USDA announces $20M in small biz innovation grants |

USDA announces $20M in small biz innovation grants

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $20.2 million for food, forestry research and development projects under the Small Business Innovation Research Innovation program, which is coordinated by the Small Business Administration and administered by 11 federal agencies including USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The SBIR program program offers two phases of investment. Phase I invests in feasibility studies of up to $100,000 and Phase II grants of up to $600,000 support project implementation by grantees who successfully completed Phase I.

Recipients announced today are all receiving Phase II grants. SBIR funding comes from multiple USDA agencies including NIFA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service and U.S. Forest Service.

Examples of projects that will receive funding include:

▪ NVE Corporation in Eden Prairie, Minn., which will develop a prototype salmonella pathogen detector that will reduce the potential for disease outbreaks and costly food recalls.

▪ Nano Terra, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass, which will develop a cost-competitive, low-toxicity, ammonium-free long-term fire retardant for use in wildfire management that is less toxic to fish and mammals.

▪ eWind Solutions, LLC, in Wilsonville, Ore, which will create a wind energy system for small farmers that is efficient, affordable and easy to use. The system collects the stronger, more reliable winds found at higher altitudes that are inaccessible from wind towers that most small farmers can currently afford.

▪ Grafted Growers, LLC, in Tucson, Ariz, which will improve crop production methods and strategies and promote energy conservation and efficiency by developing a sustainable indoor crop growing system (SIGS). SIGS will produce large numbers of affordable, higher quality vegetable transplants using fewer resources using less land than current greenhouse and field production systems.