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Central State University, Ohio’s only 1890 Land-Grant Institution Receives $10 Million Award for Innovative Sustainable Ag Research Project that Incorporates 1862,1890, and 1994 Land Grant Institutions!

WILBERFORCE, OH-The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Central State University, Ohio’s only 1890 Land-Grant Institution, a $10 million Sustainable Agriculture Systems (SAS) project.

The first of its kind – this five-year CSU College of Engineering, Science, Agriculture, and Technology (CESTA) led project, partners the expertise and efforts of all three types of Land-Grant Institutions – including College of Menominee Nation (1994 Land-Grant), Kentucky State University (1890 Land-Grant), and University of Delaware, University of Kentucky, and Mississippi State University (1862 Land-Grants).

CSU is the only Ohio University and the only HBCU to ever receive a SAS award. “This is an historical award for Central State University,” says President of Central State University Dr. Jack Thomas. “It demonstrates CSU’s core value of academic excellence and continuous efforts to meet and enhance the university’s land grant mission.”

Dr. Brandy E. Phipps, research assistant professor of food, nutrition, and health who wrote the grant, serves as the principal investigator on the project. CESTA professors Craig Schluttenhofer, Ph.D. and research assistant professor of natural products, and Krishna Kumar Nedunuri, Ph.D. and professor of environmental engineering and water resource management serve as co-principal investigators.

According to Dr. Phipps this project impacts the entire value system chain ensuring that CSU positively impacts regional and national agricultural economics, increase the diversity of the agricultural workforce, develop environmentally and economically sustainable hemp and aquaculture systems, and ultimately improve the quality of lives of Americans – particularly those from underserved populations.

“To sustainably impact public health outcomes, we must holistically address long-standing issues of food and health inequities,” says Phipps. “This means coming alongside and partnering with communities – especially those that have been historically underserved – to build meaningful and relevant outreach and agriculture development programs that build on their existing desires and community efforts toward food sovereignty.”

“We are beaming with pride at Central State University,” says F. Erik Brooks, Ph.D. and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at CSU. “We are thrilled that Dr. Phipps has been awarded this grant. As provost and vice-president academic affairs, I have been charged with helping raise the university’s research profile. This grant award will help strengthen research and build capacity for trailblazing and cutting-edge research at the university. This award is just an initial success of many more to come to help our university achieve eminence, disseminate knowledge, and serve our surrounding community.” added Dr. Brooks.

Colloquially known as SUSHI—Sustainable Use of a Safe Hemp Ingredient—this project received widespread support from all sectors of the hemp and aquaculture industries, as well as Tribal community, academic, and health sector stakeholders. According to Dr. Phipps, stakeholders will continue to provide ongoing feedback through the life of the project. “Project goals include researching the potential use of hemp as an aquaculture feed, training and equipping new aquaculture producers, and increasing local production of produce and healthy fish in the Menominee Nation. It is further designed to also provide workforce training to increase the Native American and African American graduates in agriculture,” Phipps added. “The partnership with College of Menominee Nation will create cross-cultural learning opportunities and experiential learning experiences for students from both institutions.”

“We in CESTA/1890 Land Grant Programs are committed to supporting Dr. Phipps and colleagues to deliver the expected outcomes to impact our stakeholders (underrepresented students, farmers and the community) to uphold the tripartite Land Grant mission of CSU,” says Michelle Corley, Ph.D., Dean of CESTA and 1890 Land-Grant Programs Director.

“We are especially proud that as a predominantly undergraduate institution, this project and other research activities, enable our students to engage in cutting edge learning opportunities during their educational journey at CSU,” states Morakinyo Kuti, Ph.D. Associate Provost Research at Central State.

Other partners on this project include Mr. Brian Kowalkowski (CMN), Dr. Waldemar Rossi (KSU), Dr. Tyler Mark (UK), Dr. Brandon McFadden (UDel), and Dr. Seong Yun (MSU).

To learn more about the award, or to inquire about CSU’s research call 937-376-6677 or visit


Photo 1- Brandy E. Phipps, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Food, Nutrition and Health, CSU

Photo 2- Craig Schluttenhofer, Ph.D.,  Research Assistant Professor of Natural Products, CSU

Photo 1-Krishnakumar V. Nedunuri, Ph.D. , Professor of Environmental Engineering, CSU


About Central State University: Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University with a 134-year tradition of academic excellence. Central State University prepares students with diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research and service. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation leading to professional careers and advanced studies.

EEO Statement: Central State University, an 1890 Land-Grant Institution, is committed to the full inclusion of all people, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, marital or family status, military status, national origin, political beliefs, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. If reasonable accommodations are needed, please contact the Department of Human Resources at 937-376-6540. Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution.

CESTA/1890 Land-Grant Programs at CSU


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  • DrCraigSchluttenhoffer2
  • nedunuri

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