The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is investing nearly $4 million in two new 1890 Centers of Excellence. The grants will support research projects at 1890 land-grant institutions (historically black universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890), namely Delaware State University and Tennessee State University.
“The 1890 Centers of Excellence investments help increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved farming communities,” said NIFA Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “These grants continue to support projects that address critical needs for developing global food security and defense, enhance academic and career activities for students pursuing careers in food and agricultural sciences, and address vital needs in nutrition and health to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.”
At Delaware State University (DSU), NIFA funding will be used to establish a Center of Excellence in emerging Internet of Thing (IoT) technologies. In collaboration with scientists from nine 1890 Institutions, DSU will use emerging technologies (such as robotics, drones and sensors) to advance smart agriculture and promote its adoption among small and minority farmers.
Tennessee State University (TSU) will use the funding to develop a Center of Excellence for natural resources and renewable energy. TSU’s College of Agriculture will collaborate with four of its fellow 1890 land-grant institutions to develop management practices that will conserve and promote natural resources, explore renewable energy sources, and develop climate smart agricultural production practices.