Texas A&M AgriLife and Prairie View A&M University, PVAM, co-hosted the 2022 Southern Region Mini Land-Grant Meeting at Texas A&M University in Bryan-College Station. The meeting featured seven groups from 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities and included the leaders from southern agricultural land-grant institutions, experiment stations and extension agencies.

Shadowed farmers shaking hands in the middles of a field with the setting sun
Collaboration and partnerships were discussed at the 2022 Southern Region Mini Land-Grant Meeting in College Station. (Stock photo)

Climate change, human health and faculty recruitment and retention will weigh heavily on the future of agriculture and these issues were discussed in depth. The meeting included planning and future actions across administrative sections, as attendees examined key issues, sought new solutions, and identified partnerships and collaborative opportunities for research.

“Texas A&M AgriLife, the largest agriculture program in the nation with over 5,000 full-time employees, was extremely pleased to co-host with PVAM and discuss several critical issues facing the southern region and abroad,” said Henry Fadamiro, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research associate director and chief scientific officer. “This meeting was very successful and sets the stage for future collaboration.”

Angela Burkham, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service executive associate director, welcomed attendees.

“AgriLife Extension has a vast network statewide, and we are proud to have collaborative partnerships with Prairie View A&M University,” she said. “AgriLife Extension has over 900 educators and 86,000 volunteers that contribute 4.2 million hours with a value of $192 million. We have a broad reach statewide.”

The seven groups from both 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities represented at the meeting included: 

Collaborative opportunities

“We are delighted with the great spirit of collaboration between our respective land-grant colleges as evidenced in the highly successful mini land-grant conference,” said Gerard D’Souza, Ph.D., dean and director of land-grant programs at PVAM. “Among the issues discussed during the meeting is the need for strengthening communication between and among the 1862 and 1890 institutions.

“Among the conference outcomes, we hope that by working together we will be even more successful and impactful and gain a deeper understanding of the audiences we serve, including in our home state of Texas and between our two land-grant institutions. We look forward to strengthening collaborative opportunities in all three mission areas.”

Gary Thompson, Ph.D., executive director at the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, said the meeting was a unique opportunity to bring each component of the southern land-grant system together.

“It gave us an opportunity to talk to each other on a regional basis,” Thompson said. “The issues are nationwide and acute to the southern region: climate change, issues that affect the growers and stakeholders in the U.S., the issues affecting communities and engagement and how we can better assist them. It all must start somewhere.”

Thompson noted that more coordinated efforts will lead to more research discoveries, allowing Extension educators to take those discoveries to stakeholders as well as introduce them in the classroom.

The general session featured the following discussions:

  • Colleges of agriculture roles in promoting human health.
  • Agriculture’s audience, how it is changing, adapting to population redistribution.
  • Recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.
  • The impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry in the southern region.

Panel discussions were also part of the general session topics, as well as a table discussion and exercise as part of the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff segment.