Federal Grant to Strengthen FIU’s Efforts to Train Hispanic Leaders for the Agriculture Industry | News from the FIU

A grant from the United States Department of Agriculture is helping the FIU step up its efforts to recruit, train and prepare under-represented students for career and leadership opportunities in the agriculture industry.

The university will use the $ 975,314 grant to enhance its Agricultural Science Education Extension (BASE) program for Hispanic students through its Florida-Texas-New Mexico consortium.

The consortium enables under-represented students from three universities in South Florida, Texas and New Mexico to develop scientific skills in biology, agriculture and natural resources and find careers at department of agriculture or related agencies or to pursue graduate studies.

The FIU program has offered college scholarships, travel grants, lectures, internships, and study abroad programs to more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students.

“We are proud of the students we have been able to help build careers in agriculture and related fields over the years,” said Krishnaswamy Jayachandran, professor of agroecology at CRF and director of this new grant. “They were able to conduct cutting-edge research on biofertilizers, bioenergy and sustainable production practices.

The university also developed a nationally recognized outreach program for veterans, beginning farmers, and socially disadvantaged farmers, and helped increase their access to grants and loans from the Ministry of Agriculture. The FIU has helped more than 200 farmers in South Florida with technical training and advice on agricultural loans and subsidies from the Department of Agriculture, said FIU professor of agroecology Mahadev Bhat of the Department of Earth and Environment of the College of Arts, Science and Education.

The BASE Grants Program was part of a larger $ 12 million investment in Hispanic higher education institutions to strengthen their ability to attract, retain and graduate underrepresented students pursuing careers in agriculture, natural resources and the humanities. The Department of Agriculture has provided this funding through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Scholarship Program for Hispanic Institutions, which enhances the learning experiences and opportunities of students in the agricultural sector.

“We recognize and value the multifaceted contributions of our country’s Hispanic institutions, which educate more than 3.2 million students each year across the country,” said Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a press release. “The USDA has the great privilege of partnering with institutions serving Hispanics and institutions serving minorities as a whole, to advance scientific research, develop future agricultural leaders, and, we hope, train the next generation of USDA employees. “

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg was among a select group of leaders invited to virtually meet Secretary Vilsack in October.

“As an institution serving Hispanics, the FIU is a leader in ensuring equitable access to exciting career and leadership opportunities in the agriculture industry and in research that helps ensure that one of Florida’s largest industries continues to thrive in an era of continuous climate change, ”said Bhat.

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