College of Agriculture awarded grants

By Bailey Vandiver

In the state of Kentucky, agriculture is money. For a college program that needs to fund its agricultural research, however, actual money is still required. 

In its last fiscal year, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) at UK received more grants than ever before at $39.2 million, a nearly $3 million increase, according to UK Now’s website.  

“Last year, there were several new opportunities at funding agencies that happened to be in areas where our college had expertise,” Experiment Station Associate Director Lesley Oliver said. CAFE was “very well positioned to be successful” in the grants for which it applied. 

The grants given to CAFE are used to support the research of postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students, said Dr. Pradeep Kachroo of the Department of Plant Pathology. These funds also purchase lab supplies, journal publications and transportation to meetings. 

The grants are expected to improve the agricultural program at the university. Oliver is confident that this funding will help aid in educating future College of Agriculture students.  

“Increased funding will allow us to address more biological questions and curiosities,” Kachroo said. Oliver said the college’s projects will include studies of youth nutrition and agricultural systems sustainability. 

“Our grant portfolio is very broad and includes everything from basic and applied research through public education and economic development assistance,” she said. 

Freshman Ben Pinkston, FFA Kentucky state president and agricultural economics major at the university, is part of the next generation of College of Agriculture students. He hopes to take advantage of opportunities provided by those grants, such as the sustainable research farm or the livestock farms.

“There is so much to learn from that sort of experiential education,” he said.  

An integral part of that experience, Oliver said, is delivering that research to the public “through extension and other forms of outreach,” actions made possible by the grants. Cooperative Extension delivery programs, a partnership between universities and people in the agriculture field are funded by these grants and make a big impact in Kentucky.

“It’s very exciting that people outside the agriculture industry are seeing the importance of it and supporting those who are looking to become more educated within it,” Pinkston said.