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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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Developing an algae-based food to replace fishmeal in fish farming

Jan 25, 2021

Fish producers have looked to plant-based solutions for sustainable fish feed ingredients, but challenges persisted in finding the right recipe that keeps costs down, and keeps fish healthy and nutritious. This study, supported by Cornell AES Hatch funds, represents both the potential and challenges of using microalgae in aquafeed to replace feed based on fish products. Impact statement - fish food

Researchers assessing forests in New York Sate

Natural barriers to exclude deer encourage forest regeneration and diversity

Nov 15, 2020

Deer browsing poses an increasing threat to healthy and productive forests in the northeast. Natural barriers known as “Slash Walls” utilize low-value logging residues to protect regenerating forest areas from deer for a decade or more, while the young trees grow beyond their reach. Watch video. 

Red barn in rural landscape

Cornell social scientists win national acclaim for rural population research

Oct 27, 2020

Cornell University is part of a multidisciplinary, multi-institution research team that earned the National Excellence in Multistate Research Award. The project conducts research on the most pressing demographic, economic, social, and environmental challenges faced by rural communities in the U.S.

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 evaluates the performance of peppers, peas, beans and cucumbers, and uses 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