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Nebraska Ag News Headlines
NIFA Announces Support for Tribal Extension, Research Programs
Nebraska Ag Connection - 12/07/2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced grants to fund programs that promote learning, opportunity, and health within the American Indian community. The funding is made possible through two NIFA programs: the Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program and the Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program.

"1994 land-grant institutions are an important part of our educational and innovation system that underpins our nation's food, agricultural, and natural resources enterprise," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "These grants support educators and extension specialists who engage with tribal communities by providing education and research-based knowledge."

The Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) funds extension programs on American Indian reservations and tribal jurisdictions that address the unique needs and problems of American Indian tribal nations. The Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP) supports building institutional research capacity through projects that address student educational needs and meet community, reservation, or regional challenges.

Among the new FRTEP grants, a University of Connecticut project will conduct classroom training and in-field, hands-on training in sustainable fruit and vegetable production methods, tribal historical methods, and agricultural business management with tribal youth and adults. The TCRGP grants include an Aaniiih Nakoda College project to develop a community garden as an on-campus agricultural research plot. The garden will feature a sub irrigation system to reduce water consumption and allow students to study macronutrients in agricultural water and soils.

Among past projects, a University of Nevada Extension FRTEP project offered guided construction of 50 hoop houses throughout the state. These inexpensive, easy-to-install greenhouse structures empower local food production and combat rampant diabetes caused by unhealthy diets. A TCRGP grant helped Northwest Indian College and the University of Oregon pinpoint the causes of declines in the Manila clam, an important food source for the Lummi people.

In fiscal year 2017, NIFA awarded 50 grants totaling more than $5 million through the two programs.

The Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program includes Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago, Neb., which will receive $59,174.

NIFA's mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension that solve societal challenges. NIFA's investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture.

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