USDA-Capacity Building, NCR-SARE Partnership, and CRDF U.S.-Ukraine collaborative research grants

By: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program Director

Several program specialists and scientists at the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers have received USDA-Capacity Building, NCR-SARE Partnership, and CRDF US-Ukraine collaborative research grants in recent months.

The Ohio State University joined in a collaborative partnership with Central State University (CSU) through a project ($592,493) funded by the USDA National Institutes for Food and Agriculture under the 1890 Land Grant Institution Capacity Building Program. Rafiq Islam, Brad Bergefurd, and Matthew Smith are the OSU investigators, who will help to guide CSU’s capacity building to provide academic education, conduct applied research, and disseminate Extension outreach on water chemistry of aquaponics production system over a 3-year period. Both CSU and OSU will jointly disseminate findings from the study to urban youth, and disadvantaged farmers, environmentalists, and other stakeholders.

Rafiq Islam and Natalia Didenko (a former USDA-FAS Borlaug fellow from Ukraine) received a 1-year collaborative grant proposal funding ($107,000) from the CRDF Global* 2017 U.S.-Ukraine Agricultural Research Competition. The goal of the project is to develop suitable agricultural management practices based on novel and holistic approaches of crop diversification with plant stress alleviator (salicylic acid - aspirin) under continuous no-till that help to improve soil quality, water- and nutrient-use efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and increase economic crop productivity with enhanced agroecosystem services.

The research team members from the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Kyiv, the Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, Kherson State Agrarian University, Dnipro State Agrarian University, and The Ohio State University. Funding for year one of this project will help to establish the test plots for what is hoped to be a long-term effort to identify the most promising agronomic combinations to maintain and/or improve soil health and agroecosystem services in dry conditions in Ukraine.

Proven traditional and electronic outlets will be used for outreaching Ukrainian clientele to show agriculture is not the problem, but a part of the environmental solution.

Rafiq Islam and Vinayak Shedekar in collaboration with Alan Sundermeier from The Ohio State University Extension - Wood County has received a collaborative grant funding ($29,980) from the USDA NCR-SARE Partnership Program. The goal of the project is to develop soil health testing, interpretations, management recommendations for farmers by the team of soil scientists, and extension educators. Farmers growing grain and vegetable crops in Ohio, and representing a wide range of practices such as no-till, conventional tillage, cover crop, and crop rotations will be reached by the program.

*CRDF Global is an independent non-profit that was originally named the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation for the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (CRDF) and was funded by the U.S. Government under the Freedom Support Act.