State: Grants available for agricultural researchers

State Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding has announced that more than $860,000 in grant funding is available to researchers interested in finding solutions to some of the most pressing and persistent problems confronting the commonwealth’s farms and farmers.

“Sound research is important to the future of agriculture,” said Redding. “There are a host of challenges and emerging threats that could undermine our ability to grow the food upon which we and our economy depend. Some of these are natural threats, others are the result of a changing marketplace. With better knowledge comes a better understanding of how we can address these real and potential impediments to our continued prosperity.”

Among the topics prioritized for funding this year are research into the spotted lanternfly; new methods and technologies for cost-effectively reducing nutrient loads to Pennsylvania’s waterways; and the efficacy of various avian vaccinations.

The department will also offer micro-grants to research and support the development of micro-credentials or badges that teach specific workforce development skills; solutions to practical problems of hydroponic and aquaponic operations; and remedies to challenges common in urban agricultural operations.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 4 p.m. Jan. 26.