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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 Cornell AES 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.

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

Impacts of Research Funded by Federal Capacity Funds

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Red barn in field

Cornell social scientists honored for rural community impact

Jun 23, 2020

For their work addressing the causes and consequences of demographic change in rural America, a team of Cornell sociologists and other rural scholars have earned the Excellence in Multistate Research Award, given by the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

Powdery mildew on a hop leaf

Improving management of hop powdery mildew

May 7, 2020

Powdery mildew – which destroyed the hop industry in New York state in the early 1900s – remains a threat to producers. This project is helping growers, brewers and others, battle hop powdery mildew by better understanding this pathogen and by improving integrated pest management programs informed by this research. Impact statement - hop powdery mildew

Cow outside

Decreasing inflammatory diseases in dairy cows

May 5, 2020

In the dairy industry, production-related diseases decrease animal well-being and increase the cost of dairy production. This research takes a new approach to controlling inflammation in cows. Impact statement - dairy cow inflammation

High tunnel

Vegetable variety improvement for high tunnel production

May 4, 2020

High tunnels – plastic covered hoop houses – improve the availability and quality of produce beyond New York State’s relatively short growing season. This project evaluated the performance of peppers, peas, beans and cucumbers, and used traditional plant breeding methods to produce new varieties that perform well in high tunnels. Impact statement - high tunnels

Frank Hay and colleague in a laboratory

Unwrapping the mysteries of fungal diseases of onion

May 2, 2020

The fungal disease Stemphylium leaf blight (SLB) has emerged as a major threat to New York state’s $52M-a-year onion industry. This project educated onion growers about SLB and its resistance to fungicide, and identified effective treatment plans. Impact statement - onion diseases

Trees in a city

Helping urban trees to adapt to climate change

Nov 15, 2019

Almost 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and depends on the essential ecological, economic, and social benefits provided by urban trees and forests. This project strengthens the health of trees in cities by evaluating and carefully selecting suitable tree species, and by transforming compact urban soils to help trees thrive long-term in a challenging environment. Impact statement - urban trees