The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $18.9 million in renewal awards to build or improve agricultural and food science research facilities and equipment at historically black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. The announcement builds on USDA's ongoing efforts to foster strong partnerships with the 1890 community, ensure equal access to USDA programs and services, and support educational opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

"These awards help colleges and universities make improvements that support cutting-edge academic research and foster 21st century innovation that will shape the future of American agriculture," said Dr. Joe Leonard, Jr., USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, who today announced the awards during a visit to North Carolina A&T University. "For more than a century USDA has built strong partnerships with historically black colleges and 1890 Land-Grant Universities, and the 1890 Facilities Grant Program ensures that partnership will continue to benefit students for many more years to come."

The awards announced are made through the 1890s Facilities Grants program, which provides funding for the acquisition and improvement of food, agricultural, and human sciences facilities and equipment, including libraries, so that the 1890 land-grant institutions, including Tuskegee University, may participate fully in the production of human capital in the food and agricultural sciences.

North Carolina A&T is receiving an award of $1.12 million, which will be used to construct a Complex for Urban and Sustainable Agriculture, Food, Education and Research (C-U-SAFER) building and to establish a student farm. The complex and farm will provide students opportunities for multi-disciplinary projects, as well as help the school leverage extramural support from outside organizations with an interest in sustainable agriculture, local and community food systems.

Funding awards for 2016 include:
  • Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala., $952,989
  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala., $952,989
  • University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff., Ark., $904,537
  • Delaware State University, Dover, Del., $700,649
  • Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Fla., $917,871
  • Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Ga., $1,003,446
  • Southern University, Baton Rouge, La., $839,111
  • Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky., $1,085,670
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md., $806,685
  • Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo., $1,185,476
  • Alcorn State University, Lorman, Miss., $885,952
  • North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C., $1,120,427
  • Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, $1,299,243
  • Langston University, Langston, Okla., $991,763
  • South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, S.C., $873,535
  • Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, $1,510,894
  • Tennessee State University Nashville, Tenn., $1,089,527
  • Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va., $993,968
  • West Virginia State University, Morgantown, W. Va., $826,068
Abstracts for the 2016 funded projects can be viewed on NIFA's reporting website