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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $18 Million Available to Support Research and Teaching at Historically Black Land-Grant Universities

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today announced $18 million in grants will be available to strengthen research and teaching at historically black land-grant universities during a meeting with the 1890's Council in Washington. The grants are available through the 1890 Institution Research, Extension, and Teaching Capacity Building Grants program administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

"There is an increasing need for highly skilled workers to fill agriculture, nutrition and natural resources jobs, and too few students graduating in those fields," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This support from USDA will ensure our 1890s universities can educate talented, skilled professionals to help us meet future food security challenges."

NIFA provides support to historically black colleges and universities that were designated as land-grant universities in the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The Capacity Building Grants (CBG) program supports agricultural science programs while strengthening the linkages among the 1890 universities, other education institutions, USDA, and private industry. The program focuses on advancing cultural diversity in the scientific and professional workforce by attracting and educating more students from under-represented groups. Grants are awarded in the categories of research, teaching and extension with a focus on NIFA's priority areas of sustainable bioenergy, food security, childhood obesity prevention, climate change, and food safety. Since 2009, NIFA has awarded more than $122 million in grants to support 1890 land-grant universities through the CBG program.

Applications are due March 31. Please see the request for applications for more information.

In addition to single institution and joint project applications, the CBG program features professional development grants to help faculty enhance their networking and competitive capacity by working collaboratively with colleagues from 1890 and 1862 land-grant universities, other public and private universities, federal agencies, private and non-governmental institutions, foundations, and other domestic and international research entities. The training, which may take the form of sabbaticals, mini-sabbaticals, faculty exchanges, or educational courses, must address critical U.S. food, agricultural and human science issues at the local, state, regional, and national level.

Previous projects funded through this program include a research grant awarded to South Carolina State University for study on the economic effects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on food safety and the environment, as well as the effects of state environmental regulations on state agricultural exports. Prairie View A&M University used a previous grant to develop a Master of Science degree in human nutrition. Southern University in Louisiana offers educational support to families and assesses Family and Consumer Sciences curriculum in child development, due to a CBG grant.

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, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.


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