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1890 Land Grant Universities celebrate 130 years


Posted on Sep 02, 2020 at 0:00 AM

Aug. 30 marked the 130th anniversary of the authorizing legislation establishing the 1890 Land-Grant Universities (LGUs). The Second Morrill Act, creating the United States’ historically black land-grant colleges, was successfully shepherded through Congress by Senator Justin Smith Morrill and signed into law on Aug. 30, 1890.

This thriving network of 19 universities, which includes Fort Valley State University, has a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, and enhancing the resilience of limited-resourced farmers, families, individuals, and underserved communities.

“America’s 1890 Land-Grant Universities are home to some of the best and the brightest our nation has to offer,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The thousands of scientists, researchers, and educators at these institutions are undertaking user-inspired, cutting-edge science that is transforming lives across our nation and around the world. The students at these institutions are a critical part of the future of American agriculture and with them the future is bright.”

The USDA supports a variety of initiatives and programs supporting 1890 institutions across the nation:

The 1890 Scholarships Program provides scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training of undergraduate students. In FY 2020, each of the 1890 LGUs received $752,632 from NIFA, totaling more than $14 million to enhance student opportunities.

The 1890 Agricultural Extension Program assists diverse audiences, particularly those who have limited social and economic resources, to improve their access to positive opportunities through outreach education. The funds support small and medium-size family farms and new producers in owning and operating viable businesses, youth and others. In FY 2020, these NIFA grants in the amount of $54,720,000 supported all the 1890 LGU’s.

The 1890 Facilities Grant Program provides for the acquisition and improvement of agricultural and food sciences facilities and equipment, including libraries, so the 1890 LGUs may participate fully in developing human capital in food, agricultural, and human sciences.

The 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program supports research, teaching, and extension by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-institutional importance in sustaining all components of agriculture and rural development. NIFA supported this program in FY 2020 with $21,853, 028.

The Evans-Allen Research Program supports agricultural research activities at 1890 LGUs. In FY 2020, NIFA awarded $62,910,320.

The 1890 National Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, food, natural sciences, and related disciplines by providing full tuition and employee benefits for up to 4 years to selected students. Selected students will then be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a permanent appointment with USDA upon successful completion of their degree.

The Booker T. Washington Fellowship Program, managed by the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), connects faculty and staff at 1890 institutions to resources and research available to them at USDA.

The USDA-1890 Task Force also managed by OPPE – body composed of equal part USDA employees and 1890 institution officials – regularly meets and converses to seek mutually beneficial cooperation.

The Centers for Excellence Program provides support for enhanced international training and development and to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics pipeline.

In 2015, on the 125th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, USDA-NIFA established the 1890 Centers of Excellence Program. This program provides support for the three Centers of Excellence to increase profitability and rural prosperity in underserved farming communities.

After 130 years of experience and diversity in agricultural research, education, and extension, 1890 LGUs are poised to develop leadership and human capital for our nation’s preeminence in the 21st century.

For more information about USDA’s 1890 Land-Grant University Programs, visit our websites: 1890 Land-Grant Institutions Programs or 1890 Land-Grant Institutions National Program.

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