West Virginia State to Receive $2.9M in State Agriculture Funding, First Full Federal Match in School History
Lawmakers in West Virginia will appropriate nearly $3 million in funding for West Virginia State University's agricultural and cooperative extension programming, marking the first time in school history that the state government will meet a federal requirement for states to support HBCU agricultural development.
The WV Metro News reports on the historic funding match, which school officials say was a direct result of consistent lobbying of state officials and exposing the value of the WVSU extension mission.
(WVSU President Anthony) Jenkins spent a lot of time at the state Capitol during the session visiting with lawmakers and working to educate them on the facts surrounding State’s mission. As a Land Grant University, federal funding is available every year but must be matched by the state dollar for dollar. According to Jenkins, the matching money had never been at 100 percent. Although there were likely a myriad of reasons, Jenkins said the biggest obstacle was perception.
“Many folks did not realize we operate in 38 of 55 counties and we help over 20,000 West Virginians every year,” Jenkins explained. “For a university of our size, that’s extremely impressive.”
In 2017, land-grant HBCUs collectively lost more than $10 million in federal funding as a result of states failing to match funds from the US Department of Agriculture; a requirement for HBCUs to keep a majority of their federal investment to help support students starting careers in agribusiness, agricultural research and innovation, and to help minority farmers grow their enterprises.