There is a critical need for veterinarians’ involvement in challenges ranging from environmental sustainability to population growth, yet few fellowship opportunities exist that encourage veterinary students to study these issues. To help students gain this experience, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Association for American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) are seeking nominations for FFAR’s Veterinary Student Research Fellowships (FFAR Vet Fellows). This fellowship supports veterinary students’ ability to gain experience in animal health, global food security and sustainable agriculture research.
Most funding opportunities for veterinary scientists focus on biomedical research, which leaves new challenges in animal agriculture unaddressed. Veterinarians with experience in medicine, animal sciences and public health add unique perspectives to solving food production challenges and nutritional insecurity. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for research that examines whether and how agricultural pathogens could spread in humans.
In 2018, FFAR teamed up with AAVMC to establish the FFAR Vet Fellows and integrate the fellowship with existing summer student research programs. The fellowship culminates at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium at the end of the summer. The fellowship is open to students currently enrolled in a DVM or VMD degree program.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, FFAR and AAVMC expanded the Vet Fellows program to include student projects that focus on supply chain resilience and surveillance or computational modeling related to the mutation, evolution, transmission and spread of animal coronaviruses and influenza viruses.
The 2021 FFAR Vet Fellows program is accepting up to 15 students to conduct research with a mentor in areas ranging from global food security to mitigating the carbon footprint of agricultural production. Students do not need to have prior research experience and matching funds are not required for this program. The program also encourages nominating institutions to consider how their nominees might contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion in the fields of veterinary medicine and agriculture research.
The deadline to submit nominations is March 24, 2021. Up to two students per institution are eligible for nomination. Specific information about nominations, eligibility and the application process can be found on the 2021 FFAR Vet Fellows Open Opportunity webpage. FFAR and AAVMC will encourage veterinary colleges to consider hosting students from different institutions, including by use of video/remote technologies.
“It is essential that veterinarians have opportunities to gain research expertise across a spectrum of important disciplines,” said FFAR Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “These students may go on to study and mitigate global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change. FFAR Vet Fellows allows veterinary students to conduct audacious research at the intersection of global food security and animal health.”
“We’re honored to work with FFAR again on this important program,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “The experience our students gain through these Veterinary Student Research Fellowships inspires them to consider careers in agricultural, veterinary medical and biomedical research at the same time they provide an opportunity for them to make significant contributions in addressing major problems in food production, food security and public health.”
The Native American Agriculture Fund is conducting a research study to gain a better perspective on the issues of food insecurity and hunger in Tribal households as a result of COVID-19. This survey will be available until April 30th.
During that time, we are hoping to collect a large number of responses from Tribal members and communities. At the end of the survey collection period, we will analyze the data and provide a report highlighting the insights we gain from our willing participants.
This survey will keep your identity anonymous and takes approximately fifteen minutes to complete. The Native American Agriculture Fund will maintain the data collected and use it to inform the further strengthening and support the critical role Native agriculturalists have in feeding our people.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this survey!
If you have any questions please contact Valerie Segrest (Muckleshoot), Senior Program Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fayetteville, Arkansas- A decade ago, the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case was originally settled. The case was brought by Native farmers and ranchers throughout the US to address a decades long history of discrimination in lending and in the servicing of loans by USDA. The settlement of the case had many aspects including the creation of the Native American Agriculture Fund. But the Fund cannot address all the issues the federal government can.
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the land and creates emergencies in its wake, we see that systemic and persistent barriers continue to leave people out. When USDA deployed boxes of food, Tribal governments and Native food businesses were all but left out of the program. Nearly 97% of USDA-deployed resources went to non-BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) agriculturalists. These issues need to be addressed.
We need meaningful and deliberate action. The burden of debt is hitting every corner of our economy. But for BIPOC farmers and ranchers it is an emergency made even more dire because of the historic barriers faced in accessing government programs. Technical support is important to all farmers and ranchers but is even more important to those who have been left out of those resources for decades. We need to think more deeply, act more deliberately, and ensure people have a meaningful opportunity to receive the support they need to stay on the land and engaged in agriculture.
Agriculture in the US is going to need every single person we can find to embrace the act of feeding our people. We need the agriculturalists of tomorrow to be as diverse as our country. Most farmers and ranchers have absolutely no problem helping out their fellow farmers and ranchers, whether they live down the road or across the country. Most often, the fights against change come from folks who do not work the land. Those whose passion is food and agriculture know that BIPOC farmers and ranchers should be just as supported as others.
We need BIPOC farmers and ranchers fully involved in the acts of feeding us all. Without them we are weaker. We need to do everything we can to address injustices and unfairness in these systems and set things right.