Legislation to bolster land-grant university investments introduced in House

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Legislation to bolster investments in federal land-grant universities and institutions has been introduced in the U.S. House.

On Wednesday, June 14, U.S. Representative Tracey Mann (R-KS) announced that he and Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-WA) introduced the Augmenting Research and Educational Sites to Ensure Agriculture Remains Cutting-edge and Helpful Act.

“American land-grant universities lead the world in agricultural research,” said Rep. Mann. “The idea for land-grant universities was originally proposed in the 1850s to educate students and increase agricultural expertise and U.S. productivity. Over the years, these universities have surpassed that original vision, and now conduct cutting-edge agricultural research that supports food security around the globe. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agricultural research returns $20 in benefits to the economy for every public dollar spent. Despite this, federal funding for food and agricultural research has declined in real dollars over the past two decades. I am proud to introduce the AG RESEARCH Act alongside Rep. Kim Schrier, as we must continue to support agricultural research, development, and innovation. When we make strong investments like these, we invest in the next generation of America, and in our food security and national security.”

Mann noted that the legislation is set to bolster federal investments in land-grant universities, institutions and facilities that conduct food and agricultural research.

“The proposed legislation provides a significant opportunity for the entire Land-Grant system to even more greatly fulfill its mission of service to the people across our nation,” said K-State President Richard Linton. “With this additional funding of the nation’s ag experiment stations and research centers, Congress will be signaling its support for the critical knowledge transfer that fosters community vitality and fuels economic prosperity — and maintains U.S. global competitiveness and leadership in agriculture.”

In 1862, the Congressman said President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act to grant land to states in order to finance colleges that specialize in agriculture and the mechanic arts. K-State, originally named Kansas State Agricultural College, was founded in February 1863 as the first land-grant college created under the Morrill Act.

“We are very grateful for Representatives Mann and Schrier to be doing this work and proposing this legislation,” said Brittany Hall, President of Haskell National Board of Regents. “Any and all support for Haskell Indian Nations University is greatly appreciated and hope this legislation is supported by all as our students all deserve the opportunities available especially as our people have been traditionally forgotten. We are also very grateful for Carrie Billy and all the work the AIHEC team does for Native American and Indigenous students and their communities and testifying for this great work.”

In 1994, Mann said an Act of Congress granted land-grant status to several Native American tribally-controlled colleges and universities – including Haskell in Lawrence. Currently, he said many land grant universities rank among the nation’s top public research institutes.