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A&T Receives $100k Grant From Tides Foundation, Google.org to Assist N.C. Livestock Producers

A&T  Receives $100k Grant From Tides Foundation, Google.org to Assist N.C. Livestock Producers

By Dustin Chandler

 Eight African American livestock and poultry producers in North Carolina will be eligible to receive technology funding and training thanks to a grant received by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University through Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, and the Tides Foundation.

North Carolina A&T’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) received a $100,000 grant from the Tides Foundation, based on Google.org’s recommendation. This grant will go toward the program, Enhancing the Technology Capacity and Technical Knowledge of North Carolina African American Poultry and Livestock Producers. This program offers eight African American livestock and poultry producers in the state $10,000 mini-grants toward new technology for their enterprise as well as technical training through Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T and the Department of Animal Sciences in CAES, and will be later surveyed to measure the impact on their enterprise.

“Agriculture has always been a pillar of North Carolina's economy, and in more recent years tech has also emerged as an important driver of jobs and opportunity,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams of North Carolina, a two-time A&T alumna. “So it’s exciting and gratifying to see these two fields come together at such an exceptional university, N.C. A&T. This is a great day for our future leaders, and I thank Google.org, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T, and all those involved for making it possible."

Derrick Coble, Ph.D., animal geneticist in the Department of Animal Sciences, will lead the program. The hope is that this program will boost individual profits, increase overall competition, and address economic and social inequality within communities.

“By partnering with the Tides Foundation and Google.org, we will work to bridge the technological gaps that confront many poultry and livestock farmers of African American descent in North Carolina,” said Coble. “Modern-day animal production involves the use of precision technology, such as automated equipment, climate control sensors, and even mobile devices. This project will better equip the participants with the knowledge and tools to allow them to produce poultry and livestock in a more efficient, environmentally sustainable, and animal welfare-friendly manner.”

The program aims to address educational, economic and racial disparities among African American producers largely shaped by the sharp decline of Black-owned farms over the last century. According to USDA statistics, African American farmers owned 25 percent of farms nationwide in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, African American farmers now comprise just 1.4% of the country's 3.4 million producers.  In North Carolina alone, African American farmers owned about 1,500 farms out of more than 46,000 statewide, according to the census.

“Understanding technology and how to apply those skills is integral to having a successful career in agriculture,” said Lilyn Hester, Google head of Southeast External Affairs and Government Relations. “N.C. A&T State University and their College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences are leaders in preparing their students for the workforce. We hope this grant is an extension of those efforts to support poultry and livestock producers.”

“We are highly encouraged by the opportunity to educate  producers through tech training, the future of our industry,” said Antoine Alston, Ph.D., CAES associate dean of academic studies. “We believe that this will not only provide our participants with the knowledge and skill to utilize the equipment they purchase through the grants, but also increase profitability and value to their enterprise.”

Source : ncat.edu

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