New Funding Opportunities for Higher Education

DanEducation, Industry News Release

USDA Announces $4.5 Million for Higher Education Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $4.5 million in funding to help higher education institutions teach the next generation of food and agricultural science professionals. Funding is made through NIFA’s Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program.

“Fostering tomorrow’s agricultural professionals is a partnership effort with the higher education system,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments help support current, relevant, and robust agricultural science offerings at our public and private colleges and universities.”

HEC supports colleges and universities in their efforts to educate the next generation of the food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce. The program seeks to improve formal, baccalaureate or master’s degree level food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences (FANH) education and first professional degree-level education in veterinary medicine (DVM). HEC projects may improve the economic health and viability of communities through the development of degree programs that emphasize new and emerging employment opportunities. Projects may also address the national challenge to increase the number and diversity of students entering the FANH sciences.

Eligible applicants include public or private nonprofit colleges and universities that offer a baccalaureate or first professional degree in at least one discipline or area of the food and agricultural sciences; land-grant colleges and universities (including land-grant institutions in the insular areas); colleges and universities that have significant minority enrollments and a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences; and other colleges and universities that have a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences.

The deadline for applications is May 30, 2017.

See the request for applications for details.

Previously funded projects include a Texas Tech University project to develop and disseminate new curriculum models that reflect changing requirements of the agricultural communications industry. An Ohio State University project developed a statewide network to create pathways from state community college programs to baccalaureate majors in sustainable agriculture at Ohio State University and Central State University. A University of Michigan project supported an interdisciplinary sustainable food systems program to increase agricultural science degree enrollment among underrepresented minorities.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted 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 or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.