WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is urging Ohioans to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 1890 National Scholars Program.
The program aims to increase the number of students studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and other agriculture-related disciplines at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, which are historically black universities. For generations, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions have educated historically underrepresented students, and this program will help recruit and train the next generation of leaders in agriculture and bolster the pipelines for a diverse agriculture workforce. Brown secured funds for the scholarship program as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The deadline to submit an application for the program is Friday, January 31, 2020.
“1890 Land-Grant Institutions are HBCUs that have fostered generations of African American students, farmers, and scientists in our communities for years,” said Brown. “This scholarship could provide Ohio students with an immense opportunity and I urge them to apply.”
The USDA 1890 National Scholars Program is available through the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), and was established in 1992 as part of the partnership between USDA and the nineteen 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, room and board to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines.
When the student has completed the academic and summer work requirements of the scholarship, USDA may convert the student to a permanent employee without further competition. Currently, USDA and 1890 Land-Grant Universities are providing scholarships to 109 students.
Brown has been working to secure critical investments for 1890 Land-Grant institutions like Central State University in Wilberforce, securing an additional $3 million for research in a spending package passed by the Senate last month. The funds will go toward research at Centers for Excellence, which Brown secured the creation of as part of the 2018 Farm Bill that was signed into law in December 2018. The designated lead universities at each Center for Excellence are required to develop public-private partnerships, to ensure that their research activities provide increased access and economic returns to farmers and rural communities, and to contribute to poverty reduction, and reduce health disparities and economic vulnerability of local communities.
For more than 100 years, Central State University was denied 1890 Land-Grant status, meaning it was ineligible for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its innovative scientific research. Brown secured a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that corrects the oversight and increased the amount of formula funding that Central State is able to receive from USDA, while not jeopardizing the funding of any other 1890 Land-Grant institution.
Brown was also able to include a provision from his Carryover Equity Act in the 2018 Farm Bill, which fixed a provision that prohibits 1890 Land-Grant Universities from carrying over more than 20 percent of their equity from one fiscal year to the next. This arbitrary provision limited the ability of these universities to use their funds as they see fit and notably diverges from policies that govern other similar Department of Agriculture programs.