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From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (NextGen)

The NextGen Program 

The From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (also referred to as "NextGen") program will enable institutions to engage, recruit, retain, train, and support students to build and sustain the next generation of the food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences workforce, including the future USDA workforce. 

To increase capacity at eligible institutions, NIFA partnered with The Extension Foundation to provide free grant proposal development technical assistance and will continue to provide technical assistance to grantees for project management. Additionally, NIFA is working with the Intercultural Development Research Association to track program benefits, report impact, and evaluate individual and program-wide activities to determine the overall effectiveness of the NextGen program.

NextGen: 33 Projects; 24 States and Insular areas; $262M; 20K Future Leaders Trained

Participating Institutions

Projects are led by 1890 Land-grant Institutions (Historically Black Land-grant Universities), 1994 Land-grant Institutions (Tribal Colleges and Universities), Alaska Native-serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions, Hispanic-serving Institutions, or institutions of Higher Education located in the Insular Areas. Most projects collaborate with other minority-serving institutions and a myriad of other collaborators, including other academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and state and USDA agencies.

NextGen Projects Support Three Main Activities

  • Student Scholarship Projects: include financial support for fees, books, and other necessary materials, supplies, or support to recruit, retain and graduate students and other needs.            
  • Experiential Learning Projects: include paid domestic or international experiential learning opportunities for students to promote careers across the agricultural enterprise, including at USDA.            
  • Outreach and Engagement Projects: enable youth and other communities of learners to build awareness of the range of agriculture-related career opportunities in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences and at USDA.

Projects Funded by the NextGen Program

USDA awarded 33 projects across 24 states and Insular Areas. The portfolio includes seventeen Tier 1 (up to $5 million single institution) projects, eleven Tier 2 (up to $10 million, at least two institutions) projects, and five Tier 3 (up to $20 million and at least three institutions across two states) projects resulting in partnerships across more than 60 academic institutions and organizations. Each project is funded for five years.     

Explore NextGen Projects

NextGen projects support more than 36 disciplines, including: Agricultural Business; Agricultural Commodities; Agricultural Management; Agricultural Marketing; Agronomy; Animal Science; Archaeology; Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Computer Sciences and Information Technology; Contracting and Procurement; Crop Insurance Administration; Economics; Engineering and Architecture; Food Safety; Forestry; Geology and Hydrology; International Trade; Mathematics and Statistics; Nutrition; Plant Pathology and Physiology; Program Management and Analysis; Public Affairs; Public Health; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Soil Sciences and Conservation; Veterinary Medicine; Wildlife Biology; and other disciplines supportive of food and agricultural sectors.

Map of NextGen Lead and Partner Institutions

Map of 33 NextGen Lead Institutions and affiliated partnering institutions


Location Institution
AK University of Alaska Fairbanks
CA California State University Monterey Bay
CA California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
CA Hartnell Community College District
CA San Diego State University
CA University of California, Santa Cruz
CO Adams State University
CT University of Connecticut
FL Barry University
FL Florida A&M University
GU University of Guam
HI University of Hawaii
ID College of Southern Idaho
MD University of Maryland Eastern Shore
MN Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
MO Lincoln University of Missouri
MP Northern Marianas College
NC North Carolina A&T State University
ND Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
NJ Bergen Community College
NM Luna Community College
NY LaGuardia Community College
PR University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
SC South Carolina State University
TN Tennessee State University
TX The University of Texas at San Antonio
TX Texas State University
TX Our Lady of the Lake University
TX Texas A&M University, Kingsville
TX St. Edward’s University
WA Northwest Indian College
WI College of Menominee Nation
WV West Virginia State University

Investing in American logo

The NextGen Program is part of USDA efforts aimed at achieving equitable sharing of farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and communities in USDA programs and services.

These initiatives include an array of targeted technical assistance and outreach activities; meaningful, sustained engagement with diverse stakeholders to inform USDA policies and programs; and supporting and preparing diverse students for future careers in agriculture, with an emphasis on federal sector employment. 

Supported by funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, as amended by the Inflation Reduction Act, NextGen is managed by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 

Program type
Competitive Grant Programs

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