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USDA Awards Grants to Enhance Health and Safety Education in Rural Areas

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

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Oct. 1, 2012–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 10 grants to universities aimed at enhancing the quality of life in rural areas through improved health and safety education efforts. Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director, made the announcement today in Minneapolis at the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Symposium hosted by the University of Minnesota.

“Many living in rural areas and communities are challenged to find quality nutrition, health and heath care services,” Ramaswamy said. “These grants will help develop effective programs and services that are needed to provide timely and adequate health information to rural residents of all ages.”

The University of Minnesota is one of the 10 recipients and received $103,080 to address diabetes prevention in rural Minnesota.  The project, directed by Dr. Karen Shirer, will focus on spreading the knowledge to help adults in three rural communities make lifestyle changes that are known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The projects are funded through NIFA’s Rural Health and Safety Education program. Rural residents are more likely to report a fair to poor health status and have higher rates of health complications, morbidity and mortality due to challenges associated with low levels of employment and education, geographic barriers and isolation, lack of quality nutrition and health education and accessible health care. This program addresses these challenges by developing programs that provide the necessary health information to rural residents. The program has three main focus areas: 1) individual and family nutrition and health education; 2) farm safety education; and 3) rural health leadership development education.

The Rural Health and Safety Education program is the only competitive funding opportunity available through NIFA and USDA to support effective programs and services delivered by Cooperative Extension in the areas of health and safety education both on the farm and in rural communities.

FY 2012 awards include:

  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $168,330
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., $103,080
  • Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $158,338
  • Stone Child College, Box Elder, Mont., $127,761
  • Fort Peck Community College, Wolf Point, Mont., $18,209
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $191,209
  • University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, $164,994
  • Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., $196,487
  • Texas AgriLife Extension, College Station, TX, $198,747
  • Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Wash., $109,595

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 and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).