The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced this week an investment of $17.2 million for 37 awards in education and workforce development, through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
“Developing the next generation of research, education and extension professionals in food and agricultural sciences is critical to the growth of the agriculture industry,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “NIFA programs support colleges, universities and technical education institutions to ensure a steady pipeline of talent to fuel the future workforce.”
Project examples from the education and workforce development priority area include Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s project, “The Drone WAVE Factor (drone use for women advancement, visibility and experiences in food and agriculture cyberinformatics and tools oriented to research),” to recruit, train, mentor, and graduate the next generation of women professionals with competitive geospatial sciences and technology skills.
University of Hawaii’s project, “Empowering Women and Underrepresented Undergraduates with Advanced Technology Research Training in Agriculture and Food Sciences,” will develop the local agriculture and food science industry workforce in Hawaii through education and training.
Clemson University’s project, “Florece!: Future Leaders Obtaining Research & Extension Career Experiences,” aims to prepare 40 undergraduate students to become globally-engaged professionals with world-class research and extension skills that allow them to identify critical factors that impact the sustainability of agricultural systems.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.