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California Department of Food and Agriculture accepting grant proposals for 2015

Concept proposals due by January 16, 2015

By Diego Flammini,

People interested in advancing the research of safe and agronomical use of fertilizing materials can apply for grants from California’s Department of Agriculture’s Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP).

The proposal requests include a number of initiatives decided on by the state’s department of agriculture to manage nitrogen fertilizers. For 2015, nutrient management including fertigation, irrigation, crop development and soil fertility are among the specific areas being looked at to help improve management practices.

Research proposals should be able to fill gaps in nitrogen management for crops including pima cotton, processing tomatoes, walnuts, and deep rooted vegetables like carrots.

There are two phases for proposals:

Phase I
The request for concept proposals is updated yearly as new research opportunities arise. These proposals are due January 16, 2015 and will be reviewed by FREP’sTechnical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC). They’ll recommend which proposals qualify for Phase II of the process. TASC’s decision should come in early spring.

Phase II
In addition to being reviewed by the TASC, full proposals are also subject to review by an independent panel consisting of experts in fertilizing materials, agronomy, plant physiology, principles of experimental research, production agriculture, and environmental issues related to using fertilizing materials.

Proposals that focus on research or education projects can be submitted by anyone. Funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to three years is standard. Projects requiring more will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

FREP’s involvement in projects dates back to 1990. Since then, they’ve helped support more than 160 projects in California.

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