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Diversity and Pluralism in Extension

The Extension Diversity Task Force (EDTF), founded in 1990, works to achieve and sustain pluralism as an integral part of every aspect of the Cooperative Extension System (CES)—mission and vision; work force; programs; audiences; and relationships with other people, groups, and organizations. The task force 1991 publication, Emphasis on Diversity, addresses the need to transform extension into a multicultural organization that values diversity and pluralism.

The EDTF arose from the Extension Committee, an elected committee which represents the 57 state and territorial cooperative extension systems in policy decisions, and provides nationwide program and organizational leadership. EDTF’s mission is to facilitate and monitor the implementation of the principles contained in Emphasis on Diversity. It recognizes that a diverse work force and diverse audiences are not necessarily multicultural organizations. EDTF’s goals have been continuous learning, planning for the CES, and acting on relevant key diversity issues.

EDTF members develop publications and advance the vision of diversity through presentations at national conferences, professional associations, and professional development training.

EDTF has facilitated funding for a variety of related projects, including the:

  • Diversity Across Higher Education, a new community of practice site of eXtension;
  • Change Agent States for Diversity and Engagement (CASDE), a consortium of 14 states dedicated to supporting greater diversity and welcoming climates in the Land Grant System by building system capacity and setting standards.  The multi-state consortium uses a specific framework and conducts a research-based evaluation in each state over 5 years; and
  • the NIFA shared faculty position with Oregon State University, which helps facilitate the day-to-day management of the National Extension Diversity Center and assists the EDTF and others with diversity training and education.

EDTF also created the National Award for Diversity in 1991 to recognize outstanding efforts and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism in the CES.

Another result of the EDTF’s work was the reactivation of NIFA’ Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) in August 2000. The DAC meets monthly to review the current agency employee profile and to develop goals—as they relate to diversity and pluralism—for the recruitment, selection, retention, and promotion of NIFA employees. It also works to educate and sensitize NIFA employees to diversity and pluralism issues, both in and out of the workplace.

Related Links


Funded Projects

NIFA has released request for applications (RFA) for the following grants within the last month. The links below will take you to grant summary pages, which include links to the RFA and other information. Summaries for all of our grants, both open and closed, can be found on our Grants Search page.

Note: Some grants may require letters of intent to submit. Please check carefully and note critical dates.

Grant Titles


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Enhancing Ecosystem Services from Agricultural Lands: Management, Quantification, and Developing Decision Support Tools

Open date: February 25, 2009

Due Date: May 26, 2009


Special Research Grants Program: Pest Management Alternatives Research

Open date: February 26, 2009

Due Date: April 7, 2009


Resident Instruction for Insular Areas

Open date: February 20, 2009

Due Date: April 10, 2009


Tribal Colleges Extension, SLBCD

Open date: February 19, 2009

Due Date: April 13, 2009


Microbial Genome Sequencing Program (AFRI)

Open date: December 4, 2009

Due Date: March 16, 2009


Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

Open date: February 2, 2009

Due Date: April 15, 2009


Biomass Research and Development Initiative Competitive Grants Program (BRDI)

Open date: February 2, 2009

Required Pre-Application Due Date: March 6, 2009