Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that his amendment to provide additional funding and research opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like Central State University in Ohio was included in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s recently passed bipartisan Farm Bill.  This provision would increase the research capacity and outreach of 1890s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by creating six Centers for Excellence and Leadership on campuses like Central State University in Ohio. The bill is expected to be considered by the Senate on the floor this week.

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 Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). Brown had his amendment included in the Farm Bill, which was passed out of the Agriculture Committee two weeks ago and is expected to be considered on the Senate floor this week. Brown, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urged his colleagues in both the House and the Senate to pass this bipartisan bill.

“By creating these Centers of Excellence at 1890 Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Central State University in Ohio, we invest in groundbreaking research and the economic development that HBCUs spur throughout their local communities,” said Brown.  “HBCUs have fostered generations of African American professionals who would have otherwise been denied opportunities due to segregation and continue to play a vital role in the education of our youth.  I hope Congress will pass this meaningful, bipartisan legislation immediately.”

“1890 HBCUs contribute more than $4.4 billion to their local economies and provide pathways of opportunity for 1000’s of Americans.  That is why this bipartisan Act is essential.  We must work together to ensure these schools finally receive the resources they need to continue their groundbreaking research and extension programs both locally and nationally,” said Congresswoman Adams. “As a proud alumna of NC A&T State University, an 1890 Land-Grant University, I have witnessed firsthand the impact these institutions have and I am pleased that Senator Brown successfully spearheaded an effort to include these Centers of Excellence in the Senate farm bill.  Now, I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to ensure this language is incorporated in the final farm bill.”

“As a proud alumnus of Lincoln University, an 1890 Land-Grant University, I understand firsthand the important role these institutions play in their local communities,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer. “By supporting research on regional priorities, the REAL Opportunity Act strengthens both HBCUs’ capacity for leadership and the communities they serve. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important legislation, and I thank my colleague Congresswoman Adams for her leadership.”

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, 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.