UMES gets next to last installment of USDA funds for new ag building

GREENSBORO, N.C., — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $18.9 million in renewal awards to build or improve agricultural and food science research facilities and equipment at historically black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. Among them is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which will receive the fourth installment of a $4.2 million total award initiated in 2013 to be used for the construction of an Agricultural Research and Education Center.


When the final allotment is provided, anticipated to be in the USDA’s next budget cycle, that will trigger the planning and construction of the new facility on the east side of campus in the area commonly known as “the farm.”


“A number of research programs in the group of smaller buildings adjacent to the new Engineering & Aviation Science Complex have outgrown their space,” said UMES spokesman Bill Robinson, “and some would migrate to the new facility.” “We’re cautiously optimistic that we might be able to get it going in the next 12 to 18 months.”


The building will be 17,500 gross square feet. The new facility will have an auditorium, classrooms, conference rooms, offices, laboratories and space for administrative support staff. Teaching, research and extension units are the three components of an 1890 Land-Grant institution, which this new building will accommodate.


Institutions from Delaware to Texas are among the grant recipients, and USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Dr. Joe Leonard Jr. stated, “These awards help colleges and universities make improvements that support cutting-edge academic research and foster 21st century innovation that will shape the future of American agriculture.”


“For more than a century USDA has built strong partnerships with historically black colleges and 1890 Land-Grant Universities, and the 1890 Facilities Grant Program ensures that partnership will continue to benefit students for many more years to come.”

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