WILBERFORCE – Central State University President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond on Dec. 7 joined other 1890 Land-Grant University presidents in Washington D.C. to share the importance of diversifying the agriculture industry and the need for Congressional support.
President Jackson-Hammond spoke at the Committee on Agriculture Hearing entitled, “1890 Land-Grant Institutions: Recruitment Challenges and Scholarship Opportunities.” The hearing was on Congressman David Scott’s bipartisan bill H.R. 6020, the Funding for Student Scholarships for the 1890 Land-Grant African-American Colleges and Universities Act. The bill would provide $1 million in grant funding to each of the 19 public land-grant universities for scholarships to help African-American students who commit to pursuing careers in agriculture.
“There is a tremendous need to increase the number of young African-Americans seeking careers in agriculture,” said Congressman Scott prior to the hearing. “And there is a tremendous crisis in this country given the average age of farmers in the United States is 60 years of age and continues to rise. H.R. 6020 will expand the permitted uses of federal funds awarded to 1890-universities from research, education and extension to also include scholarship grants.’’
According to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there were 165 farms operated by 205 African-American farmers in Ohio.
Since receiving federal designation as an 1890 Land-Grant Institution in 2014, Central State University under President Jackson-Hammond’s administration has developed new STEM-Ag degree programs (several more are on the horizon), extension services and a new Department of Agricultural Sciences to advance the university’s land-grant mission.
Joining President Jackson-Hammond to offer testimony were Dr. Paul Jones, Fort Valley State University and Dr. Juliette Bell, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.