Evans-Allen, America’s land-grant university system, traces its origins to the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The First Morrill Act established a land-grant university in every state, and the Second Morrill Act extended land-grant status to historically Black public universities in southern and border states where, due to segregation, African American students were barred from attending the 1862 land-grant universities. The Evans-Allen Act of 1977 provides capacity funding for food and agricultural research at the 1890 land-grant universities and Tuskegee University (the 1890 Institutions) in a manner similar to that provided to the 1862 universities under the Hatch Act of 1887. Research conducted under the Evans-Allen Program has led to hundreds of scientific breakthroughs of benefit to both the unique stakeholders of the 1890 Institutions and the nation as a whole.
Therefore, the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS) 1890 Research and Extension Program is the cornerstone of the historical land-grant status of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Today, this program is integral in helping the university preserve its 1890 land-grant legacy of service to the citizens of the Delta Region in Arkansas. Additionally, the 1890 Research Program funds research projects to encourage and to coordinate university-wide and external collaborative research in the following areas:
- Environment, energy and climate
- Access to safe and nutritious foods
- Increasing opportunities for youth, families and communities
- Agriculture production and processing
- Agriculture and natural resources economics and marketing
Organized research at UAPB began in 1967 when the campus received $16,980 in formula funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Cooperative State Research Service. Federal funding increased in 1972, which allowed agricultural sciences research projects and areas to expand.
However, the Congressional Public Laws (P.L.) 89-106 (1965), 97-98 Section 1443 (1977), and 95-113 Section 1445 (Evans-Allen, 1977) were the foundation and lifeblood of agricultural research programs at historically Black land-grant colleges and universities. The laws provided funding for broadened research in agriculture and for the update of campus research facilities. The latter of the 1977 laws provided for permanent government research funding, which greatly assisted Black land-grant campuses in attracting research faculty to campus, conducting high-quality research and incorporating these campuses fully into the land-grant system.
Over the years, research projects have been conducted in agronomy, agricultural marketing and economic development, poultry sciences, fisheries, rabbit production, entomology, horticulture, family living, with emphasis on aging and youth development, and housing. Research activities at UAPB have experienced steady growth with the research base broadening to cover all eight major categories.
In addition, Evans-Allen supports the training of both undergraduate and graduate students in the food and agricultural sciences, and 51.6% of all degrees awarded to African Americans in agriculture are from the 1890s. Thus, from projects that focus on increasing the nutrient value of crops, investigations on the causes of obesity and its prevention, the development of new energy systems – especially for small scale farmers – to the development of vaccines and pharmaceuticals, the 1890s are making significant strides in bettering the lives not only of African Americans, their historical and target population, but also the citizens of this nation and the world over.
For example, 1890 researchers have developed a patent-pending post-harvest technology to eliminate the problem of allergens in peanuts and are expanding their studies to address wheat and tree nut allergens.
Benefits / Impacts
The Evans-Allen program provides critical base funding for the agricultural research programs at the 1890 Institutions. America realizes a substantial return on this investment, as these campuses are powerful economic instruments of their states and the nation. Evans-Allen Program funding at the 1890 Institutions benefits the nation through:
- Improved nutrition and health of urban and rural populations with an emphasis on obesity.
- Development of economically competitive and sustainable small-scale agricultural systems.
- Improved crop diversity and alternative crops and marketing strategies for farmers.
- Increased biobased energy production.
- Greater food safety and improved nutritional quality.
- Better natural resource and environmental stewardship.
- Creation of new value-added plant and animal products.
Lastly, the program maintains a focus on the education of students from minority and economically disadvantaged communities for a strong and diverse agricultural workforce. Hence, the Evans-Allen Program has been extremely important in allowing the 1890 Institutions to attract top-notch scientists to their campuses, conduct high-quality research and become more fully integrated within the land-grant system.
Call for Evans-Allen Pre-proposals / Pre-proposal Guidelines
Christopher C. Mathis, Jr., Ph.D., M.Div.
Assistant Dean for Research / Associate Research Director
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Mail Slot 4990
Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71601