Sen. Smith Announces USDA Funding to Bolster Food Supply Chain Resilience

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/13/22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing over $14 million to support agricultural workforce training in historically underserved communities across the country. This investment is a result of funding in the American Rescue Plan to strengthen the nation’s food supply chain by promoting fair and competitive agricultural markets.

“Underserved communities in Minnesota and across the country, often those in rural areas, are most severely impacted by interruptions in the food supply chain,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee. “Investing in agricultural education is key to ensuring that the next generation of workers has the tools to make the food supply system more resilient in the long term. I’m thrilled to announce the availability of this critical funding made possible by the American Rescue Plan and I encourage all eligible institutions in Minnesota to apply for this assistance as soon as possible.”

“These investments provide critical support to our higher education partners to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved agricultural communities,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and USDA’s Chief Scientist. “Food insecurity and food system interruptions have hit underserved communities hardest during the ongoing pandemic. By investing in education and workforce development at these institutions, we are training the workforce of the future to develop long-lasting solutions to these and other critical agricultural issues facing our nation.”

Funding is available through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Request for Applications process to eligible universities. Eligible applicants include qualified Centers of Excellence at 1890 Land-grant Universities, 1994 Land-grant Tribal Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian institutions, and participants in the Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas.

Minority-serving Institutions, Hispanic-serving Institutions and Land-grant Tribal Colleges have made invaluable contributions to advancing scientific research and developing future agricultural leaders and change makers. Collectively, program investments at these institutions will build a pipeline of well-trained workers and support the long term resilience of the food supply system.

The Hispanic-serving Institutions grants are competitive. Complete information on this funding opportunity can be found on the NIFA website. The deadline to submit applications is 5:00pm Eastern Time, on Monday, August 2, 2022.