USDA Strengthens Partnerships with 1890s Universities

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Dr. Paul Jones, Chair of 1890s Presidents Council—an organization comprised of presidents and chancellors of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reaffirm and strengthen the ongoing relationship between the 1890s community and USDA through cooperation and partnership. The Secretary and Chairman Jones were joined by USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh and Research, Education and Economics Under Secretary Chavonda Jacobs-Young.

This MOU also establishes a new 1890 Task Force that will inject energy into USDA’s efforts to collaborate with 1890s institutions in the food, agriculture and forestry sectors. The MOU signing followed discussions between USDA leadership and the 1890s Presidents Council as part of continued engagement and discussions with higher education associations to enhance USDA partnerships and investments with Minority-Serving Institutions based on their identified needs.

“This signing reinforces USDA’s commitment to our partners at the 1890s institutions and the communities they serve,” said Secretary Vilsack. “1890 universities, have remained the custodians of access to and opportunity for higher education in underserved communities. They are building a path for the next generation of thought leaders, innovators and change makers and USDA will do everything we can to foster that environment.”

The 1890 Land-Grant institutions were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. USDA has a long history of investing in and supporting our nation’s 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, which have been leaders in scientific innovation. As such, the 1890 system has played an important role in building STEM programming for our nation’s youth. 1890s institutions also strengthen research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences, and expand the number of students attracted to careers in agriculture, food, natural resources, and human sciences.

In alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration's Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, USDA will continue to advance the goals of equity to better serve the needs of traditionally underserved institutions and communities.

Background:

USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships with the 19 historically black universities (1890 Land-grant System) focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, and connects those communities to the education, tools and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has increased Fiscal Year 2022 investments in many 1890s universities and Extension programs, including 1890 Capacity Building Grants and Extension Services at 1890 Institutions. NIFA's 1890 Land-Grant Institutions Programs are intended to strengthen research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Institutions.

The 1890 land-grant system consists of the following 19 universities: Alabama A&M, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

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