May 16, 2008
Contact: Juanita Britton
University of the District of Columbia Receives Funding via Farm Bill
Washington, D.C. — The University of the District of Columbia received key additional Congressional support this week with the recent passage of the 2008 Farm Bill. This week the U.S. House and U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Provisions within the Bill provide access to $3 million in additional funding for the University of the District of Columbia’s Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Such provisions will ensure access to nutrition education assistance for more than 315,000 District of Columbia residents, historically omitted from essential nutrition education programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The University of the District of Columbia’s Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) is responsible for finding solutions to urban problems through research, investigations and experiments. Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is a District-wide informal education system. CES positively impacts the city by providing key programs that educate, inform and engage District residents. The two land-grant units, AES and CES, work together to extend beneficial research findings to individuals and local communities.
The provisions benefiting the University of the District of Columbia was championed by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) at the urging of Dr. Gloria S. Wyche-Moore, Acting Dean of Community Outreach and Extension Services and Director of the Agricultural Experimental Station and Community Outreach and Extension Services.
For the first time, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) qualifies for millions of dollars in grants. Norton, who used her seniority to be appointed a Farm Bill conferee, protected provisions from her bill to put UDC, the nation’s only totally urban land-grant institution, on par with other land grant universities in the country. Norton’s bill eliminates barriers to the University’s participation in agricultural research and extension programs and provides the authority needed for the University to participate in capacity building and facilities programs now being administered at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Wyche-Moore stated that the support will help UDC play a major role in examining urban agricultural issues such as sustainable communities, youth violence, water quality, community and economic development, agriculture marketing and critical consumer nutrition issues such as obesity and diabetes - as well as upgrading the University’s agricultural facilities. In particular, UDC will be able to expand services such as pesticide safety training and licensing for professionals; water quality education and monitoring; gardening assistance for D.C. homeowners; parenting, literacy and youth development programs, as well as resources for teachers to bring appropriate material to the classroom; among other services.
The bill authorizes the University of the District of Columbia to participate in the USDA Agriculture Facilities Program at an authorized level of $750,000.00 annually through 2012 as well as the USDA 1890s capacity building program. Further, the bill authorizes the University of the District of Columbia to make annual application to the Secretary of Agriculture for a 50% reduction in the matching funds requirements for Hatch Act research program funding. Until Norton’s bill, UDC was the only land grant institution required to have a 100 percent match to receive funding. This extends to UDC the same waiver and reduction of matching requirements for agricultural experiment station programs as authorized by the Hatch Act that other land grant institutions enjoy.
In a recent Press Release provided by the Congresswoman’s office she states “I appreciate the working relationship that House Chairman Collin Peterson and Senate Chairman Tom Harkin and my House and Senate colleagues on the Agricultural Committee generously formed with me to produce this path-breaking bill. Access to the first-time funds cover the waterfront – from vital nutrition programs to facilities. The new congressional majority has shown it intends to honor D.C.’s long quest for equal treatment “
Other provisions included in the bill would remove the 100% non-federal match for UDC under the Expanded Food Nutrition and Education Program. UDC will be able to use federal funds to provide youth and families with nutrition education that leads to sustainable behavior changes without any nonfederal matching requirement, the same as other land grant institutions in the states and territories. These provisions also provide UDC access to grants and fellowships for food and agricultural sciences education. Finally, the bill removes the funding of UDC extension programs out of the District of Columbia Higher Education and Post Secondary Act of 1974 and places it in the Smith-Lever Act which funds extension services at other land grant institutions.
The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities. The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia. The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro. For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.