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Interpretive Summary: Lawmakers request funding for land-grant institutions 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

House Ag Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) recently sent an open letter to 18 state governors calling for increased funding for 1890 Land-Grand Institutions. The letter was also co-signed by Representatives Abigail Spanberger, (D-VA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Alma Adams (D-NC). 

The 1890 land-grant institutions are historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The United States of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA's) 1890 land-grant institutions programs are intended to strengthen research, extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Institutions.

"Valuable research provided by 1890 Land-Grant Institutions helps to innovate new technologies and methods addressing various issues in agriculture, the benefits of which extend to communities well beyond the farm,” the letter states. “For American agriculture to remain resilient, secure, and globally competitive, we must ensure equitable investment in all our Land-Grant Institutions, who have been drivers of innovation.”

The letter acknowledges that the USDA has the authority to waive a portion of the matching requirements. When doing so, the 1809 Land-Grant Institutions that do not receive full matching funds are left to complete the program’s missions with fewer resources. The letter cites an example in the fiscal year 2022, where six 1890 Land-Grant Institutions did not receive a total of $9 million for research and $7.3 million for extension activities in the state. 

The Representatives say 1890 Land-Grant Institutions maximize agriculture’s “talent pipeline” and positively impact the next generation of agriculture leaders. The letter concludes with hopes that state leaders will work with the USDA’s NIFA to fully understand how more funding will benefit their agriculture industry.

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

Read the letter here