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Shelby announces $3.6 million in USDA grants to Alabama universities for agriculture research

Senator Richard Shelby questions Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing on the DoD fiscal year 2017 budget request at The Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington D.C., Apr. 27, 2016. Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarding a total of $3,613,934 in National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants to Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University. The funding will promote food and agricultural sciences programs and research at the land-grant universities.

“These NIFA grants are great news for both Alabama A&M and Tuskegee,” Shelby said. “It is vital that we strengthen agricultural-research opportunities for universities in our state, and I am glad that USDA continues to invest in Alabama.”

NIFA awards 1,890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants to strengthen the partnerships among the universities, government agencies and private industry through food and agricultural science and advancing diversity in the scientific and professional workforce. The grants were funded through the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process.

Tuskegee University, located in Macon County, received four USDA NIFA grants including $406,968 to train underrepresented students in food science engineering principles, $499,999 to enhance the university’s research capacity and provide new agricultural research equipment key to students’ knowledge of modern precision agriculture, $600,000 to minimize the disease and parasite problems in small ruminants through evaluation and research and $300,000 to develop an international program to enhance faculty and students’ learning, discovery and engagement experiences in tropical agro-ecosystems and food systems.

Alabama A&M University, located in Madison County, received five USDA NIFA grants including $346,670 to research the advantages of using forestland for meat and goat production, $100,000 to initiate a vermicomposting and wastes valorization research education program at the university, $250,000 to build Extension’s Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs capacity by enhancing and strengthening science, technology, engineering, agricultural and mathematics education, $510,297 to develop the food processing and safety component’s capacity to support training for undergraduate, graduate and high school students and $600,000 to foster engaged student learning through hands-on, interactive forestry teaching and research.

Shelby is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

He has served in the U.S. Senate since his election in 1986.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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