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Impact of Federal Capacity Funds

Whether it be investments in research to combat invasive species or outreach efforts to build healthier communities, Federal Capacity Funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provide vital support for a broad base of critically important programs that address local, state and national issues. At Cornell University, no other source of continuous funding addresses such a broad array of real-time, real-world issues important to our citizens, our food supply, our environment, and our future.

The $6 million project portfolio managed by CUAES supports an average of 175 researchers in three colleges. If projects also include an outreach and extension component, they might receive additional funding from Cornell Cooperative Extension, who manages Federal Capacity Funds from the Smith-Lever program.

In addition to directly addressing a range of important issues facing our region and especially New York State, funded research projects also enable faculty to be more competitive in applying for subsequent research funding from other sources.

View all currently active projects (pdf)

Read about the impacts of selected projects from previous funding cycles below. 

Impacts of Research Funded by Federal Capacity Funds

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School children collect water samples

School kids help monitor invasive fish species

Nov 1, 2018
This team has engaged students from 60 schools in monitoring the presence and spread of invasive fish species through water sampling and analysis of environmental DNA. These invasives threaten aquaculture, sport fisheries, water quality, and the environment. While fueling the students' interest in science, they help to provide the data from across the state for early detection and action. Impact statement | Read more
Girl eating sweet corn

Improving the nutritional value of sweet corn

May 3, 2018
Sweet corn is the third most commonly consumed vegetable in the United States. Improving its nutritional quality through plant breeding is a cost-effective and sustainable approach to help at-risk segments of the New York population consume the daily recommended amount of important nutrients, such as provitamin A and vitamin E. Impact statement | Read more

Climate change and invasive mussels in New York lakes

May 2, 2018
New York`s lakes are a critical resource, and climate change and invasive mussels are two of the biggest threats to these lakes. How much they interact and change the lake ecology and water quality depends on the lake. The General Lakes Modeling System, expanded and tested by this team, is now used worldwide for assessing the effects of climate change and human activities on lake systems. Impact statement | Read more
Harvesting switchgrass

Sustainability of perennial bioenergy crops on marginal soils

May 1, 2018
Bioenergy production in the Northeast will primarily need to use idled marginal lands to avoid competition for prime farmlands. This team explores, which perennial bioenergy crop varieties can flourish on poorly drained soils or with other challenging soil conditions not suitable for food crops, and how to improve yield under these conditions. Impact statement | Read more
Calves

Improving the economic and environmental sustainability of dairy farms

Apr 29, 2018
Maximizing milk production while minimizing monetary and environmental costs are critical to success for dairy farmers. Managing dairy cows during their transition period to lactation remains the most challenging phase of the lactation cycle. The study identified significant opportunities for improved feeding management during that transition. Impact statement 
Roof top farming in New York City

From the ground up: soil best management practices for rooftop farms

Apr 27, 2018
As the demand for high quality, local produce rises, urban farming has become an attractive option. But challenges like lack of soil, water supply, roof-bearing capacity, and managing nutrient leachate from soil must be addressed for rooftop farming to succeed. The team’s new soil mix increased yield dramatically while maintaining quality. Impact statement 

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