National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
Headquarters1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.
Agency executives
  • Manjit Misra, Director
  • Dionne Toombs, Associate Director for Programs Edit this at Wikidata
NIFA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2019

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is a U.S. federal government body whose creation was mandated in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Its purpose is to consolidate all federally funded agricultural research, and it is subordinate to the Department of Agriculture. It replaced the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service in 2009. Dionne Toombs served as the Acting Director from April 11, 2022 to May 8, 2023.[1] Dionne Toombs is the current Associate Director for Programs.[2] Manjit Misra was appointed Director on April 24, 2023 and began his new role on May 8, 2023.[3]

The mission of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is to stimulate and fund the research and technological innovations that will enhance American agriculture and make it more productive and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the economic viability of agriculture and production. The Institute was developed as a result of a task force chaired by William Henry Danforth and appointed by then-Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. The Danforth Task Force recommended that Congress authorize the creation of NIFA as a way to strengthen agriculture research and to attract additional highly competitive research scientists to this field of endeavor. A growing program in competitive research grants will be a hallmark of the new agency.[4] The creation of NIFA strengthened USDA's competitive research portfolio by replacing the National Research Initiative with the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. NIFA awards research funding through a combination of competitive grants and funds allocated to states under statutory formulas.


In 2019, NIFA relocated 294 out of 315 staff members from Washington DC to Kansas City. The move was part of a larger uprooting including the Economic Research Service. The USDA cited the move was an effort to attract talent and lower costs by establishing an operational headquarters.[5] The Government Accountability Office reported the agency violated the Antideficiency Act.[6] Between 40-60% of employees left the agency after receiving the ultimatum to move or leave the agency.[7] Black employees previously holding 47% of roles dropped to 19% post relocation.[6] After the move NIFA employees voted to unionize under the American Federation of Government Employees.[8] Due to Congressional concern, the Conducting Oversight to Secure Transparency (COST) of Relocations Act was introduced.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture. April 18, 2022. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  2. ^ "Dionne F. Toombs | National Institute of Food and Agriculture". Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  3. ^ "USDA Announces New National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director". Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  4. ^ "Home" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
  5. ^ "Secretary Perdue Announces Kansas City Region as Location for ERS and NIFA". Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  6. ^ a b "GAO: USDA violated the Anti-Deficiency Act while planning its relocation of science agencies". Government Executive. 2023-08-18. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  7. ^ "After USDA Antideficiency Act violation, lawmakers push bill for more relocation oversight". Federal News Network. 2023-08-28. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  8. ^ "NIFA employees vote to unionize on heels of USDA relocation". Federal News Network. 2019-06-11. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  9. ^ "Bill Would Require Due Diligence, Public Report Before Agency Relocation". FEDmanager. 2023-03-21. Retrieved 2023-12-15.