USDA launches grant programs to expand ag research

NIFA creates grant programs to exand ag research/education at non-land grant ag colleges and tribal land grant colleges and universities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced July 2 the availability of $4 million in grants to support research, education and outreach activities at non-land grant colleges and universities. The funding is authorized through the 2014 farm bill.

"While NIFA has a rich and successful history with our land grant university partners, we need all hands on deck working together to solve the pressing challenges facing our agricultural enterprise today," NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy said. "This funding for the nation's non-land grant institutions will build their capacity to conduct high-quality agricultural science, educate a diverse workforce and bring real-world solutions to the American people."

The Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) Program focuses on improving research, outreach and postsecondary level educational activities related to food, agriculture, natural and renewable resources, human sciences and other similar disciplines. NLGCA will also support the economic vitality of rural communities by funding new degree programs that emphasize new and emerging employment opportunities, NIFA said.

The goals of the NLGCA program are to strengthen the capacity of NLGCA institutions to develop infrastructure to carry out agriculture research, teaching and outreach activities; enhance the ability of NLGCA faculty members to engage in agricultural professional development opportunities, and increase the number, quality and diversity of qualified graduates entering the food and agriculture workforce.

Separately, NIFA announced the availability of $1.7 million in funding to improve the capacity of tribal land grant colleges to undertake food and agriculture research.

"These grants will help tribal land-grant colleges develop infrastructure and faculty expertise so they can carry out research projects that identify and solve problems within tribal and American Indian communities," Ramaswamy said. "Projects will also offer students the research experience they need to carry on their educational pursuits or enhance career opportunities in the food and agricultural sciences."

The Tribal College Research Grant Program (TCRGP) builds scientific capacity at tribal land grant colleges, also known as the 1994 land grant institutions, by creating collaborations with other land grant institutions. Tribal colleges may use funding to conduct scientific inquiry that addresses health, environmental or agricultural concerns of their reservations.

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