USDA awards $33M for agricultural research at historically Black universities

July 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday it is awarding $33 million to more than a dozen historically Black universities to expand their teaching, research and extension capacities.

The funding will support 82 agricultural research projects at the 19 universities throughout the United States designated at 1890 Land-Grant institutions, according to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small.

“The work these universities will take on as a result of this funding have ripple effects far beyond the walls of their laboratories and classrooms,” he said in a statement.

“Through this investment, the Biden-Harris administration is helping deliver real-life, applicable solutions to make our food system stronger, while at the same time inspiring a next generation of students and scientists who will help us meet tomorrow’s agricultural challenges.”

The money is being provided by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, whose leaders say they view the group of historically Black universities as “uniquely positioned to advance fundamental sciences as well as translational research and development in support of agriculture.”

NIFA Director Manjit Misra praised the research already underway at the schools as “visionary projects” aimed at improving the supply of “affordable, safe, nutritious and accessible foods” and generating prosperity for small and mid-sized family farms in rural America.

The 1890 Land-Grant universities receiving the funding include Alabama A&M, Alcorn State, Central State, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Fort Valley State, Kentucky State, Langston University, Lincoln University of Missouri, North Carolina A&T, Prairie View A&M, South Carolina State, Southern University and A&M, Tennessee State, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State and West Virginia State.

Projects such as Virginia State’s efforts to develop new, sustainable types of forage to support the growing number of goat and sheep farms in south Atlantic states and Fort Valley State’s research into creating new blends of vegetable cooking oils were singled out as examples for financial backing.

Such research seeks to help small U.S. farmers tap into and increase profits from changing food preferences across the country, NIFA says.

The Land-Grant schools were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890 after it became apparent that many of the public institutions created to teach agriculture and mechanical arts under the original Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 were largely segregated.

Authored by Upi via Breitbart July 24th 2023