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Learn How NIFA Supports Indigenous Peoples

Nifa Authors
Lori Tyler Gula, Senior Public Affairs Specialist

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture administers several grant-making programs aimed at uplifting and advancing 1994 Land-grant Institutions. Not only do these programs fund research and Extension to support Tribal communities, they also provide critical resources for students who seek advanced degrees and technical training.

New Beginning for Tribal Students Program

The New Beginning for Tribal Students Program makes competitive grants to Land-grant Institutions to provide support specifically targeted for Tribal students on their path to higher education. A Land-grant College or University that receives this grant will use the funds for, but not limited to, the support of Tribal students for articulation agreements with 1994s; dual credit programs; recruiting; tuition and related fees; experiential learning; student services, including tutoring; counseling; academic advising; and other student services that would increase the retention and graduation rate of Tribal students enrolled at the Land-grant College or University, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. The maximum one state can receive is $500,000 per year.

Tribal Equity Grants Program

The Tribal Equity Grants Program funds formal learning at 1994 Land-grant Institutions. Faculty use the funding to improve courses, enhance teaching ability, provide student stipends, or invest in new technology to reach more students on remote reservation communities. The program also supports student recruitment and retention and the development of classes and degree programs focused on agriculture, natural resources and human sciences for Native Americans. Additionally, faculty have used program funding to help build laboratories, conduct remedial courses, create new degree programs in forestry and provide students stipends. The goal is to graduate empowered students who can embrace their future with new skills and knowledge.

Tribal Extension Grant Program

The Tribal Extension Grant Program allows 1994 Land-grant Institutions to create Extension offices for their reservation communities. Through this funding, 1994 Land-grant Institutions touch the lives of reservation youth, farmers and families with activities that enhance health, promote prosperity and support learning.

Each Extension office works with reservation communities to build programs that target local needs. The result is diversified outreach focused on local needs. For example, reservation youth participate in fun activities in a safe environment. Farmers and ranchers gain science-based insights to improve their productivity. Financial literacy training enhances rural reservation economies. The institutions also provide culture-centered family activities to restore Native languages, traditions and agriculture.

Tribal College Research Grant Program

The Tribal College Research Grant Program helps 1994 Land-grant Institutions become centers of scientific inquiry and learning for remote and rural reservation communities. The 1994 Land-grant Institutions often serve as the primary institution of scientific inquiry, knowledge and learning for reservation communities. This funding allows them to address the questions important to these communities such as protecting reservation forests or monitoring water quality. Projects may help a tribe improve bison herd productivity, discover whether traditional plants can play a role in managing diabetes or control invasive species.

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program

The Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program aims to establish an Extension presence and support Extension outreach on Federally Recognized Indian Reservations and Tribal jurisdictions of Federally Recognized Tribes. This program seeks to continue the Land-grant mission of providing education and research-based knowledge to those who might not otherwise receive it. The program is a competitive, four-year continuing grant opportunity. Applications may be submitted by 1862, 1890, and 1994 Land-grant Institutions. Awards will be made through a competitive, peer-reviewed process administered by NIFA. Award amounts will vary and are contingent upon annual congressional appropriations.

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