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USDA Announces Grants to Support Food and Agricultural Sciences Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

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

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded 20 competitive grants to Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in six states and Puerto Rico to enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to support underserved students and develop a skilled American work force. The grants are administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“By 2025, nearly one-quarter of our nation’s college-age population will be Latino, yet we aren’t seeing enough of these students receive college and university degrees,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Our goal is to make college education more accessible at institutions dedicated to serving the Hispanic population, while training the next generation of food and agricultural researchers who will play a key role in solving the major challenges before us.”

The grants announced today, totaling $8.8 million, will support programs that address critical issues, including: global food security and hunger, climate change, bio-based energy development, childhood obesity and food safety. Some of these grants establish collaborations between two-year colleges, four-year institutions and high schools. They also support collaborations between the HSIs and USDA agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Service, Food and Nutrition Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Currently, more than 300 HSIs (with at least 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate full-time enrollment) are dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the Hispanic community. These institutions are located in 17 states plus Puerto Rico and serve more than 2 million students in areas with the largest growing Hispanic communities in the country.

Fiscal year 2011 projects were awarded to:

  • South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Ariz., $289,000
  • California State University, Fullerton, Calif., $277,500
  • California State University, Fullerton, Calif., $277,500
  • California State University, Pomona, Calif., $289,000
  • California State University, Pomona, Calif., $284,000
  • California State University, San Bernardino, Calif., $500,695
  • University of La Verne, La Verne, Calif., $244,000
  • University of California, Merced, Calif., $289,000
  • Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $800,000
  • Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., $287,000
  • Dominican University, River Forest, Ill., $229,000
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $800,000
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, P.R., $800,000
  • University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, P.R., $289,000
  • Houston Community College, Houston, Texas, $245,000
  • Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, Texas, $246,722
  • Texas A&M, Kingsville, Texas, $800,000
  • Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, $800,000
  • University of Texas, El Paso, Texas, $800,000
  • University of Texas, Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, $245,000


A full list of project descriptions can be found online at

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


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).