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Prioritizing Nutrition Security: NIFA’s Role in Cultivating Future Farmers and Ranchers

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This session will provide an overview of the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and its past, present and potential contributions toward prioritizing nutrition security, featuring highlights from a program grantee.

Register in advance for this webinar

Date / Time
Wednesday, July 28 at 2 - 3 pm EST (1 - 2 pm CST)

Cassandra Huey, PhD, Program Specialist, NIFA Division of Community and Education, with support from Giselle Caceres, NIFA Public Affairs Intern

Desiree Rucker, PhD, Program Specialist, NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Sara Cross, Mudbone Grown, LLC

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this webinar, please contact Jessica Creighton, Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist, or (816) 266-6947 no later than Monday, July 26, 2021, noon EST. Language access services, such as interpretation or translation of vital information, will be provided free of charge to limited English proficient individuals upon request.

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Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the United States
During the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic ramifications, an unprecedented number of Americans face food insecurity, despite the abundance of food produced and available across the United States (U.S.). Indeed, the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) reported food insecurity affected 10.5 percent of the U.S. population at some point in 2019, which was down from a peak of 14.9 percent in 2011; illustrating the length of time—about eight years—that it took to return to pre-recession (2007) levels. Food insecurity is now estimated to have jumped to the highest level in decades, affecting over 20 percent of Americans (approximately 1 in 4 households). Both before and during the pandemic, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans, as well as people living in rural and lower-income counties suffer the greatest disparities in food insecurity and associated diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, and diabetes. Now, diet-related chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in our country. Food insecurity also creates enormous strain on worker productivity, healthcare spending, and military readiness. Addressing food and nutrition insecurity is interrelated with challenges and opportunities with our agricultural and food systems. That is, US agriculture faces growing environmental challenges such as resource scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and soil degradation. These sustainability issues have direct relevance for human health, increasing the risk of food insecurity and diet-related chronic diseases. Thus, we need to accelerate a transformation of our food system so that every American is given a chance to live a healthy, productive life and reach their full potential.
NIFA’s Nutrition Security Related Activities
NIFA supports

NIFA also supports 17 additional programs that help promote nutrition security:

  1. 4-H Youth Development Program
  2. 1890 Land-Grant Institution Programs
  3. Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets)
  4. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
  5. Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR)
  6. CYFAR 4-H Military Partnership Professional Development & Technical Assistance (CMPC-PDTA)
  7. Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP)
  8. National Center for Home Food Preservation(link is external)
  9. Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program (HSI)
  10. Master Gardener Program, as well as Master Health and Master Food Preserver(link is external) Programs
  11. New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE)
  12. Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
  13. Regional Rural Development Centers
  14. Rural Health & Safety Education
  15. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
  16. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program
  17. Economics, Markets, and Trade.

Last but not least, a key ingredient to our nutrition security activities is developing and leveraging a diverse, interdisciplinary workforce through our support of AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships(link is external), Internship Program, USDA 1890 National Scholars ProgramUSDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Education and Workforce ProgramUSDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program, among others.
NIFA’s External Engagement Efforts
NIFA has used a variety of formats such as NIFA Listens, Calls to Conversation Meeting Series, and Project CAFÉ (Collaboratively Achieving Functional Excellence) to share agency overviews and gather external insights on a range of topics, including food insecurity. We hope you can join us on this webinar series. More details to follow on future NIFA Nutrition Security webinars.

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