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NIFA Invests $6.2M to Prepare More Teachers in Food and Ag Science

Teaching agriculture to school children. Courtesy of Getty Images.
Teaching agriculture to school children. Courtesy of Getty Images.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 7, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced today an investment of $6.2 million for 21 Professional Development for Agricultural Literacy grants, part of our FY2020 competition, that will increase the number of K-14 teachers and educational professionals trained in the food and agricultural sciences. These grants are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

“As we work to build the talent pipeline for agricultural science, technology and business, we have to reach young people while they are in high school,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “With this support from NIFA, teachers can develop skills necessary for integrating food and agricultural science into their classes; explore food and agricultural science career paths; and forge mentorships with agricultural professionals, business leaders and university faculty that will help guide the next generation of agricultural scientists and leaders.”

Funded projects in this program support best practices in teaching that enhance student learning outcomes. Examples of recently awarded grants include:
  • Northern Arizona University’s program will provide immersive professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers in Native-serving schools to develop culturally responsive curriculum units in food, agricultural, natural resources and human sciences ($300.000).
  • North Carolina State University’s program will increase the extent to which food science is taught in secondary education; increase enrollment and diversity of food science students entering higher education; build a community of practice for food science educators in North Carolina secondary education; and facilitate economic development by increasing the number of food scientists employed in the rural food industry ($300,000).
  • Ohio State University’s program will provide professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers that will enable them to incorporate learning modules that use agricultural examples to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts ($270,000).
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.

Visit our website:; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit


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