Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during the 2012 Historically Black Colleges and Universities 1890 Land-Grant University Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony on Friday, June 29, 2012, in the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC. It has been150 years since the first Morrill Act of 1862, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The action established land-grant universities in every state and territory. The second Morrill Act of 1890 provided funding to designate separate institutions of higher learning for blacks in those states that did not open the doors of their universities to black students. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
One hundred fifty years ago – just two months after the creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, a historic measure that created the land-grant university system. Twenty-eight years later, Congress enacted a second Morrill Act to establish African American land-grant universities.
Commonly referred to as 1890 Universities, these schools have remained the custodians of access to and opportunity for higher education in underserved communities, as well as leaders in agricultural, environmental and public health studies.
Understanding the special role 1890 Universities play in preparing the next generation of American leaders, on Friday, June 29, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between USDA, EPA and the Council of 1890 Universities, an organization comprised of presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), to help build upon their rich history. Read more »
An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.
Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture. First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill. Not true. In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains. Read more »
At Monty Collins’ cattle operation near Pleasantville, a rotational grazing system helps protect soil and water quality. A few miles away near Prairie City, Gordon Wassenaar has used no-till farming and a precision sprayer for years to minimize pesticide use and runoff from his soybean fields. We visited both of these Iowa farmers last week, to discuss the collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and farmers, ranchers and growers all across America.
American farmers are among our nation’s first and finest conservationists. They understand better than anyone that clean water, clear air and healthy soil are the raw materials for agricultural production. From generations of experience, they know that you cannot continually take from the soil without giving back, and they have made incredible strides to protect the land they rely on. Read more »
Monty Collins (left) talks to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the environmental benefits of rotational grazing techniques used with his 30-head cow/calf operation near Pleasantville, IA, on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. USDA Photo.
I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson as we toured rural Iowa seeing first-hand the ways farmers are helping protect our nation’s air and water resources. Read more »
There is an excitement at USDA with respect to bioenergy and biofuels and much is going on – a BIOFRENZY if you will – not in a sense of chaos – but rather many challenges and much to do. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will be implemented July 1, 2010. The RFS2 calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used in the US transportation fuel supply by 2022 – and the majority of this total must be advanced biofuels. Read more »