House Ag Committee Chair GT Thompson, R- Pa., and Ranking Member David Scott, D- Ga., signed an open letter to 18 state governors calling for increased funding for 1890 Land-Grand Institutions. The letter was also co-signed by Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Alma Adams, D-N.C.
In the letter, the representatives say 1890 Land-Grant Institutions maximize agriculture’s “talent pipeline” and positively impact the next generation of agriculture leaders. They hope state leaders will work with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to fully understand how more funding will benefit their agriculture industry.
"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 read in part. “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 1890 Land-Grant Institutions are historically black colleges and universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890 and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison. These 19 schools were created to expand education for people of color in agriculture and engineering. They include 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.
Rep. Scott is a Florida A&M alum who has previously called for increased 1890 Land-Grant Institution funding. In March he introduced a bill that would make federal funding for the institutions permanent. It would also provide an additional $100 million for student scholarships at the institutions. The bill is currently being considered by the House Subcommittee on Conservation, Research and Biotechnology.