College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Our Vision and Goals


System Approach to Promote Learning and Innovation for the Next Generations — SAPLINGS — envisions seven 1890 land-grant universities leading a national effort to produce the next generation of underrepresented minority workers, leaders and innovators in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences (FANH) careers.


  • Improve the pipeline to FANH careers via early outreach, family engagement, recruitment and marketing research;
  • Establish a program with six modules — pathways, agripreneurship, climate-smart agriculture, farm with pharmacy, precision agriculture through AI and data science, and student and faculty development — to enhance student interest, learning, training and success; 
  • Build local, regional and national collaborations
  • Establish mechanisms to enable the sustainability of this project.

Led by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, this project is funded by a five-year, $18.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture through its new initiative, From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (NEXTGEN).

The seven 1890 land-grant university partners are North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Tuskegee University and Virginia State University.