Florida A&M University (FAMU) is one of the 1890 Land-Grant institutions to share $19 million in grants for scholarships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the agency announced.
The investment in undergraduate student scholarships is designed to stimulate interest in food and agriculture careers.
FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) Dean Robert Taylor, Ph.D., said the grant will help to recruit top students to the program. FAMU has 92 students on the 1890 scholarships.
“These NIFA Scholarships will attract some of the brightest minds in the nation to study agriculture at FAMU as is needed to address the predicted global food shortage by 2050 while enhancing food and agricultural production in the USA,” Taylor said.
FAMU is one of the 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to receive the funding, which was proposed by FAMU alumnus U.S. Rep. David Scott as part of the 2018 Farm bill. Agriculture is foundational to the mission of 1890 schools and continues to be a key area of instruction, research, and extension. The schools were the focus of a House Agriculture Committee hearing, “1890 Land Grant Institutions: Investing for Agricultural Resiliency, Equity and Global Impact”, chaired by Rep. Scott, Wednesday.
“As we work to increase the talent pipeline for the agricultural innovation workforce and the next generation of agricultural scientists, we need the brightest minds from across all areas and cultures in our society to be represented,” said NIFA Director Carrie Castille, Ph.D. “NIFA’s 1890 Scholarships Program helps us move closer to that goal by providing scholarships to support recruitment, engagement, retention, mentoring, and training of undergraduate students at 1890 Land-grant Institutions, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are partners in the U.S. Land-grant University System.”
For the 2021-22 academic year, CAFS received $500,000 in mandatory funds from USDA/NIFA to continue supporting the 1890 David A. Scott scholars, who received 2-year and 4-year scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year and who are pursuing baccalaureate degrees in food and agricultural sciences. These scholars are expected to be funded each year until their graduation in 2022 and 2024, respectively, said Verian Thomas, Ph.D., associate dean for recruitment, student support and alumni affairs.
In addition, CAFS received $505,263 in discretionary funds in the 2022 fiscal year, which will fund about 80 new scholars, who are new first-time-in-college majors, with a minimum FAMU recalculated GPA of 3.0 and a minimum combined ACT score of 21 or a minimum combined SAT score of 1080, qualified new college/transfer students, and qualified returning CAFS majors, Thomas said.
“This funding will help CAFS cultivate and graduate more diverse leaders, who will be well equipped to address and solve future emerging challenges in food and agricultural sciences,” added Thomas, a co-principal investigator on the grant.