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Methyl Bromide Transition Program (MBT)

Grants to USA IHEs to Develop Pest
Management Alternatives to Methyl Bromide

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Deadline Date:

01/30/18 5:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA colleges and universities to develop and implement alternative pest management strategies for uses and commodities impacted by the methyl bromide phase-out. Applicants are advised that registrations required to apply may take up to two weeks to complete.

Purpose and Priorities:

This RFA solicits applications for the Methyl Bromide Transition (MBT) program. Methyl bromide is an odorless, colorless gas that is used as an agricultural soil and structural fumigant to control a wide variety of pests. Methyl bromide depletes the stratospheric ozone layer and is classified as a Class 1 ozone-depleting substance. In accordance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Clean Air Act (, the United States government agreed to reduce methyl bromide production and net imports incrementally from the 1991 baseline until the complete phase-out in 2005. Since 2005, the only allowable exemptions are critical use exemptions (CUE), quarantine and pre-shipment exemptions (QPS).

The primary goal of the MBT program is to support the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives to methyl bromide. The MBT program seeks to solve pest problems in key agricultural production and post-harvest management systems, processing facilities, and transport systems for which methyl bromide has been withdrawn or withdrawal is imminent. Proposals may integrate research and extension activities, or be extension-only, and be designed to provide transitional alternatives that address immediate needs resulting from the loss of availability of methyl bromide. In addition, State of the Commodity projects may address the economic and pest management outcomes resulting from the transition from methyl bromide for a given commodity or process. The pressure to completely phase-out methyl bromide has created an urgent need for new economical and effective pest control tactics to control soil-borne and postharvest pests, and pests that need to be controlled by the processing and shipping industries to meet regulatory standards. All proposals must include a description of the economic analysis of costs and efficacy of implementing the new replacement technology.

Applications submitted to the MBT program must incorporate appropriate integrated pest management (IPM) concepts of prevention, avoidance, monitoring, and suppression of pest populations. NIFA anticipates that funded projects will cover a broad range of new methodologies, technologies, systems and strategies for controlling economically important pests for which methyl bromide has been the only effective management option. The MBT program solicits applications that address systems solutions or strategic (multi-tactic) approaches, rather than focusing on any single tactic to replace methyl bromide. Consider and evaluate non- fumigant management options where possible. Promising alternatives to methyl bromide must be evaluated under commercial or field-scale conditions for multiple years to ensure that positive results are not due, in part, to low pest pressure following many years of methyl bromide fumigation or variable environmental conditions. A goal of the MBT program is to demonstrate that performance of alternatives is consistent over several production cycles and is technically and economically feasible when scaled-up from research plots to commercial scale. A priority of integrated and extension-only projects is to enhance grower/industrial user knowledge and adoption/implementation of appropriate methyl bromide replacement strategies through extension outreach and demonstrations relevant to real-world systems. All applications must include an objective that describes an economic analysis of the costs and efficacy of implementing the new replacement technology, and a description of methods that will be used in the project to complete the economic analysis of the efficacy and affordability of the replacement strategy.

The MBT program encourages (but does not require) projects that develop content suitable for delivery through eXtension.

The MBT program directly aligns with the FY 2014-2018 USDA Strategic Plan and specifically addresses Strategic Goal 1/Objective 1.2. The MBT program aligns with the USDA, Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Action Plan Goal 1/Sub-goal 1A. The MBT program also directly supports the NIFA Strategic Plan for FY 2014-2018 Science Goal 1/Sub-goal 1.1.

The MBT program supports three project types:

1. Integrated projects focus on research for new alternatives and extension to encourage adoption and implementation of methyl bromide alternatives.

2. Extension-Only projects increase levels of adoption and implementation of pest management strategies by producers and growers.

3. State of the Commodity projects provide in-depth scientific and economic system review of how commodities have been impacted by the loss of methyl bromide. These projects should address the economic and pest management outcomes resulting from the transition from methyl bromide for a given commodity or process identified as a “critical use” between 2006 and 2017. These projects should be integrated projects.

Program Area Priority:

In FY 2018, the MBT program seeks applications for projects to ensure that economically viable and environmentally-sound alternatives to methyl bromide are in place and available as soon as possible for commodities that have been impacted by the phase-out of methyl bromide. Applications also will be accepted to find alternatives for commodities that have current Quarantine and Pre-shipment (QPS) Exemptions. Applications must include an economic analysis of the alternative methodology, and describe the methods to evaluate the cost/benefit of making the transition to adoption of the new strategy and provide a clear economic analysis of all aspects of implementation of the new strategies.

