U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today announced that Rutgers University has received $456,727 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct advanced research in order to develop more nutritious cranberry crops in New Jersey. The funding was made possible through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“One of society’s most basic necessities is a healthy, reliable source of food,” said Senator Menendez. “Investments like this, designed to boost innovation in one of New Jersey’s most important crops, will not only assist with the development of a healthier cranberry, but will also boost New Jersey’s important agriculture industry. I am proud of New Jersey’s Garden State heritage and will continue to support efforts to maintain and enhance needed support for our farmers and affiliated research institutions.”

“New Jersey agriculture is key to our region’s economic competitiveness, so I applaud Rutgers for taking this important step in ensuring we remain at the forefront of cranberry production,” said Sen. Booker. “Federal investments like this in technology and innovation, particularly in agriculture, are critical to growing the Garden State’s economy and boosting job creation.”

AFRI is USDA’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI program area of Plant Health and Production and Plant Products supports projects on foundational knowledge of agricultural production systems, pests and beneficial species in agricultural production systems, physiology of agricultural plants, and plant breeding for agricultural production.