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How USDA Partners With 1890's Land-Grant Universities

USDA serves the Historically Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities through its 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities National Program, or USDA/1890 Program. The USDA must continue to capitalize on opportunities to broaden outreach efforts into the 1890 community because of the added value brought by these institutions to USDA. The 1890 Land-Grant Universities, which include 18 Land-Grant Institutions and Tuskegee University, also are invaluable sources of diverse professionals who work in agriculture and related disciplines.

USDA/1890 Program Mission:

  • Strengthen the partnership between USDA agencies and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities (universities established under the 2nd Morrill Act of 1890);
  • Attract students into careers in agriculture, food, natural resources sciences, and other related disciplines;
  • Share technical expertise and resources in areas such as agricultural research, extension and teaching programs; and
  • Increase the involvement of the 1890 Land-Grant Universities in the delivery of USDA programs and services.

Three Components of the USDA/1890 Program:

The USDA/1890 Task Force: a joint council of USDA and 1890 Land-Grant University senior officials (e.g. Under Secretaries, Agency Administrators; and University Presidents) that provides leadership to advance mutual interest of USDA and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities.

The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program: a 4-year scholarship and Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) that recruits and trains students pursuing careers in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and other related disciplines at one of the eighteen 1890 Land-Grant Universities.

The USDA/1890 Liaison Officer Program: a program that assigns and locates a USDA employee at each of the 1890 Land-Grant Universities for the purposes of conducting outreach and enhancing the presence, participation, and partnership of USDA with the 1890 Land-Grant Universities and surrounding communities.

Recent Work:

USDA has partnered with the 1890 Land-Grant Universities to improve access to USDA's programs and services, promote workforce diversity, and enhance the 1890 institutions' teaching and research programs in the food and agricultural sciences. In Fiscal Year 2013, USDA provided over $145 billion in cooperative agreements and grants to Land-Grant and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program's primary goal is to recruit and train outstanding students from groups traditionally underrepresented in scientific and professional careers in the U.S. food and fiber sector.

Agencies across USDA provided awards in the form of grants and cooperative agreements for a variety of projects. For example, the Agricultural Marketing Service awarded $57,200 to Virginia State University under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program to develop marketing strategies to meet the needs of small farmers and consumers. Agricultural Research Service funding for the1890 Land-Grant HBCUs amounted to nearly $2.5 million. These funds included monies for The Evans-Allen Program, which provides annual support for continuing agricultural research at the 1890 institutions. Funds from this program help the 1890 institutions gain new knowledge to promote small farms, sustainable agriculture, rural economic development, human nutrition, and rural health.

Through the 1890 National Scholars Program to date, USDA has permanently employed over 600 Land-Grant University graduates in agencies across the Department. The Scholar class of 2014 had 34 USDA/1890 Scholars. Dominque Brown, a scholar and alum of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is currently employed by Rural Development as a Scholars Coordinator.

In 2014, USDA/ 1890 Liaisons have participated in nearly 400 educational events promoting USDA programs, services, and career opportunities to students across America. The Liaisons have made 252 presentations during recruitment visits to K-12 Schools and visits to Tribal Communities. Events coordinated with the Future Farmers of America and 4-H groups have reached more than 35,500 K-12 and college level students from across nine states. These youth centric events highlight available opportunities for students to participate in urban and agricultural events, as well as internships with USDA agencies.

In 2014, the Office of Advocacy and Outreach collaborated with USDA Agencies to secure 24 Internships across the Department as well as more than $771,500 in additional scholarships for students enrolled in 1890 institutions as part of the "Keep Youth in School" initiative.