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Public Statements

Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Chair, it was my intention to offer an amendment to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, which would have amended Section 4 of Public Law 87-788 (commonly known as the ``McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act'').

My amendment said: ``The matching funds requirement shall not be applicable to eligible 1890 Institutions (as defined in Section 2 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998), if the allocation is below $200,000.''

On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Morrill Act, which made it possible for each state to receive federal funds to establish a state college or university.

Regretfully, slavery still existed in the United States when the Morrill Act of 1862 was enacted into law. Even after the Civil War ended in 1865, it was still considered illegal to educate blacks in the South--making it impossible for black students to attend any college or university established under the Morrill Act of 1862. These conditions resulted in the enactment of the Morrill Act of 1890 and its support for black educational institutions.

Today: The eighteen 1890 Land-grant institutions represent 24 percent of all land-grant institutions (76 institutions total); The 1890 Land-grant Institutions enrolled 98,397 students in 2011 (31% of all student enrolled in HBCUs); The 1890 Land-grant institutions produced 33 percent of all Bachelor's degrees, 41 percent of all master's degrees, 45 percent of all doctoral degrees and 24 percent of all professional degrees awarded at HBCUs.

Notable graduates of 1890 Institutions include: Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Gen. Daniel Chappie James, Lionel Richie, Whitney Young, Art Shell, Ronald McNair, Jim Clyburn, Edolphus Towns, Alcee Hastings, Corrine Brown.

Madam Chair, in the 2008 Farm bill, 1890 institutions were made eligible to receive funding for the first time under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act, which is a capacity building program for forestry research that requires matching funds.

Under in the 2008 Farm bill, 1890 institutions were made eligible to receive funding for the first time under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act, which is a capacity building program for forestry which requires matching funds.

The McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry assists all states in carrying out a program of state forestry research at state forestry schools and colleges and in developing a trained pool of forest scientists capable of conducting forestry research, including ecological restoration; catastrophe management; valuing and trading ecological services; energy conservation, biomass energy and bio-based materials development; forest fragmentation: carbon sequestration and climate change; and ways of fostering healthy forests and a globally competitive forest resources sector.

Unfortunately, many of our 1890 institutions find themselves financially strapped and in need of relief. One area in particular where they are having difficulty is with respect to providing the matching funds for the McIntire-Stennis program--particularly those institutions eligible for $200,000 or less.

Indeed, many campuses are having difficulty match other capacity funds and for competitive grants. 1890 Intuitions are working diligently to increase their non federal sources of funds, however, having the burden of the current match is keeping the program in stress as they go forward to develop forestry related research programs and teaching and outreach programs, hire faculty for the programs and enroll students in the McIntire-Stennis dependent education curricula.

The same language which is included in the amendment I had planned on offering today is currently included in the Senate version of the Farm bill S. 954, The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, as section 8301.
At the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, however, I am not going to offer my amendment today in order to allow the House Committee staff to work with USDA, our 1890 schools and Senate staff to develop alternative perfecting language which addresses concerns raised about the potential unintended impact of the amendment on 1890's institutions.

I am withdrawing my amendment with the understanding and assurance, from my distinguished friends, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson that should we not be able to come to agreement on perfecting language during conference on the two farm bills, the final Conference bill and report will contain an exemption for eligible 1890 institutions from the matching requirement if their allocation is below $200,000.

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