Skip to Main Content
HomeAbout UsGrantsFormsNewsroomHelpContact Us
Search NIFA
Advanced Search
Browse by Subject
Agricultural Systems
Animals & Animal Products
Biotechnology & Genomics
Economics & Commerce
Environment & Natural Resources
Families, Youth & Communities
Food, Nutrition & Health
Pest Management
Plants & Plant Products
Technology & Engineering



USDA Awards More Than $3.4 Million to Train Graduate Students in Food and Agricultural Sciences

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2009 – USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) today awarded more than $3.4 million to train the next generation of policy makers, researchers and educators in the food and agricultural sciences.

“The future success of the agricultural and food industries relies on our ability to train future leaders in these fields,” said Gale Buchanan, USDA chief scientist and under secretary for Research, Education and Economics.  “These students will help fill nationally identified expertise shortages and meet market demands in the food and agricultural sciences.”

CSREES administers the funding through the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship grants program.  Specifically, the National Needs Fellowship (NNF) provides funding to support graduate training through a student stipend and a cost-of-education allowance to the institution.  In addition, fellowships and travel allowances for special international study or thesis/dissertation research are granted to support traineeship programs that encourage outstanding students to pursue and complete degrees or obtain post-doctoral training in areas identified as a national need for the development of scientific and professional expertise.

The NNF program addressed eight targeted expertise shortage areas:  agricultural genomics and bioinformatics, forest resources, agricultural systems engineering, agricultural management and economics, food science, human nutrition, sciences for agricultural biosecurity and training in sustainable sciences. 

In fiscal year 2008, the NNF program made awards to support 37 doctoral students and seven master’s students.  Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service provided funds for a special emphasis on forest resources.  This funding supports five students at the master’s level and six students at the doctoral level.  Four of these students will participate in international travel.

Fiscal year 2008 NNF grants were awarded to:

  • University of California-Davis, $258,000
  • Colorado State University, $234,000
  • University of Connecticut, $229,500
  • University of Illinois, $234,000
  • University of Montana, $236,000
  • North Carolina State University, three grants of $172,000 each
  • Cornell University, two grants of $234,000 each
  • Oklahoma State University, $234,000
  • Oregon State University, $129,000
  • Texas A&M University, $234,000
  • University of Vermont, $236,000
  • Washington State University, $258,000


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future.  For more information, visit