Public Release: 

USDA invests in colleges and universities serving Alaska natives and native Hawaiians

Prepares students for careers in food, agriculture, and natural resources

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for projects to strengthen the capacity of Alaskan and Hawaiian educational institutions to reach underserved students and prepare them for careers in food, agriculture, and natural resources. These awards are made through NIFA's Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-Serving (ANNH) Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program.

"NIFA is committed to promoting educational equity," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "These investments will help such institutions reach and train a more representative workforce in the food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences."

The Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-Serving (ANNH) Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program promotes and strengthens the ability of Alaska Native-Serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions to carry out education, applied research, and related community development programs.

In fiscal year 2017, three grants totaling $3 million were awarded. They include:

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, $1,315,513

  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, $1,342,953

  • University of Hawaii - West Oahu, Kapolei, Hawaii, $406,874

    Project details can be found at the NIFA website.

Among the new grants, the University of Hawaii - West Oahu will develop pathways to recruit and retain Native Hawaiian and other underrepresented students into the university's Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS) degree program. A collaboration project led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) will seek to integrate scientific methods with indigenous knowledge. UAF's Subsistence Science program will empower rural communities to participate in issues related to food and energy security, as well as resource stewardship.

Previous funded projects include the University of Hawaii's Agribusiness Education, Training and Incubation (AETI) project, which is helping develop the local agricultural and food production workforce through education, training, and more productive agribusiness. As a result of this


project, 324 students of AETI-supported programs found employment, more than 80 new agribusinesses were launched, and existing businesses reported an average profit increase of 290 percent.

NIFA's mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA's investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural sciences, visit, sign up for updates, and follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer.

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