The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. NIFA is one of four USDA agencies that make up its Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area. The USDA-REE agencies provide federal leadership in creating and disseminating knowledge spanning the biological, physical, and social sciences related to agricultural research, economic analysis, statistics, extension, and higher education.
NIFA's mission is to lead food and agricultural sciences to create a better future for the Nation and the world by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. NIFA doesn't perform actual research, education, and extension but rather helps fund it at the state and local level and provides program leadership in these areas. The broad expectation is that NIFA will enhance the stature and impact of food, agricultural, and natural resource sciences and ultimately grow support for agricultural research, education, and extension.