WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and a number of Presidents from Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions founded in 1890 (“1890s”) applauded investments secured in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the “2018 Farm Bill.” As a member of the conference committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, Brown authored and fought to secure investments that will ensure the 1890s can expand their research capacity and outreach in the coming years.

“1890 Land-Grant HBCUs have fostered generations of African American students, farmers, and scientists who would have otherwise been denied opportunities due to segregation,” said Brown. “The key investments we made in this Farm Bill will ensure these institutions, that have anchored our communities for years, can continue training the next generation of leaders in agriculture.”

“The passage of the H.R.2 Farm Bill is a monumental achievement that ensures support for many American constituencies,” said Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, President of Central State University. “Through the continuous commitment and diligence of our Ohio bi-partisan congressional delegation, Central State University will be made whole as an 1890 Land Grant Institution. Representatives Beatty and Turner initiated support language and Senators Brown and Portman secured the amendment to stabilize funding for Central State and all 1890 Land Grants. This funding will allow CSU to be an agent of change in Ohio communities working with farmers and impacting positively the quality of life for Ohio citizens! Deeply appreciative to the Ohio Congressional delegates!  They are Game Changers!”

“We are thrilled with the important investments that were included in this year’s Farm Bill for our 1890 Universities,” said Dr. Kent Smith, Jr., Chair, Council of 1890 Universities and President of Langston University. “We thank Senator Brown, the Farm Bill conferees and all of the Members of Congress and their incredible staff who have met with and worked closely with our 1890 Presidents and Ag Deans over the past several years on our legislative priorities. These investments will benefit our students and our country for years to come,” concluded President Smith. 

“The formal establishment by Congress of these Centers of Excellence is a significant achievement,” said Dr. Mortimer Neufville, President of the 1890 Universities Foundation.  “Senator Brown and Rep. Alma Adams’ leadership in helping make these Centers a reality is commendable and will better position our 1890 Universities to continue building on the cutting-edge research the world will need in the 21st Century to make agricultural advances.”

Brown helped secure the following provisions for 1890 Land-Grant institutions in the 2018 Farm Bill:

Creation of Six Centers of Excellence

Brown’s provision to create six Centers for Excellence and Leadership, on campuses like Central State University, was included in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Brown’s amendment was based on the bipartisan REAL Opportunity Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).

The designated lead universities at each center would be 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. Additionally, this legislation would authorize $20 million in federal funding over five years to be divided evenly between the centers.

Increased Research Funding for Central State University

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 that corrects the oversight and increases the amount of formula funding that Central State will be able to receive from USDA, while not jeopardizing the funding of any other 1890 Land-Grant institution.

Financial Flexibility for Local Land-Grant Universities

Brown was able to include a provision from his Carryover Equity Act, which will fix 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 limits 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. Brown’s bipartisan legislation would benefit 19 institutions, including Central State University.

Funds for Agricultural Scholarships

For the first time, the Farm Bill includes provisions to create a scholarship program for students attending 1890 Land-Grant Universities, who are pursuing a career in the agriculture industry

Learn more about the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, here.