than ever.”  

Crop and yield losses due to weeds, insects and diseases can be significant, and uncontrolled weeds typically account for over half of those production losses.

In describing its 2011 competitive grants program for “Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants,” NIFA notes it will support projects that focus on improving our understanding of the relationships between agronomic practices and the evolution, spread and subsequent dynamics of herbicide resistance.   It hopes to foster an understanding of ecological fitness and gene flow in weed populations and determine how to use integrated pest management and other ecological processes to manage and control weedy and invasive species.

Initial letters of intent to apply for a weed science grant should be delivered to plants@nifa.usda.gov by March 16.  Final grant proposals are due June 8.  

For further details on the NIFA competitive grants program, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/pdfs/11_afri_foundationaL_final_1-7-11.pdf.