Washington, DC – APLU President Peter McPherson today released the following statement hailing the passage of the Farm Bill.
“APLU applauds the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which makes critical investments in agricultural research, education, and extension efforts. The bill boosts support for our nation’s land-grant universities by enabling those institutions to bolster essential research programs and help modernize outdated research facilities while educating the next generation of the agricultural workforce. We are also grateful that the bill strengthens Cooperative Extension efforts aimed at helping farmers, at-risk youth, and others who benefit from various community-based initiatives.
“The education, research, and extension work of our land-grant universities improves and saves lives, strengthens communities, and ensures the next generation will carry that mission forward. The Farm Bill supports all of those efforts.
“The $630 million increase in research and extension funding will provide a shot in the arm to land-grant universities and their research efforts aimed at improving food production, safety, and security while protecting natural resources. Billions of people around the world lack consistent access to food and water, which is why research into things like drought resistant crops and vitamin enriched crops are so critical. We are also pleased to see the creation of a competitive grants program for Cooperative Extension that will aim to help replicate proven effort to take scientific discoveries and translate them into actions and steps farmers, community organizations, and others can use to improve their work and services, including with at-risk populations. The bill also supports increasing educational opportunities, including creating a grant program for students pursuing degrees in food and agricultural sciences at 1890 land-grant institutions.
“We are also especially pleased that the Farm Bill recognizes the important role 1890 land-grant universities play in educating the next generation of agricultural workers and carrying out much-needed research. The bill provides $10 million annually to establish at least three research centers on HBCU campuses and it allocates $40 million in mandatory funding for new scholarships at each 1890 institution. The bill also ensures 1890 universities will no longer be penalized for not spending their extension funds from year-to-year.
“Also, the bill allows 1994 land-grant institutions to compete for funding to help at-risk children, youth, and families. It also creates a competitive grant program in support of tribal students.
“We urge President Trump to sign the bill into law.”