Summer Rae Wilkie, Youth Coordinator for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative led the eighth webinar in our Farm Bill series. Wilkie presented on Title VII of the Farm Bill, the research title. Keep reading for an overview of Title VII, its importance to Indian Country, information about our next webinar, and the link to Wilkie's presentation slides.
The Research Title is among the oldest of the Farm Bill, emanating from the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. The original purpose of the Morrill Act was to establish and fund research in land grant institutions in every state. Not surprisingly, these initial “land grants” were given to states from the lands acquired through the earliest treaties between the federal government and Indian tribes. The lands that were once the homelands of Native peoples indigenous to North America became the base for what is now the modern land grant research, education, and extension systems.
In 1994, Congress granted land grant status and funded authority to the first group of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the Research Title, and, in each Farm Bill since 1994, more TCUs have status as land grant institutions (or 1994s).
Agriculture research, education, and extension programs and services throughout the country may seem outdated or irrelevant to many. Food and agriculture research is critical to our food, health, and self-sufficiency, but the industry only applies to a small segment of society. According to the latest USDA Agriculture Census, there are only 2 million farmers or ranchers in the U.S. Yet agriculture research is important because it monitors and explores old and new knowledge regarding plant and animal health, explores the impact of science to solve food problems, tackles societal issues related to health, and ensures our food supplies are sound and resilient.
The reasons for the initial establishment of the land grant research institutions, the original extension services, and research stations are as relevant today as they were many years ago. But research and extension of knowledge is known throughout the world as playing a “crucial role in agriculture and rural development.
Our next webinar covering Title VIII of the Farm Bill, the forestry title, will be livestreamed from our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages on Friday, May 20th at 3 pm EST. We hope to see you there!