How We Work

NIFA’s programs rely upon a three-pronged strategy that integrates research, education, and extension to ensure that groundbreaking scientific discoveries are brought out of the laboratory and into the hands of those who can put them to work. Partnerships have an essential role in this strategy.

Partnerships play a fundamental role in carrying out this integrated approach. NIFA provides program leadership and funding, enabling our partners to discover and apply innovative solutions to critical issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and communities. Key partners are the institutions of higher learning, making up the Land-Grant University System, which include historically black and tribal land-grant universities as well as Hispanic-serving institutions. 

How we work: education, extension and research

Figure 1. NIFA’s Integrated Approach to Science (figure taken from the NIFA Strategic Plan) 

Putting scientific knowledge into practice

NIFA programs enable the scientific community to make discoveries that improve the food and agricultural sectors, the environment, and the quality of people’s lives. Collaboration with 1890 historically black and 1994 tribal land-grant institutions, as well as Hispanic-serving institutions, ensures the benefits of NIFA’s resources extend to all Americans.

To ensure science is put into use, NIFA’s integrated approach  consists of three components:

  • Research to provide answers to the complex issues facing the nation and world
  • Education to strengthen schools and universities to train the next generations of scientists, educators, producers, and citizens
  • Extension to provide the knowledge gained through research and education to the agricultural workforce and enable them to put theory into practice