NIFA Investment in K-14 Agricultural Education Helps Grow the Next Generation of American Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced grants to support public secondary schools, non-profits, community and junior colleges, and four-year colleges and universities to engage K-14 students in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences. These awards totaling about $841,250 are made through NIFA’s Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program.

“Fostering curiosity about the world and a love of discovery begins in pre-school and can grow or wither depending on how much we invest in educational quality,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Ensuring a robust educational system down to the youngest grades is critical to ensuring our scientific workforce continues to have the skills and preparation needed to meet the demands of the future.” 

The projects that received SPECA funding promote and strengthen secondary education and two-year postsecondary education. Some awards promote complementary linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary and higher education programs in the food, agriculture, natural resource and human sciences. All projects are designed to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the FANH sciences.

Since 2009, NIFA has awarded more than $6.9 million through the SPECA program to support K-14 educational and vocational training in agricultural science, which contribute to a skilled, diverse scientific workforce in agriculture. The 2016 awards announced today include:

  • Howard Valentine Coffman Cove School, Thorne Bay, Alaska, $45,471
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $43,253
  • Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan., $ 22,546
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky., $134,672
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $134,657
  • Gateway Greening, Inc., Saint Louis, Mo., $135,309
  • The Harley School, Rochester, N.Y., $ 45,470
  • The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio, $33,156
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $43,682
  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.,  $45,055
  • Galveston College, Galveston, Texas, $ 22,458
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., $135,560


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