In Short

USDA investment in Hispanic-serving Institutions will flow to community college in Salem

By: - October 14, 2021 11:13 am

A community college in Salem is among 21 Hispanic-serving institutions in the country to receive a share of a $12 million dollar investment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Chemeketa Community College is one of three in the state considered Hispanic-serving because student enrollment is at least 25% Hispanic. At Chemeketa, 29% of students are Hispanic.

The college has been granted nearly $275,000 for programs that encourage Hispanic students to pursue careers in agriculture and agriculture technology and to support projects specifically oriented at increasing enrollment, graduation rates and creating career paths to agriculture.

The money comes after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Hispanic-serving institutions across the country to talk about the future of agriculture. 

More than half of all hired farmworkers in the U.S. are Hispanic, according to the USDA, many of whom are classified as farm managers, inspectors, and supervisors. The percentage of principal producers and operators of farms who are Hispanic has grown more than 10% during the last two decades. 

Vilsack said in a statement that the goal of the discussions and the grant money is to “advance scientific research, develop future agricultural leaders and, we hope, cultivate the next generation of USDA employees.” 

Oregon is one of eight states and Puerto Rico with institutions receiving the funding.

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Alex Baumhardt
Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post.