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USDA Awards $5.76 Million in Support of Four Centers of Excellence at 1890 Institutions

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 12, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced today an investment of $5.76 million for four 1890 Centers of Excellence grants to 1890 land-grant institutions.

Male College Student with Laptop, courtesy of Getty Images
Male College Student with Laptop, courtesy of Getty Images
“The 1890 Centers of Excellence awards are an effort to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved farming communities,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “These grants will support projects that address critical needs for developing global food security and defense; enhance academic and career activities for students pursuing careers in food and agricultural sciences; and address vital needs in nutrition and health to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.”

The institutions receiving the 1890 Centers of Excellence awards are Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama; Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland; and North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina:
  • The “Center for Farming Systems, Rural Prosperity and Economic Sustainability” at Tuskegee University will develop and share best practices, innovations, technologies and personnel across an 18-state region to address the profitability, sustainability and prosperity challenges of small farmers, ranchers and forestland owners, with an emphasis on socially disadvantaged and underserved farmers.
  • Southern University will establish the “Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life” to address diet-related health disparities in African Americans by increasing the capacities of 1890 institutions through nutrition research, teaching and extension.
  • The University of Maryland - Eastern Shore will develop “The 1890 Universities Center of Excellence for Global Food Security and Defense” to foster international partnerships that strengthen agricultural development in developing countries and engage international researchers in addressing new and emerging animal and plant pests and diseases, and agricultural disaster recovery.
  • The “1890 Center of Excellence for Student Success and Workforce Development” at North Carolina A&T State University will serve as a platform to allow the 1890 land-grant institutions to develop and share resources, educational materials (i.e. funding, webinars, chats, videos, modules, programming documents), evaluative tools and data collection, and reports that will be uploaded and shared in a log in/password protected environment.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.

Visit our website:; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit

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