Bipartisan Letter Urges USDA to Release Funding for Land-Grant HBCUs During COVID-19 Pandemic

“Further delays in implementation will impact the ability of the 1890s to prepare financially for the continued impacts of COVID-19 on their extension programs.”

Press Release from: U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin Office of Communications <> Tue 5/12/2020 12:20 PM

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced his co-leading of a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Agriculture David Purdue requesting Fiscal Year 2020 funding be issued for the nineteen 1890 Land-Grant Universities (1890s), all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), so that the institutions can weather the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04)

“The significant and ever-growing financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic directly affects our 1890 Land-Grant Universities,” said Congressman McEachin. “It is imperative that these universities, including Virginia State University, receive the USDA funding and guidance they need to fulfill their mission during these challenging times. As our nation continues to navigate this global health crisis, food and agricultural sciences are needed now more than ever.”

“As we confront the realities and difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the timely release of NIFA/USDA’s 1890 Formula Funds (FY’20) has never been more critical. These funds allow 1890 institutions, like Virginia State University, to continue its assistance to underserved individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr. Makolah M. Abdullah, Virginia State University President.

The letter led by Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12) and co-led by Republican Congressmen Michael R. Turner (OH-10)and Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) also calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue final guidance on Section 7114 of the 2018 Farm Bill, which Rep. Adams introduced in 2018 as the Carryover Equity Act. A copy of the letter is available here.


Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12)

“1890 Land-Grant Universities, like all Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are suffering during this pandemic. The USDA should promptly provide them with the funding they need to provide for their students and faculty, as well as the farmers and larger communities they serve,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Finalizing the implementation of the Carryover Equity Act is a major issue of equality and fair treatment under the law for the nineteen 1890 Land-Grant Universities. These institutions, especially during this time of financial crisis, deserve a swift resolution to this decades-long injustice they have faced under the existing law. While our HBCUs are stronger than COVID-19, they need a hand up right now. I ask that USDA act promptly to provide desperately needed funding and guidance to these schools so that they can continue their mission to educate the farmers and agricultural researchers of tomorrow.”

“The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on 1890s such as Central State University has been devastating. I look forward to Secretary Perdue and USDA working to provide funding to these critical universities as quickly as possible,” said Congressman Turner.

In addition to Adams, McEachin, Turner, and Luetkemeyer, co-signers of the bipartisan letter include Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, as well as Representatives Adriano Espaillat, Al Lawson, Jr., André Carson, Bennie Thompson, Bruce Westerman, Cedric L. Richmond, Danny K. Davis, Darren Soto, David E. Price, David N. Cicilline, David Scott, Derek Kilmer, Eddie Bernice Johnson, G. K. Butterfield, Jahana Hayes, Jan Schakowsky, Jim Cooper, Marcia L. Fudge, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steve Cohen, Terri A. Sewell, and Wm. Lacy Clay.

The “1890s” referenced in the letter are the following 19 universities: Virginia State University, located in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, Alabama A&M, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and West Virginia State University.

For more information, please contact:
Ralph M. Jones, Jr., Communications Director
U.S. Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04)
C: 202.802.1721

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