WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week 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 support 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
  • 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 www.usda.gov.

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KANSAS CITY, MO – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced an investment of $5.76 million for four 1890 Centers of Excellence grants to 1890 land-grant institutions.

“The 1890 Centers of Excellence awards are an effort to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved farming communities,” said Dr. Carrie Castille, NIFA director. “These grants will support projects that address critical needs for developing global food security and defense; enhance academic and career activities for students pursuing careers in food and agricultural sciences; and address vital needs in nutrition and health to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.”

The institutions receiving the 1890 Centers of Excellence awards are Tuskegee University, Southern University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and North Carolina A&T State University.

  • The “Center for Farming Systems, Rural Prosperity and Economic Sustainability” at Tuskegee University will develop and share best practices, innovations, technologies and personnel across an 18-state region to address the profitability, sustainability and prosperity emphasis on socially disadvantaged and underserved farmers.
  • Southern University will establish the “Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life” to address diet-related health disparities in African Americans by increasing the capacities of 1890 institutions through nutrition research, teaching and extension.
  • The University of Maryland – Eastern Shore will develop “The 1890 Universities Center of Excellence for Global Food Security and Defense” to foster international partnership that strengthen agricultural development in developing countries and engage international researches in addressing new and emerging animal and plant pests and diseases, and agricultural disaster recovery.
  • The “1890 Center for Excellence for Student Success and Workforce Development” at North Carolina A&T State University will serve as a platform to allow the 1890 land-grant institutions to develop and share resources, educational materials (i.e. funding, webinars, chats, videos, modules, programming documents), evaluative tools and data collection, and reports that will be uploaded and shared in a log in/password protected environment.

NIFA invests in and advances agriculture research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Lincoln University has been awarded federal funding for construction of a new agriculture building. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant totaling $1,185,117 will be used to build a multipurpose agriculture facility on the University’s main campus. The $1.1 million goes does not require matching funding.

According to a press release by the University, the Cooperative Research and Extension building will house state-of-the-art laboratories, learning space and a hall with the space and technology capabilities to host conferences. Dr. Majed El-Dweik, Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences stated; “This is exciting news for our Lincoln University and it will have a positive impact our Research and Extension activities and the learning opportunities for our students and populations we serve.”

Plans for facility are in the very initial stage, says El-Dweik, and the University will work with the USDA to secure additional funding in the future to create this innovative facility which will benefit not only Lincoln University, but the agricultural community around the nation.

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About Lincoln University – Missouri

Lincoln University of Missouri is a historically black, 1890 land-grant, public, comprehensive institution that provides excellent educational opportunities including theoretical and applied learning expeirences to a diverse population within a nurturing, student-centered environment. To learn more about Lincoln University, visit www.lincolnu.edu.