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NEWS RELEASE

USDA Awards Over $18.1 Million in Small Business Grants to Promote Innovative Research

Contact:
Julie Quick (202) 720-4623
James Spurling (202) 720-8187

Printable version

Release No. 0494.04

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2004-Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that 129 small businesses in 42 states have received Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants totaling over $18.1 million for fiscal year 2004.

"These grants will help qualified small businesses conduct innovative research on important agricultural problems that could lead to significant public benefit," Veneman said.

The grants are awarded in two phases in 11 topic areas including: Forests and Related Resources, Plant Production and Protection, Animal Production and Protection, Air Water and Soils, Food Science and Nutrition, Rural and Community Development, Aquaculture, Industrial Applications, Marketing and Trade, Wildlife and Animal Waste Management.

In Phase I of this program companies use the grants to explore the feasibility of the technology they are proposing. Grants are provided for up to $80,000 and can last up to eight months. Examples of Fiscal Year 2004 Phase I projects include investigation into:

  • An improved quality soy-oil based biodiesel fuel
  • The ability to provide broadband telecommunications for rural America
  • An advanced system for early detection of feedlot diseases and improved animal tracking

Companies that successfully complete their Phase I projects are eligible to apply for Phase II grants with awards up to $300,000 and with a maximum two-year project duration. During this phase, the companies build upon the work conducted in Phase I and begin to develop strategies that will lead to the commercialization of a viable product. Examples of Fiscal Year 2004 Phase II projects include:

  • Genetic screening to identify rice varieties with enhanced value-added properties
  • The creation of a vaccine for farmed salmon to protect against an important infectious disease
  • A procedure to enhance fruit juice concentration processes

Further information on the USDA's SBIR program can be viewed at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/sbir/sbir.html.

SBIR is administered through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) whose mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well being and communities. More information about CSREES can be found at http://www.csrees.usda.gov.