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Agriculture Commissioner Announces $1.2 Million in Research Grants

Texas Tech University is among five universities selected by the Texas Department of Agriculture to receive $1.2 million in grants to bolster the state’s food and fiber industries, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced Sept. 10.

Staples made the announcement at Texas Tech’s International Textile Center (ITC).

Positive Impact. Texas Tech will receive $457,315 to fund 15 of the 39 total projects. University researchers will conduct studies including evaluating the fiber properties of cotton; imparting antibacterial properties to cotton fabric; developing chemical warfare protective fabrics; and making peanuts a profitable crop in West Texas where water is limited.

“For 100 years, TDA has partnered with Texans and private industry to support our food and fiber industries,” Staples said. “The projects funded for this year will not only go a long way in keeping Texas at the forefront of agricultural research and technology transfer, but will also have a positive impact and effect on food and fiber industries around the world.”

Food and Fiber. In expressing thanks to the commissioner, ITC managing director M. Dean Ethridge said, “Over the years, these research grants have been indispensable to the ITC in fulfilling its mission to improve and protect Texas’ cotton industry. I know this is also true for other research and extension programs affecting food and fibers produced throughout the state.”

The grants were awarded through TDA’s Food and Fibers Research Grant Program. Four other universities received funds:
• Texas A&M University, $446,500 for 14 projects such as broadening the genetic diversity of cotton; researching engineered systems for seed cotton handling, storage and ginning; and using goats to manage juniper.
• Texas Woman’s University, $273,000 for eight projects ranging from using products containing cottonseed oil to increase the dietary intake of vitamins A and E to reducing or eliminating transfats in various food products.
• The University of Texas at Austin, $2,444 for transferring an agricultural database of research to Texas Tech University.
• The University of Texas at Arlington, $30,000 for a project that will study the effectiveness of using cottonseed oil to produce biofuel.

Improved Lives. Each project is required to leverage about $2.75 for each dollar received from the state, bringing the total amount of research to more than $3.3 million.

“These projects, which range from reducing or eliminating transfats in food products to comparing modern cotton harvesting equipment to using goats in managing brush control, will provide an important boost to the state’s economy and impact the lives of all Texans,” Staples said. “Whether you are a cotton farmer on the High Plains or a family living in Dallas or Houston, your lives and livelihoods are constantly being improved by the benefits of food and fibers research.”

– Written by Cory Chandler


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