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USDA awards Texas State $1 million SAFE agriculture education grant

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
July 30, 2014

The Department of Agriculture at Texas State University has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Hispanic Serving Institutions Education Grants Program (HSI).

The grant, awarded to Department of Agriculture faculty P. Ryan Saucier and Douglas G. Morrish, will support their project Southwest Agriculture And Food Security Education: Preparing Future Leaders For A Safe And Secure U.S. Food Supply System (SAFE) and will fund education for 10 undergraduate students from Austin Community College (ACC) and Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC). Upon completion of a two-year degree at ACC and SWTJC, students will transfer to Texas State and complete a bachelor's degree in agriculture or a related science. Additionally, 11 graduate students' educations will be funded at Texas State or New Mexico State University in agriculture or a related science.

Through the SAFE grant, all 21 students will become certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Preparedness and Response to Food and Agriculture Incidents: Management and Planning Level course along with five online Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) e-learning courses related to agriculture and food supply safety. Furthermore, all students will engage in day-long USDA and DHS job shadowing activities, a summer USDA or DHS internship, attend a national and/or a regional research conference and a professional development consortium.

Students will gain six certifications offered by DHS and FEMA and an immense amount of experience with food security, food safety and agroterrorism, thus helping narrow the gap of underrepresented students in food and agricultural sciences.