Projects supporting the transition to an alternative type of cropping/storage/processing system that avoids the need for disinfestation with methyl bromide (e.g., transition to a covered system using soilless culture) will be considered if the alternative has the potential to serve as a viable short to medium-term solution for operations that are currently dependent on methyl bromide or have been impacted by the phase-out of methyl bromide.

Proposals that address integrated pest management issues in commodities not affected by the phase-out of methyl bromide and research-only proposals may be more appropriate for the Applied Research and Development program area of the Crop Protection and Pest Management program.

Applications submitted to the MBT program must address one or more of the following questions:

-How can non-fumigant management options be developed and/or improved as part of a systems-based integrated pest management strategy?

-What integrated strategies could be used to improve soil health, resulting in improved pest management in crops impacted by the loss of methyl bromide in the pre-harvest environment? Examples include altering the microbial community of the soil to favor beneficial microorganisms that could inhibit pests and pathogens; soil amendments to reduce pests; and use of cover crops and rotations to reduce pest populations.

-What strategies could be used in a systems-based integrated pest management approach to improve pest management in the post-harvest environments impacted by the loss of methyl bromide?

-How can current methyl bromide alternatives be improved or combined to improve their effectiveness and economic viability?

1. Integrated Projects

If you are submitting an application for an integrated project , incorporate, and identify, research and extension goals into the proposed project. As a general guideline, no more than two thirds of the project’s budget should be devoted to either function. Extension efforts, such as field demonstrations, grower trials, workshops, and distributed information, should result in commercial awareness, understanding and adoption of new technology and alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation. Economic analysis of the proposed new strategy must be an integral part of the project. Also, include in your proposal: (1) the requirements listed below for integrated and extension-only projects and (2) the requirements listed below for all projects.

2. Extension-Only Projects

Extension-only projects facilitate the adoption and implementation of practices that will result in effective management of pests without the use of methyl bromide, and will lead to measurable behavior changes in the identified audience or stakeholder group. Project proposals may include development of extension materials and information delivery systems for outreach efforts, conducting field-scale or on-farm demonstrations, or delivery of IPM extension outreach and training. Document the existence of a research base relevant to the extension effort. Include an economic analysis of the proposed new strategy as an integral part of the project. Analyses of target population risk perception and economic constraints to adoption are essential for all extension-only projects. Also, include in your proposal the: (1) requirements listed below for integrated and extension-only projects and (2) requirements listed below for all projects.

Requirements for Both Integrated and Extension-Only projects:


Research on alternatives must be at the commercial or field-scale over multiple season/cycles. Large-scale trials will be a key component of successful proposals, as they may identify variability, technical problems, and pest relationships pertinent to marketable yields that may not be evident in small plot trials. Extension-Only projects must be conducted at the commercial or field scale.

Economic Analysis:

Integrated and Extension-only projects must include an economic analysis with direct comparison of cost effectiveness of proposed alternatives in the absence of methyl bromide to no treatment.

Additionally, an analysis of the overall transition cost to a new technology, from acquisition of materials and knowledge to efficacy metrics, is required:
-Analyses of profit margins including information on the cost calculation, the cost/amount of the new technology and the value of the labor used, and any equipment needed for the application.
-Changes in revenues (e.g., changes in the commodity price or more importantly, changes in quantity of the available commodity for marketing).
-The appropriate expertise of the team submitting the application to conduct the economic analysis.

3. State of the Commodity Projects

NIFA solicits proposals for state of the commodity projects that evaluate current integrated pest management challenges and the economics of integrated pest management for commodities/processes where methyl bromide is no longer permitted. For the listing of commodities and industries that were registered for methyl bromide use, please see State of the commodity proposals should document current conditions, successful coverage or gaps in pest management, yield changes and cost of management changes (positive, negative, or neutral) resulting from the phase-out of methyl bromide for any specific commodity or industry. The successful grants of this type must be as inclusive as necessary to address the overall situation in the United States or regionally. Also, include in your proposal: the (1) requirements listed below for state of the commodity projects and (2) requirements listed below for all projects.

Requirements for State of the Commodity projects:

-Create a report that is accessible by the public within one year of the project end date and present the report at an appropriate forum, such as, the annual International Methyl Bromide Alternatives Outreach Conference.

