Land Grant Initiative
The term “land grant” defines a set of colleges and universities that Congress has designated as having a formal relationship with the Federal government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and with a mandate to provide practical education in the agricultural and mechanical arts. Congress first bestowed land grant status to one educational institution per state under the initial land grant legislation, the First Morrill Act of 1862. Under the terms of that Act, grants of land were given to institutions to fund their operations, so that is where the term “land grant” originated.
After much hard work by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) were given Congressional land grant status under the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994. These land grant TCUs are collectively known as the “1994 land grant institutions,” or “1994 institutions,” or simply, “the 1994s.”
The land grant system was created with the goal of providing practical education to all peoples of various races and social classes. It has become a powerful and diverse collection of colleges and universities that provide education, community extension services and research to the public. The 1994s are the most recent members of the land grant system, and their funding supports programs in natural resources and the environment, heath and wellness, economic and community development, youth development, agriculture, and much more.
AIHEC’s Land Grant Initiatives
AIHEC’s Growing Native American Agriculture Outreach Program: AIHEC’s Growing Native American Agriculture outreach program engages Tribal College & Universities staff and students to improve Native American farmers, ranchers and community food producers’ adoption of effective agricultural practices. Collaboration with the AmeriCorps VISTA program builds program capacity by using VISTA volunteers with guidance and support from USDA field offices and land grant partners. The program has been funded by the USDA Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s (AIHEC) Growing Native American Agriculture outreach program is an innovative program that engages Tribal College & Universities (TCU) staff and students to improve Native American farmers, ranchers and community food producers’ adoption of effective agricultural practices. Collaboration with the AmeriCorps VISTA program builds program capacity by using VISTA volunteers to help create and deliver technical assistance, outreach and education services to Native American agricultural producers, with guidance and technical support from USDA field offices and land grant partners. TCU staff, VISTAs and students will also assist farmers and ranchers in accessing USDA information and participating in USDA programs and services.
The project provides direct services to Native American farmers, ranchers and community food producers across the U.S. Agricultural producers are supported in the adoption of improved agribusiness practices through community-wide workshops, one-on-one technical assistance, and referrals to, and support with, accessing available USDA and land grant resources. Short-term project impacts will include increased knowledge of agricultural best practices and USDA programs and services, increased confidence to implement best practices, increased receptiveness to USDA outreach efforts, and greater intent to implement best practices and use USDA support. Medium-term impacts will include behavior change such as the actual implementation of best practices and increased participation in USDA programs and services. Long-term impacts may include new and improved agricultural operations, more sustainable land-use practices, and job creation resulting in sustainable growth for tribal agricultural economies. The Growing Native American Agriculture outreach program is supported with generous funding from the USDA and AmeriCorps VISTA.
Project Director: John L. Phillips, email@example.com, 706-310-4199.
FALCON: First Americans Land-Grant Consortium: FALCON is a non-profit, professional association sanctioned by the AIHEC Board of Directors. It represents administrators, faculty, extension educators, researchers and staff at 1994 Land-Grant Institutions. FALCON works closely with AIHEC to provide technical assistance, networking opportunities and professional development to its members.
FALCON (First Americans Land Grant Consortium –>
FALCON (First Americans Land grant Consortium) is a professional association of Tribal College & Universities administrators, faculty, extension educators, researchers and students who work on land grant programs.
AIHEC/USDA Student Internship Program: AIHEC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is recruiting students for new USDA/NRCS internships as soil conservation and engineering trainees. The internship program was established to strengthen the long-term partnership between NRCS and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCUs) by increasing the number of students studying, graduating, and pursuing careers in natural resources, conservation, and other related fields of study.
Successful applicants receive paid internships to the NRCS throughout their academic degree program. After the internship, the intern is eligible to apply for a permanent appointment in service to the NRCS. There are approximately 30 work positions now identified throughout the US, and AIHEC works to identify other locations close to applicants’ respective TCUs and communities. Internships can be structured as summers only, and/or part-time throughout the year, and the agreement provides a housing allowance if the students can’t work from their home location.
Project Coordinator: Frank Brannon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 205.310.4740.