SEC. 7406. AGRICULTURE AND FOOD RESEARCH INITIATIVE.
(a) In General.—Subsection (b) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)) is amended to read as follows:
``(b) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.—
``(1) Establishment.—There is established in the Department of Agriculture an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative under which the Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this subsection as `the Secretary´) may make competitive grants for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences (as defined under section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103)).
``(2) Priority areas.—The competitive grants program established under this subsection shall address the following areas:
``(A) Plant health and production and plant products.—Plant systems, including—
``(i) plant genome structure and function;
``(ii) molecular and cellular genetics and plant biotechnology;
``(iii) conventional breeding, including cultivar and breed development, selection theory, applied quantitative genetics, breeding for
improved food quality, breeding for improved local adaptation to biotic stress and abiotic stress, and participatory breeding;
``(iv) plant-pest interactions and biocontrol systems;
``(v) crop plant response to environmental stresses;
``(vi) unproved nutrient qualities of plant products; and
``(vii) new food and industrial uses of plant products.
``(B) Animal health and production and animal products.—Animal systems, including—
``(ii) cellular and molecular basis of animal reproduction, growth, disease, and health;
``(iii) animal biotechnology;
``(iv) conventional breeding, including breed development, selection theory, applied quantitative genetics, breeding for improved food quality, breeding for improved local adaptation to biotic stress and abiotic stress, and participatory breeding;
``(v) identification of genes responsible for improved production traits and resistance to disease;
``(vi) improved nutritional performance of animals;
``(vii) improved nutrient qualities of animal products and uses; and
``(viii) the development of new and improved animal husbandry and production systems that take into account production efficiency, animal well-being, and animal systems applicable to aquaculture.
``(C) Food safety, nutrition, and health.—Nutrition, food safety and quality, and health, including—
``(i) microbial contaminants and pesticides residue relating to human health;
``(ii) links between diet and health;
``(iii) bioavailability of nutrients;
``(iv) postharvest physiology and practices;
``(v) improved processing technologies.
``(D) Renewable energy, natural resources, and environment.—Natural resources and the environment, including—
``(i) fundamental structures and functions of ecosystems;
``(ii) biological and physical bases of sustainable production systems;
``(iii) minimizing soil and water losses and sustaining surface water and ground water quality;
``(iv) global climate effects on agriculture;
``(v) forestry; and
``(vi) biological diversity.
``(E) Agriculture systems and technology.—Engineering, products, and processes, including—
``(i) new uses and new products from traditional and nontraditional crops, animals, byproducts, and natural resources;
``(ii) robotics, energy efficiency, computing, and expert systems;
``(iii) new hazard and risk assessment and mitigation measures; and
``(iv) water quality and management.
``(F) Agriculture economics and rural communities.—Markets, trade, and policy, including—
``(i) strategies for entering into and being competitive in domestic and overseas markets;
``(ii) farm efficiency and profitability, including the viability and competitiveness of small and medium-sized dairy, livestock, crop and other commodity operations;
``(iii) new decision tools for farm and market systems;
``(iv) choices and applications of technology;
``(v) technology assessment; and
``(vi) new approaches to rural development, including rural entrepreneurship.
``(3) Term.—The term of a competitive grant made under this subsection may not exceed 10 years.
``(4) <<NOTE: Grants.>> General administration.—In making grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall—
``(A) seek and accept proposals for grants;
``(B) determine the relevance and merit of proposals through a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613);
``(C) award grants on the basis of merit, quality, and relevance;
``(D) solicit and consider input from persons who conduct or use agricultural research, extension, or education in accordance with section 102(b) of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7612(b)); and
``(E) in seeking proposals for grants under this subsection and in performing peer review evaluations of such proposals, seek the widest participation of qualified individuals in the Federal Government, colleges and universities, State agricultural experiment stations, and the private sector.
``(5) Allocation of funds.—In making grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall allocate funds to the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to ensure that, of funds allocated for research activities—
``(A) not less than 60 percent is made available to make grants for fundamental research (as defined in subsection (f)(1) of section 251 of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6971)), of which—
``(i) not less than 30 percent is made available to make grants for research to be conducted by multidisciplinary teams; and
``(ii) not more than 2 percent is used for equipment grants under paragraph (6)(A); and
``(B) not less than 40 percent is made available to make grants for applied research (as defined in subsection (f)(1) of section 251 of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6971)).
