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USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Makes Collegiate and Agricultural Careers a Reality

Posted by Melissa Blair, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Jul 20, 2023
A group of Black students and their instructors stand outdoors

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) selected 100 students for this year’s USDA/1890 National Scholars Program out of a record number of applications received through the new online application process. The new online portal is part of USDA’s efforts to improve accessibility to USDA programs, increase equity and inclusion, and build the USDA workforce.

The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between USDA and the 19 historically Black land-grant universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. Administered through USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), these scholarships are part of USDA’s efforts to develop the next generation of food and agriculture leaders and build an agriculture workforce that is more representative of America.

“The USDA/1890s National Scholars Program is an important pathway for careers in agriculture, nutrition, food, development at USDA,” said OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez. “USDA is committed to fostering a more diverse workforce and to helping students be successful in their studies and in the workforce.”

Through the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program, USDA partners with the 1890 universities to provide scholarship recipients with full tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Scholarship recipients must attend one of the 1890 universities and pursue degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or related academic disciplines. The scholarship also includes work experience at USDA through summer internships. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is available to high school seniors entering their freshman year of college as well as rising college sophomores and juniors.

The scholars will be placed with USDA agencies and offices, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

USDA has a long history of investing in and supporting historically Black universities, especially the land-grant universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The 19 universities of the 1890 land-grant system are: Alabama A&M University, 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.

For more information on the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program, visit

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives