The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $18.9 million in grants to 19 HBCUs with an eye toward further developing agricultural and food science research facilities and equipment on the campuses.


Historically Black land-grant institutions first gained support under the 1890 version of the Morell Act, which Congress passed after the Civil War to encourage research, education and extension service in the fields of agriculture, home economics, mechanics, etc.

According to USDA officials, the recent awards builds upon the 1890 bill in ensuring equal access to the department’s programs and resources.

“These awards help colleges and universities make improvements that support cutting-edge academic research and foster 21st century innovation that will shape the future of American agriculture,” USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Dr. Joe Leonard Jr. said in a statement. “For more than a century USDA has built strong partnerships with historically Black colleges and 1890 Land-Grant Universities, and the 1890 Facilities Grant Program ensures that partnership will continue to benefit students for many more years to come.”

Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, received the largest grant of $1,510,894, which will be used to construct and/or renovate its research, extension and ancillary teaching facilities, upgrade existing laboratories and equipment and establish a multi-media center.

The other larger awards—more than$1 million—went to Fort Valley State University in Georgia, Kentucky State University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Central State University in Ohio, and Tennessee State University.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore received a little over $800,000 to go toward its

Construction of an Agricultural Research and Education Center.

To see a full list of the awards and the schools’ proposed plans visit here.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO