Did you know the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides funding to mitigate the impact of disasters through Cooperative Extension programming? It’s true.
Funding is made through NIFA’s Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program (SLSNCGP), which supports innovative, education-based projects that address emergency preparedness and specific responses related to natural and human-made disasters.
From the U.S. East Coast to Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the SLSNCGP supports quality of life in communities across America by addressing disaster preparedness, response, and recovery related to food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. This NIFA program provides information and tools to USDA, stakeholders, and collaborators to improve decision-making in handling disasters. SLSNCGP sponsors targeted projects that enable the Cooperative Extension Service to assist in preparing for, providing an educational response to, and recovering from disasters.
Many Cooperative Extension professionals are members of Community Emergency Management Teams helping with livestock response; Extension Family and Consumer Science experts provide critical information on food supply in a disaster and in-home food and home safety; and 4-H coordination delivers family trauma information, supplies collection to help their neighbors near and far. These real-time support actions are ready and on the ground in every county in America through NIFA funding provided in annual Smith-Lever Capacity Funding to Cooperative Extension that gives them the capacity to respond any time they are needed.
NIFA also supports disaster education through EDEN – the Extension Disaster Education Network, a collaborative, multi-state effort with land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension across the country, using research-based education and resources to improve service delivery and support to citizens affected by a wide range of disasters. Through EDEN, vital, up-to-date information is shared across the Extension network and available to all. For example, Purdue University Extension ‘s Rural Emergency Preparedness website contains links to weather watch warnings, pandemic resources and more.
In FY2020, NIFA provided $462,744 for the Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grant Program and $382,400 for the Extension Disaster Education Network in funding to support local disaster response efforts.
Whether it’s about surviving a hurricane or wildfires, recovering from tornado damage, preparing for an earthquake or having access to federal, science-based resources during a pandemic, NIFA funding supports vital disaster preparation, response and recovery efforts and education for you and your loved ones.