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NIFA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Nifa Authors
Andy Thigpen, Public Affairs Specialist (Web)
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

Throughout September and October, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be recognizing the achievements and contributions of the Hispanic community who are helping grow our Nation.

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 112,451 Hispanic agricultural producers in the U.S. The USDA reports that California and Texas have 14,597 and 41,143 Hispanic producers, respectively. Between 2017 and the previous Census of Agriculture in 2012, the total number of U.S. producers increased 7 percent, while the number of Hispanic farmers increased 13 percent.

To support minority-serving colleges and universities, NIFA awards grants to Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) aiming to attract outstanding students and produce graduates capable of enhancing the nation's food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce.

HSI Spotlights

3eX-Ag at Texas State University: Our nation is faced with two agricultural education problems: ethnic disparity in postsecondary degree recipients and too few qualified graduates to fill requisite positions in the agriculture workforce. 3eX-Ag addresses these problems by positioning underrepresented students majoring in Agricultural Sciences at Texas State University for academic and professional success. Despite pandemic challenges, the program has served several researchers as they completed manuscripts, finished degrees, received scholarships, and presented prize-winning research at conferences.

The “Caminos: Thesis Competition” Program supports cutting-edge discoveries from research laboratories to farms, classrooms, and communities. This program served 61 Fellows from schools across nine states. Between published manuscripts, conference presentations, enrollments in PhD programs, and employments in Federal service, the program was a huge success in preparing young Hispanic scholars for careers in food and agricultural sciences.

Puerto Rico Natural Resources Career Tracks: The Puerto Rico Natural Resources Career Track (PRNRCT) is a collaboration among four HSIs in Puerto Rico and the USDA. Through research, outreach, and exchange programs, the PRNRCT aims to diversify the USDA Forest Service’s workforce by providing career-track opportunities for Hispanic students in critical natural resource fields to manage our natural resources.

Learn more about our HSI partners who collaborate with NIFA to address critical issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and communities. Follow along during the celebration through NIFA’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts as we highlight more programs and outstanding individuals!

This article is part of a series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. Read all the articles in this series:

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