Real Plants Florida
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Provide native plant input to USDA NIFA by Friday December 1, 2017

Information courtesy of Rob Fiegener, Native Seed Network Institute for Applied Ecology:
You understand the important roles that native plants play in our ecosystems.
Do you believe that additional research, education, and extension are needed to increase their supply and usage?


The USDA is evaluating funding priorities and is receiving input NOW (DEADLINE Friday Dec. 1). Please submit brief comments to USDA that native plants are a critical and under-funded component of agriculture. This is a rare opportunity and may influence funding programs for years to come.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the grant-making agency of USDA, is currently soliciting input through a survey process called NIFA Listens. They are asking two questions:

1. What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?
2. What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

The connections between NIFA and native plants are abundant, but the amount of funding is not. Here are some of NIFA’s priority program areas with direct connections to native plants:

  • Plant health and production and plant products
  • Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment
  • Agriculture economics and rural communities

Sustainable management of farm, forest, and rangeland ecosystems requires an abundance and diversity of native plants. Native plants comprise the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends. Native plants are specialty crops that are forage for livestock, habitat for game, and habitat for pollinators. Native plants have valuable horticultural, medicinal, and industrial applications. Native species are crop wild relatives and important genetic resources for agriculture. A diversity of native species are the foundational natural resources upon which all life depends. Re-establishing healthy ecosystems with rich native species diversity will require commercially available sources of genetically appropriate native seed, and the knowledge and tools to successfully distribute and establish that seed. We currently lack a basic understanding of native plant production as a component of our economy.

Time is short but this doesn’t have to be difficult. Responses are short (max 600 words) and can be simple. You are welcome to borrow or adapt any language from this informationh. A large number of responses on the topic of native plants will have a greater impact, especially if received from a broad array of entities (NGOs, producers, universities, agencies, etc.). Submissions can come from individuals and organizations.

Please take a few moments now to tell NIFA your thoughts.

take survey button