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Kentucky State University Part of Ag Business Innovation Center in N.C.
Kentucky Ag Connection - 09/27/2022

Kentucky State University is a partner institution in the newly establishment of an Agriculture Business Innovation Center, recently funded by a $1.92 million investment by the USDA.

The Agriculture Business Innovation Center will be located at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and will serve as a technical assistance hub for agriculture-based business development opportunities for minority students in food and agriculture.

Dr. Marcus Bernard, chair of the School of Agriculture, Communities and the Environment, is the point person for Kentucky State's role in the grant.

"The lack of direct access, engagement, and hand-on enterprise training for HBCU students in the food and agricultural industry creates an enormous disadvantage for HBCU students that results in fewer students seeking food and agricultural-based majors, career paths, and entrepreneurial opportunities," Dr. Bernard said.

Dr. Bernard will be further developing the Agribusiness Professional Development Guest Speaker Series, which he established at Kentucky State in spring 2021. In the coming years, the speaker series will include ten food and agriculture leaders per semester. These speakers have been and will continue to primarily be industry leaders of color, to encourage minority students in the food and agriculture industries.

A national HBCU-focused food and agriculture industry-based case-study competition will also be established in partnership with MANRRS. MANRRS encourages diversity, education, and inclusive programming for women and minorities in food and agriculture.

Both efforts aim to increase experiential learning opportunities for agricultural students of color.

"KSU and MANRRS will provide students with opportunities to engage with leading professionals in the Agribusiness Industry," Dr. Bernard said.

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