Delaware State University, West Virginia State University, Tuskegee University, Kentucky State University and 15 other HBCUs have received land grants that will boost agricultural research efforts at their institutions. In return, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes their work will help assist thousands of struggling Black farmers from coast to coast. Specifically, these grants can assist with curriculum design, materials development, faculty development and extension program development support.
"We can engage in a lot more research and also better quality research," Dr. Wesley Whittaker of Langston University in Oklahoma told NPR affiliate, KOSU.
"Because of these funds also, we can compete for better quality scientists to engage in these research activities."
The Biden Administration has faced a myriad of issues on the road to supporting Black farmers. For example, the Biden administration approved $4 billion in funding for Black farmers, but a federal judge in Wisconsin stifled the effort by claiming the program was racist. However, Black farmers have been on the wrong end of discriminatory lending practices for decades. Not to mention, Black farmers were hit disproportionately harder than farmers of other communities. Moving forward, Biden and USADA hope this $22 million commitment is a step in the right direction.
“Our 1890 Land-grant universities are an integral part of our nation’s fabric,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explained.
“As USDA continues to work tirelessly to advance equity and provide greater access to nutritious and safe food for all Americans, especially to historically disadvantaged groups, this investment will strengthen the ability of our Land-grant Institutions to deliver innovative solutions that address emerging agricultural challenges impacting diverse communities. We are pleased to be able to build the research and training capacity of these critical institutions as they develop the next generation of leaders in agriculture.”