USDA invests $4.8 million in university agricultural programs

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The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced 19 grants totaling $4,790,100 to support agricultural science programs at non-land-grant universities. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Our nation’s ability to achieve nutritional security in the context of the multitude of biological and environmental constraints will require continued new discoveries and a cadre of graduates who are prepared to enter the agricultural workforce,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in supporting transformative research and education at the more than 80 higher education institutions that offer strong agricultural sciences programs is critical.”

NIFA’s NLGCA program offers competitive grants to help these institutions maintain and expand their capacity to conduct education, research, and outreach activities in agriculture, renewable resources, and related disciplines. NLGCAs also support the economic vitality of rural communities by funding new degree programs that emphasize new and emerging employment opportunities.

Awards for 2016 include:

Arkansas State University, Arkansas, $149,016
California State University, Chico, California, $150,000
California State University, Bakersfield, California, $149,753
California State University Fresno Foundation, Fresno, California, $148,699
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, $300,000
Western Kentucky University Research Foundation, Bowling Green, Kentucky, $297,278
Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, $149,868
Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota, $30,000
Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, $298,669
Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, $137,074
Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, $150,000
Montclair State College, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, $150,000
SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology, Cobleskill, New York, $749,216
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, $150,000
University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee, $299,989
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, $283,072
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, $749,404
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, $148,556
University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Wisconsin, $299,506

Among the funded projects, a Montclair State University project will investigate how farmers markets in urban communities can improve both farmer livelihoods and nutrition among low-income consumers. Texas Tech University will create a new academic and outreach program on Global Food Security to train the next generation of change agents to help to reduce hunger on a global scale.

Among past projects, a University of Tennessee at Martin project (link is external) created a mobile energy classroom to share knowledge on traditional and renewable energy production and conservation. Fort Hays State University (link is external) is developing curricula to help the next generation of farm managers, technicians, and crop advisors use small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in precision agriculture

Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates (link is external) or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA (link is external), #NIFAimpacts (link is external).

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