The American Soybean Association (ASA) today congratulated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its efforts to elevate the stature and credibility of agricultural research with the establishment of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).”ASA is a leader in promoting the research priorities and needs of the U.S. soybean industry,” said ASA President Johnny Dodson, a soybean producer from Halls, Tennessee. “Expanding agricultural research and establishing NIFA has long been a priority for ASA and we applaud USDA for recognizing and acting on the need for a new approach to research.”NIFA was established in the 2008 Farm Bill and officially launched in Washington, D.C. today. The mission of NIFA is to stimulate and fund the research and technological innovations that will enhance and make American agriculture more productive and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the economic viability of agriculture and production.”ASA is ready to begin work with the great staff of NIFA, including newly-appointed Director Roger Beachy,” Dodson said. “We agree with Congress that NIFA should be commensurate in stature with other Federal grant-making agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.”During a meeting with industry stakeholders earlier this week, Beachy and USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Rajiv Shah spoke about ways they intend to proceed with transforming agriculture research at USDA. Future agricultural research will be more focused, approach science at scale – meaning larger and longer-term projects – and will have clear benefits and impact.