Skip to main content

USDA Announces New Members of the USDA/1890 Task Force

WASHINGTON, December 15, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of new members of the USDA/1890 Task Force, which seeks to strengthen the partnership between USDA and the 1890 land-grant universities.

“USDA’s partnership with the 1890 Council of Presidents is key to shaping the next generation of leaders in agriculture and ensuring access to USDA programs in underserved communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA is eager to continue working with the leadership of 1890 institutions, to create pathways to agricultural careers in the federal government and beyond.”

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 USDA/1890 Task Force serves as an advisory body for partnership initiatives and ensures the realization of mutual benefits and interests.

USDA/1890 Task Force

USDA members:

  • Terry Cosby, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (Co-Chair)
  • Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Daniel Whitley, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
  • Monica Rainge, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR)
  • Dionne Toombs, Director (Acting), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Hubert Hamer, Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

1890 Land-Grant University presidents:

  • Dr. Paul Jones, President, Fort Valley State University (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Felicia Nave, President, Alcorn State University
  • Dr. Kent J. Smith, President, Langston University
  • Dr. Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University
  • Dr. Larry Robinson, President, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Jack Thomas, President, Central State University

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 and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.