WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an investment of $30.8 million as part of its commitment to all 19 of America’s designated 1890 historically Black land-grant Universities. Among the 68 funded projects was one at South Carolina State University in the amount of $585.402.

This investment, made through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program will support scientific research that addresses some of our nation’s agricultural challenges.

South Carolina State University’s project, “Building Digital Capacity: An Integrated Approach to Building Digital Commerce Capabilities of Small Agricultural Producers in South Carolina,” will develop and implement an integrated teaching, research and extension model to bolster the digital commerce capabilities of small farm-based businesses in South Carolina and enhancing their participation in the online marketplace. 

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“This spring semester, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting colleges across the country and speaking with students who will define the next generation of agriculture,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “I’ve observed first-hand how the nation’s land-grant universities are preparing our students for a future that directly responds to the most pressing challenges in agriculture. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure we have a department and a good system that is ready for them.”

Over the spring semester, Torres Small visited 14 land-grant institutions across the country as part of her college tour that included visits to 1890 land-grant universities (historically Black colleges and universities) including South Carolina State, Virginia State, North Carolina A&T State, Fort Valley State and Southern University. She also visited 1994 Institutions (tribal colleges and universities), Hispanic-serving institutions, community colleges and state schools.

During her college tour, the dfeputy secretary heard from faculty and students about the need to continue strengthening partnerships with USDA to develop and deploy cutting-edge research and innovations that would support farmers and communities while combating climate change and nutrition insecurity, and to build an agricultural workforce that looks like America.

NIFA’s investment will directly further these goals. The 68 projects funded will strengthen the skills and diversity of the nation’s higher-education workforce, bolster scientific research and knowledge delivery systems, and equip 1890 land-grant universities with resources needed to better address emerging challenges and create new opportunities.

“1890 Land-grant Universities are a vital part of our nation’s fabric,” said NIFA Director Dr. Manjit Misra. “This investment will strengthen the ability of 1890 land-grant Universities to deliver innovative solutions that address emerging agricultural challenges impacting diverse communities. Building the research and training capacity of the nation’s universities is critical as they continue to develop and guide the next generation of agricultural leaders.”

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