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Agriculture Business Innovation Center at an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Program

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has a strong and continuing commitment to strengthening its partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as other minority serving institutions. NIFA’s HBCU programs and activities build on NIFA’s contributions across a range of opportunities to further mutual goals offered by HBCUs. The return on these investments can be seen on campuses in vibrant programs and new facilities, in the research, education, and community assistance activities conducted through enhanced relationships between NIFA and HBCUs, and in the contributions that HBCU graduates make as USDA employees, scientists, and agriculture and food professionals through programs that touch the lives of virtually every U.S. citizen.

As the lead Federal agency for higher education in the food and agricultural sciences, NIFA continues to work closely with colleges and universities to promote excellence in U.S. higher education and related activities central to food and agricultural sciences. NIFA also continues to work with institutions to ensure that the Nation has an adequate supply of scientists and professionals with requisite expertise in the food and agricultural sciences and to ensure the adequacy of the Nation’s food and agricultural sciences research base. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through HBCUs page as well as the list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  

Agriculture Business Innovation Center (ABIC) at an HBCU Program

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture will issue one competitive grant to support the establishment of an Agriculture Business Innovation Center at an HBCU to serve as a technical assistance hub to enhance agriculture-based business development opportunities. 

On Tuesday May 25, 2021, NIFA conducted a listening session to obtain stakeholder feedback pertaining to the establishment of an ABIC at a selected HBCU.  Additional written feedback was accepted.  Feedback received from HBCUs was considered for incorporation into the Request for Applications (RFA) for this competitive grant program.

HBCU Agriculture Business Innovation Center refers to an administrative unit, not a brick-and-mortar facility. The HBCU Agriculture Business Innovation Center facilitates administration, coordination, and management of multidisciplinary and multi-institutional, teaching, outreach, and integrated projects within the scope of agriculture and business. The HBCU Agriculture Business Innovation Center serves as a focal point to assess regional and national needs in Agriculture Business and establish priorities for collaborative projects

The establishment of this center will enhance agriculture-based business development opportunities to include the following:

  1. Provide technical assistance to food and agricultural producers, including production scale assessments, market planning and development, business planning, and other advisory services; 
  2. Assist startups in agriculture business including planning and obtaining funding;
  3. Provide workforce development and educational experiences for students interested in careers in agriculture business; and
  4. Offer outreach services and activities, including the training, workshops and dissemination of information and materials. 

Eligibility

Applicants for the ABIC program must meet all the requirements discussed in this RFA. Applications may only be submitted by a lead and/or faculty member at an Historically Black College or University (HBCU). For a list of HBCU institutions visit “College Navigator.”  

Request for Applications (RFA): Agriculture Business Innovation Center at an HBCU Institution

Program Specific Resources

  1. HBCU Agriculture Business Innovation Center - RFA Recorded Webinar
  2. HBCU Agriculture Business Innovation Center - RFA Webinar Slidedeck

Closing Date: January 13th, 2022
Contact:   Maurice Smith, Jr., Ph.D.
                   Keesha Corbin, MPH

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