FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (June 14, 2022) The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) created the Tribal Agriculture Fellowship (TAF) program to create opportunities for students to advance their education in agriculture, increase specialized knowledge and promote sustainability of agriculture in Tribal communities. The Tribal Agriculture Fellowship (TAF) program selected ten students to its inaugural cohort to advance their education and careers in an agriculture-related field. TAF is a fellowship program dedicated solely to supporting the educational and professional development of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students pursuing technical, undergraduate and graduate degrees in agriculture.
“Our first cohort of Tribal Agriculture Fellows (TAFellows) is an exceptional group of students with inspirational goals in the field of agriculture. At TAF, we want to support the next generation of Indigenous agricultural leaders no matter what area of agriculture they are interested in pursing. This cohort is comprised of educators, scientists, lawyers, doctors of VM, entrepreneurs and cultural knowledge keepers all with the ultimate goal of fostering sustainability within tribal/indigenous communities,” says Nicole DeVon, executive director of TAF.
FFAR and NAAF designed TAF to aid Native students in achieving their educational goals leading to careers in agriculture. The fellowship program provides a generous benefits package that can include up to four years of fellowship status, with funding to earn agricultural degrees or technical certifications.
The 2022 Fall Cohort of TAFellows includes:
- Marquel Begay (Dine’ [Navajo]), Graduate Student, Ecology, Management and Restoration of Rangelands, University of Arizona
- Nicole Benally (Navajo), Graduate Student, Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana
- Maddylon Burris (Chickasaw), CTE, Agriculture Education, Redlands Community College
- Carson Capps (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Undergraduate, Agribusiness, Oklahoma State University
- Jaelyn Dove (Lumbee), Undergraduate, Animal Science, North Carolina State University
- Henry Hainzinger (Osage), CTE, Truck Technician/Diesel Mechanic, Oklahoma State University-Institute of Technology
- Gina McGuire (ʻŌiwi [Native Hawaiian]), Graduate, Geography and Environment: Indigenous Geographies of Wellness, University of Hawai’i
- Santana Nez (Navajo), Graduate, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona
- Justina Slim (Navajo), Undergraduate, Animal Science and Agriculture Business, Colorado State University
- Brendan Walker (Navajo), Graduate, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona
“Solving future food and agriculture challenges begins with investing in our next generation of the scientific workforce,” said FFAR Scientific Program Director Dr. LaKisha Odom. “FFAR is proud to support the Tribal Agriculture Fellowship to advance the education and skillsets of future Native scientific leaders and researchers.”
FFAR is providing $2,500,000 over five years with matching funding of $2,630,750 provided by NAAF. Additional support is provided by Farmer Mac, John Deere and Farm Credit.
Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.