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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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Improving Small Grain Varieties for Farms and Consumers

May 13, 2017
Developing superior varieties of small grains that show improved yield, nutritional value, and disease resistance, is important for farmers and consumers alike. Three new winter wheat varieties are now available to farmers. Malting barley varieties from around the world are being tested for the state's budding craft beer industry.  Read more

Helping Community Supported Agriculture to Succeed

May 12, 2017
This research takes a novel approach to estimate the local “appetite” for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It analyzes the public dialog about food on some social media platforms, to gage the commitment in that area to CSA principles: the production of fresh, safe food by local producers who are compensated at a fair price. Read more

Increasing Cover Crop Utilization in the Northeast

May 11, 2017
Cover crops provide countless benefits to producers and the environment. This team researched different tools and methods, such as drill-interseeding, roll-crimped cover cropping systems, and cover crops used as forage. Increased efficiencies help busy farmers to adopt cover crops as part of their standard farming practice.   Read more
School children collect water samples

School Kids Help Find Invasive Fish

Apr 27, 2017
Grade school and high school students from 60 schools are evaluating environmental DNA by collecting water samples to identify spread of invasive fish species in New York. The students have collected water samples from Long Island to the Canadian border, providing valuable scientific project data, while fueling their own interest in science. Impact statement | Read more

The Ithacan: More efficient firefighter equipment

Dec 6, 2016
Rumit Kakar’s research aims to improve the comfort and efficiency of firefighters by using personalized boot heights and a new harness backpack design. The study is supported in part by CUAES Federal Capacity Funds. Read more

Reducing Risk-taking Behaviors in Adolescents

Mar 16, 2016
Adolescents take more risks than other age groups, often resulting in preventable and sometimes tragic consequences. When educating adolescents about subjects like obesity or sexual behavior, focusing on key messages and limiting details, can help youth retain information and make healthier choices. (PDF) Read more

Task Forces Help with Invasive Beetle Management

Mar 15, 2016
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive, non-native beetle that will likely kill all species of ash in New York. Counties, municipalities, and landowners must make management decisions to mitigate EAB impact. This project create local task forces to provide assistance in this process. (PDF) Read more

High Value from High Tunnels

Mar 14, 2016
From vegetables, to berries and flowers – unheated high tunnels can extend New York’s growing season by two months, benefiting producers and consumers alike. Cornell’s research on best varieties, growing methods and economic viability helps growers to successfully utilize high tunnel production and increase profits.  Read more
Trees in urban landscape design

Maximizing Ecosystem Benefits of Urban Trees

Mar 13, 2016
By advancing urban forestry research and training foresters, architects and students, this program provides the knowledge and tools to successfully integrate trees in urban landscape design and mitigate the effects of urban heat islands. (PDF) Read more


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