Senator Reverend Warnock Leads Effort to Boost Agricultural Research at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions

Bill has the potential to create new Agriculture Center at Fort Valley State University

Senator Reverend Warnock “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will boost the transformative work that is already underway at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to train the heads and hands of our future agriculture leaders”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock announced  the introduction of bicameral legislation to increase the number of authorized Centers of Excellence (COEs) at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions and strengthen funding for current COEs across the country. The 1890s Advancing and Building Leadership and Excellence Opportunity Act of 2023, known as the ENABLE Opportunity Act of 2023, would add four new Centers of Excellence at HBCUs across the nation, focusing on spurring research and innovation in climate change, forestry reliance and conservation, food safety and bioprocessing and value-added agriculture, and transdisciplinary social science. One of these COE’s could come to Georgia’s 1890 Land Grant Institution, Fort Valley State University. In addition to Senator Warnock, the bill was led by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and in the U.S. House of Representatives was led by Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10), and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02)

“Georgia is better off when more students from all backgrounds are getting the skills and training they need to bolster our agriculture industry and rural economies,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will boost the transformative work that is already underway at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to train the heads and hands of our future agriculture leaders.” 

The ENABLE Opportunity Act of 2023 is the codification of previous requests for funding that will boost rural economies and increase diversity in agricultural-related fields and would also increase the discretionary appropriations authorization for Centers of Excellence to provide funding for new centers and increased funding for current centers.

Centers of Excellence help:

  • Increase profitability and rural prosperity in underserved farming communities.
  • Address critical needs for enhanced international training and development.
  • Increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STEAM) pipeline.

The 1890 land-grant institutions are historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) 1890 Land-Grant institutions programs are intended to strengthen research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Institutions

“I want to thank Senators Brown and Warnock and Representatives Adams and Bishop for introducing this legislation to reauthorize our Centers of Excellence at 1890 Universities,” said Dr. Paul Jones, Chair of the 1890 Universities Council of Presidents, and President of Fort Valley State University.“The six Centers that have been created as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill are growing flagships among our Universities and are producing real research and extension results as we had envisioned.”

As a graduate of an HBCU, Senator Warnock understands the importance of expanding opportunities for essential training in STEAM related fields for Black and brown students, and has tirelessly championed HBCU academic enrichment.  To date, Senator Warnock has secured more than $267 million for Georgia HBCUs. In addition to securing funding for Georgia HBCUs, in February, Senator Warnock urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young to include robust funding for 1890 Land-Grant colleges and universities as part of fiscal year 2024 budget. 1890 Land-Grant institutions have strengthened agricultural science research since their inception.

Bill text can be found HERE.