USDA Invests in New HBCU Agribusiness Innovation Center at NC A&T State University

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, La., June 8, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a $1.92 million investment to establish an Agriculture Business Innovation Center at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (NC A&T) State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“This new innovation center will serve as a technical assistance hub to enhance agriculture-based business development opportunities nationwide,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh during a two-day strategy meeting with 1890 Land-grant Universities and USDA officials. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting historically underserved communities and this new center will be pivotal as we continue to build back better the fabric of our nation’s communities and businesses. This latest investment will expand the capacity of our nation’s HBCUs to advance multidisciplinary teaching, outreach and integrated projects to build better markets, enhance economic development and support new and existing agricultural businesses.”

The FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Section 766 (Public Law 116-260) authorized USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to issue a competitive grant to support the establishment of an Agriculture Business Innovation Center at an HBCU. The new center will enhance agriculture-based business development opportunities including:

  • Providing technical assistance to food and agricultural producers, offering production scale assessments, market planning and development, business planning and other advisory services
  • Assisting startups in agribusiness including planning and obtaining funding
  • Providing workforce development and educational experiences for students interested in careers in agriculture business
  • Offering outreach services and activities such as training, workshops and dissemination of information and materials

“This new innovation center is a perfect complement to the NIFA-funded 1890 Center of Excellence for Student Success and Workforce Development already housed at NC A&T State University,” said Acting NIFA Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “The combination of these two centers will deliver a much-needed boost to the next generation of agricultural professionals and will support growth, profitability and success of existing businesses to increase employment opportunities in the field.”

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. In FY 2021, NIFA’s total investment was $1.96 billion. Visit NIFA’s website for more information.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.