No Crop Left Behind: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to USDA/NIFA’s Coordinated Agricultural Projects

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You might be wondering what the heck this map signifies — enthroned as it is on the website of the National Insitute of Food & Agriculture, the USDA’s primary intersection with the academic community — and also visible in an updated form at ABLC Next when USDA Energy Policy director Harry Baumes took the floor.

Er, what are AHB, SUBI, BANR, SBAR, NARA, CENUSA, SPARC, IBSS and NEWBIO?

You’d be forgiven if you mistook Ahb Subi Banr-Sbar for a well-placed official in the Iranian government — but, in fact, it’s a 9-project network to facilitate the development of regionally-based industries producing advanced biofuels, industrial chemicals, and other biobased products.

Seven of them were established in a $156 million NIFA commitment to AFRI Regional Bioenergy System’s  Coordinated Agricultural Projects, plus two grants that NIFA awarded in recent months that have similar goals.

Because it’s a mouthful, they generally call them CAPs, rather than Coordinated Agricultural Projects. They occasionally get decoded as Challenge Area Partnerships, or even Crop Advancement Projects, or Centers for Agricultural Progress. Under any decoding, it’s CAP and they are about pushing yields, growing regions, logistics for harvest and distribution, and especially for emerging crops and varietals.

Or, as we like to think of it, as No Crop Left Behind.

The really interesting thing, if you look at the USDA’s map, here — is that the only state in the Lower 48 that isn’t in a project area is Oklahoma. Since the EPA has apparently moved to Oklahoma, perhaps this is balancing things out a little in terms of federal spending.

In any case, NIFA’s Bill Goldner gave this illuminating overview of the USDA’s (and NIFA’s) coordinated agricultural project strategy, at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.