Five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) presidents has been appointed to the USDA-1890 Task Force. The task force explores cooperative frameworks, partnership opportunities and priority areas.

The appointed president’s includes Tuskegee University President Lily D. McNair, Southern University and A&M College President Ray Belton, Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn State University President Felecia M. Nave, and Langston University President Kent Smith on the task force.

The task force was reestablished along with the USDA-1994 Leadership Group and USDA Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group to serve as principal working groups for the USDA secretary to explore mutually beneficial, short and long-term goals.

The USDA/1890 Task Force is a component of the USDA’s 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities National Program. The task force is a joint council of USDA and 1890 Land-Grant University senior officials (e.g, under secretaries, agency administrators, and university presidents) that provides leadership to advance the mutual interests of USDA and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The 1890 Land-Grant Universities – which include 18 Land-Grant Universities established under the second Morrill Act of 1890 – are invaluable sources of diverse professionals who work in agriculture and related disciplines.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has expanded its degree offerings to include its first engineering degree, Agricultural Engineering, and a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree program. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the programs at its meeting on May 24 after both previously received the approval of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. Classes will begin this fall.

“It’s fitting that our first engineering degree would be in Agriculture as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is an 1890-land grant institution,” said Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

“Agriculture and tourism are the state’s top industries, generating $16 billion and nearly $6 billion annually, respectively. Our goal at UAPB is to offer programs that empower students to positively impact their communities, the state, and society at large,” said Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.

Carr added that the Agricultural Engineering degree will offer three areas of emphasis: power and machinery; agricultural production systems; and soil and water systems:

  • The Power and Machinery track will challenge students’ creative minds to develop and improve the next generation of agricultural equipment. Upon completion, students may pursue careers in fields associated with hydraulic engineering.
  • The Agricultural Production Systems track will focus on aspects of animal and plant production, including structural development and analysis and environmental control and air quality issues associated with housed animals and plants. This track will prepare students for careers in agricultural chemistry, large irrigation systems work and management, soil fertility treatment, biological pest control, and agricultural commodities.
  • The Soil and Water Systems track will emphasize the design and evaluation of conservation systems. Students will learn how to mitigate and improve the environmental impacts of production and agriculture. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge to become water resource specialists, wastewater engineers, environmental engineers, and soil and water conversations.

University officials believe that the response to the new degree programs will be robust, as potential students have expressed desires to study engineering at UAPB. Carr said, individuals in this career path typically enjoy median earnings of more than $111,000 annually.

The Hospitality and Tourism Management course of study will include classes that are key to the hospitality industry and tourism market, including management of restaurants and hotels and the marketing of both. Students will be prepared to thrive as general and sales managers and in entry-level positions.

“The timing of the Hospitality Management and Tourism degree program is ideal as it opens the door for possible partnerships with the new casino resort coming to Pine Bluff,” said Dr. Carr. Individuals who are interested in the hospitality and tourism field should expert to work to involve hours beyond the typically 8-to-5 day, and Carr said the university will structure the classes likewise.

“We will receive $500,000 per year over the next 5 years for agriculture-related scholarships. We hope to use these funds to expand scholarship opportunities to include students majoring in our two new degree programs,” he added.

University officials said graduates of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program can expect to earn between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.


About the University of Arkansas of Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings, and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that inculcates learning, growth and productivity while affording a basic need to its students – a chance to advance. UAPB offers Certificate and Associate degree programs, more than thirty undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs and a Doctorate program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department, and accomplished athletic programs. For more information, visit

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Lincoln University has been awarded federal funding for construction of a new agriculture building. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant totaling $1,185,117 will be used to build a multipurpose agriculture facility on the University’s main campus. The $1.1 million goes does not require matching funding.

According to a press release by the University, the Cooperative Research and Extension building will house state-of-the-art laboratories, learning space and a hall with the space and technology capabilities to host conferences. Dr. Majed El-Dweik, Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences stated; “This is exciting news for our Lincoln University and it will have a positive impact our Research and Extension activities and the learning opportunities for our students and populations we serve.”

Plans for facility are in the very initial stage, says El-Dweik, and the University will work with the USDA to secure additional funding in the future to create this innovative facility which will benefit not only Lincoln University, but the agricultural community around the nation.


About Lincoln University – Missouri

Lincoln University of Missouri is a historically black, 1890 land-grant, public, comprehensive institution that provides excellent educational opportunities including theoretical and applied learning expeirences to a diverse population within a nurturing, student-centered environment. To learn more about Lincoln University, visit