``(6) Special considerations.—In making grants under this subsection, the Secretary may assist in the development of capabilities in the agricultural, food, and environmental sciences by providing grants—
``(A) to an institution to allow for the improvement of the research, development, technology transfer, and education capacity of the institution through the
acquisition of special research equipment and the improvement of agricultural education and teaching, except that the Secretary shall use not less than 25 percent of the funds made available for grants under this subparagraph to provide fellowships to outstanding pre- and post-doctoral students for research in the agricultural sciences;
``(B) to a single investigator or coinvestigators who are beginning research careers and do not have an extensive research publication record, except that, to be eligible for a grant under this subparagraph, an individual shall be within 5 years of the beginning of the initial career track position of the individual;
``(C) to ensure that the faculty of small, midsized, and minority-serving institutions who have not previously been successful in obtaining competitive grants under this subsection receive a portion of the grants; and
``(D) to improve research, extension, and education capabilities in States (as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103)) in which institutions have been less successful in receiving funding under this subsection, based on a 3-year rolling average of funding levels.
``(7) Eligible entities.—The Secretary may make grants to carry out research, extension, and education under this subsection to—
``(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
``(B) colleges and universities;
``(C) university research foundations;
``(D) other research institutions and organizations;
``(E) Federal agencies;
``(F) national laboratories;
``(G) private organizations or corporations;
``(H) individuals; or
``(I) any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (H).
``(8) Construction prohibited.—Funds made available for grants under this subsection shall not be used for the construction of a new building or facility or the acquisition, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building or facility (including site grading and improvement, and architect fees).
``(9) Matching funds.—
``(A) Equipment grants.—
``(i) In general.—Except as provided in clause (ii), in the case of a grant made under paragraph (6)(A), the amount provided under this subsection may not exceed 50 percent of the cost of the special research equipment or other equipment acquired using funds from the grant.
``(ii) Waiver.—The Secretary may waive all or part of the match´ing requirement under clause (i) in the case of a college, university, or research foundation maintained by a college or university that ranks in the lowest \1/3\ of such colleges, universities, and research foundations on the basis of Federal research funds received, if the equipment to be acquired using funds from the grant costs not more than $25,000 and has multiple uses within a single research project or is usable in more than 1 research project.
``(B) Applied research.—As a condition of making a grant under paragraph (5)(B), the Secretary shall require the funding of the grant to be matched with equal matching funds from a non-Federal source if the grant is for applied research that is—
``(i) commodity-specific; and
``(ii) not of national scope.
``(10) Program administration.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in coordination with the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, shall allocate grants under this subsection to high-priority research, taking into consideration, when available, the determinations made by the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (as established under section 1408 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3123)).
``(11) Authorization of appropriations.—
``(A) In general.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $700,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012, of which—
``(i) not less than 30 percent shall be made available for integrated research pursuant to section 406 of the Agricultural Research,
Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7626); and
``(ii) not more than 4 percent may be retained by the Secretary to pay administrative costs incurred by the Secretary in carrying out this subsection.
``(B) Availability.—Funds made available under this paragraph shall—
``(i) be available for obligation for a 2-year period beginning on October 1 of the fiscal year for which the funds are first made available; and
``(ii) remain available until expended to pay for obligations incurred during that 2-year period.´´.
(1) Section 401 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7621) is repealed.
(2) Subsection (d) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(d)) is repealed.
(c) <<NOTE: 7 USC 450i note.>> Effect on Current Solicitations.—The amendments made by this section shall not apply to any solicitation for grant applications issued by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service before the date of enactment of this Act.
(d) Conforming Amendments.—
(1) Section 1473 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3319) is amended in the first sentence by striking ``and subsection (d)´´.
(2) Section 1671(d) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5924(d) is amended by striking ``Paragraphs (1), (6), (7), and (11)´´ and inserting ``Paragraphs (4), (7), (8), and (11)(B)´´.
(3) Section 1672B(b) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5925b(b)) is amended by striking ``Paragraphs (1), (6), (7), and (11)´´ and inserting ``Paragraphs (4), (7), (8), and (11)(B)´´.