-Describe: (1) how commodity stakeholders will be recruited into the study, (2) the methods of data collection and analysis, and (3) where the data will be presented and published.

Requirements for all projects:

-Justification. Provide a justification statement in the Project Narrative (see Part IV/Section B3/b3a for more information): (1) to explain the issues and economic losses faced by their commodity since the phase-out of methyl bromide and (2) on how the proposed project could result in economically feasible methyl bromide alternatives.

-Extension. Clearly identify Extension personnel involved in the project in the proposal. Clearly delineate formal extension programs to expedite adoption and implementation of proposed alternatives in the proposal and clearly outline funding for these activities in the Budget Narrative.

-Timeline. Explicitly describe timelines for completion of the major objectives in the application for the entire project period which may range from one to three years from the start date. NIFA expects experiments to be replicated in at least two separate trials and results to be presented to the relevant user community within the time period of the project.

-Logic model. All applicants are required to: (1) submit a project-specific logic model chart as part of each application and (2) explain how the proposed work supports the programmatic logic model chart provided in Figure 1. Include in the logic model chart all of the following: inputs, outputs (activities and participants), outcomes, situation, assumptions, and external factors of the proposed project. See Program Area Description (Part I/section C) and Application and Submission Information (Part IV/section B3/b8) for specific requirements for the inclusion of the logic model within the application.

Please note: The programmatic logic model chart for the MBT program (Figure 1) incorporates stakeholder input, anticipated outcomes, and all appropriate elements. NIFA will use the programmatic logic model to guide the development of future funding priorities and to document the impact of investments made by the MBT program.

Centers of Excellence:

Pursuant to Section 7214 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79), beginning in Fiscal Year 2015, for applicable competitive research and extension programs, NIFA will recognize and provide priority in the receipt of funding to applications from “centers of excellence” that carry out research, extension, and education activities that relate to the food and agricultural sciences. NIFA held listening sessions in July 2014 and accepted written comments from stakeholders to inform NIFA’s implementation of the COE provision.

A COE is composed of one or more of the following entities that provide financial or in-kind support to the COE.

(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) Colleges and universities;
(C) University research foundations;
(D) Other research institutions and organizations; (E) Federal agencies;
(F) National laboratories;
(G) Private organizations, foundations, or corporations;
(H) Individuals; or
(I) Any group consisting of two or more of the entities described in (A) through (H).

COE designation is available only to CAP and standard grant applicants.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182600

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Integrated projects may not to exceed $500,000 total (including indirect costs).

Extension-Only projects may not to exceed $250,000 total (including indirect costs).

State of the Commodity projects may not to exceed $250,000 total (including indirect costs).

Term of Contract:

Project periods are up to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may only be submitted by colleges and universities (as defined in section 1404 of NARETPA) (7 U.S.C. 3103) to the MBT Competitive Grants Program. Section 1404 of NARETPA was amended by section 7101 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) to define Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) and to include research foundations maintained by eligible colleges or universities. Section 406(b) of AREERA (7 U.S.C. 7626), was amended by section 7206 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to add the 1994 Land-Grant Institutions as eligible to apply for grants under this authority.

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Pre-Application Information:

The recipient of an award from the MBT program must provide funds, in-kind contributions, or a combination of both, from sources other than funds provided through such grant in an amount that is at least equal to the amount awarded by NIFA unless one of the exemptions described herein is applicable. More information regarding matching requirement exemptions may be found in the RFA (attached below)

Prior to preparing an application, it is recommended that the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) first contact an Authorized Representative (AR, also referred to as Authorized Organizational Representative, or AOR) to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through

If not (e.g., the institution/organization is new to the electronic grant application process through, then the one-time registration process must be completed PRIOR to submitting an application. It can take as long as two weeks to complete the registration process so it is critical to begin as soon as possible.

Applications must be received via by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on January 30, 2018.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Programmatic Contact:

Herbert Bolton, National Program Leader
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
3343 Waterfront Centre
(202) 401-4201

Rubella Goswami, National Program Leader
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
3105 Waterfront Centre
(202) 401-0628

Administrative/Business Contacts:

Towana DeShazo
Office of Grants and Financial Management
2162 Waterfront Centre
(202) 401-4155

Rochelle McCrea
Office of Grants and Financial Management
2174 Waterfront Centre
(202) 401-2880

CFDA Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming