Air, Water and Soils


Contact Dr. Karelyn Cruz, National Program Leader for SBIR Air, Water and Soils at or (202) 604-7742 regarding questions about the topic area or to arrange a telephone consultation.


The Air, Water and Soils topic area aims to develop and commercialize technologies and innovations for conserving, monitoring and protecting air, water and soil resources while sustaining optimal farm and forest productivity. Climate variability, natural resources conservation (air, water and soils) and food security are major focal points of this topic area. We encourage new technologies and innovations that will help improve soil; reduce soil erosion; improve water and air quality; enable plant and animal production systems to adapt to changing climatic conditions; and conserve and use water more efficiently. This topic area supports the NIFA Strategic Plan Goal 1 Science: Catalyze exemplary and relevant research, education and extension programs; SUB-GOAL 1.2: Advance the development and delivery of science for agricultural, forest, and range systems adapted to climate variability and to mitigate climate impacts; and SUB-GOAL 1.3: Optimize the production of goods and services from working lands while protecting the Nation’s natural resource base and environment.

FY 2018 Research Priorities:

Examples of appropriate subtopics for research applications from small businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Water Quality and Conservation

Develop new and improved technologies to optimize water management conservation at both the farm level and at a watershed scale, monitor the quality of surface water and groundwater resources for biotic and abiotic pollutants, including animal manure and pharmaceuticals, develop improved methods for the reuse of waste water, including the remediation and restoration of water resources that impact agriculture and forestry operations, and promote watershed restoration.

2. Irrigation

Develop improved irrigation technologies for both farming and landscaping applications that will provide more efficient and cost-effective delivery of water and chemicals. Develop new irrigation methods that allow for more efficient use of water including accurate delivery of water to where it is needed.

3. Soil Erosion

Develop better methods for preventing soil erosion by wind and surface water runoff and for monitoring wind erosion and sediment transport.

4. Soil Health

Develop new technologies for measuring soil physical, chemical and biological properties including, but not limited to, soil nutrient content, microbial functional activity related to nutrient cycling, methods to remediate degraded soils and the physical and chemical structure of soil.

5. Air Resources

Develop new and improved technologies to monitor air quality and reduce air pollution stemming from agricultural enterprises, including manures from livestock and poultry production systems.


Other Key Information

  • The applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NPL regarding the suitability of research topics.

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