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NEWS | Nov. 3, 2014

National Guard agreement with Agriculture Department will assist family outreach

By United States Department of Agriculture

CAMP DAWSON, W. Va. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Guard Bureau (NGB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today that will link the two organizations and the Cooperative Extension System to better enhance the health and well-being of military families.

NIFA and the NGB will provide joint programs to facilitate nationwide and state military community-based education and outreach for positive family development among National Guard families. NIFA, as the federal administrator of the Cooperative Extension System, will help identify appropriate personnel, financial, scientific, and technological resources needed to develop these programs that will increase exposure to knowledge that will help families become resilient and healthy.

“The men and women who protect this nation should have access to as much information and resources as possible to help preserve the strength and well-being of their families,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Members of the military, their spouses, and children can utilize the education and assistance from these programs and universities, before, during, and after deployments to maintain a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their mission or where they are stationed.”

“The National Guard’s partnership with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture positively impacts the lives of Guard members, veterans and their families,” said Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of theNational Guard Bureau. “This agreement continues a robust relationship with a partner who is committed to those who serve our nation.”

Today’s military families face a lifestyle that includes frequent deployments and increased family separations. These unique challenges can affect military readiness and family resilience. As service members transition into veteran status, educational and career opportunities can take on even greater significance.

For more than 25 years, USDA, land-grant universities, the Cooperative Extension System, the Department of Defense, and military service components have partnered to support service members and their families. These highly effective partnerships have enhanced the lives of thousands of military families and youth, both on and off installation, connecting them to quality support and educational programs to meet their unique needs.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future. For more information, visitwww.nifa.usda.gov.