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USDA and other agencies fund new development at Central State University

USDA and other agencies fund new development at Central State University
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper on January 30, 2023

Central State University is announcing the development of two new buildings on its campus – a 24,000 square feet farm operations and storage facility, and a new research facility for the University’s land-grant mission and researchers working on projects funded by United States Department of Agriculture and other agencies.

CSU faculty and staff set a new school record in sponsored research and external funding for the third consecutive year by earning over 50 million during the 2021-22 fiscal year. These funds have been utilized to enhance CSU’s physical infrastructure, increase faculty research and scholarly activities, increase community engagement and outreach, and provide students with scholarships and experiential learning opportunities.

“We are being recognized for our rigorous pursuit of knowledge that addresses societal concerns,” says Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti, associate provost for Research. “The record-setting amount demonstrates that CSU is taking our rightful place as an institution of higher education dedicated to improving the communities and society locally and globally through evidenced-based activities,” Kuti commented. “CSU is especially proud of the inclusion of students in our efforts as it provides experiential learning opportunities vital for their academic success and future professional careers,” he added.

The new research facility will be located on SR 42 near the water tower on the CSU campus in Wilberforce, Ohio, and will be the first major facility constructed on campus since the completion of the University Student Center in 2015. The building will include 40,000 square feet. Core laboratories will occupy a portion of the space, and the remaining area will be shell space to allow for future collaborations with corporate partners in the areas of agricultural sciences and technologies. Central State researchers working in precision agriculture, food safety, and basic sciences will occupy the first spaces developed in the facility.

A new 24,000 square feet farm operations and storage facility to house researchers’ farm equipment, field offices, and maintenance operations for those research plots located on the farm will be built. Currently, researchers have annual plots there for specialized corn varieties, industrial hemp, raspberries, aquaponics, beekeeping, and other projects sponsored by the University, industry collaborators, and the USDA.

The University has several major grant projects in process.

A $10,000,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was awarded to the University for the “Sustainable Aquaculture Production of High Omega 3 Containing Fish Using a Novel Feed Additive.” The project is led by Dr. Brandy E. Phipps, PI; Dr. Craig Schluttenhofer; and Dr. Krishna Kumar Nedunuri, Ph.D. (Co-PIs). Project goals include researching the potential use of hemp as an aquaculture feed, training and equipping new aquaculture producers, increasing local production of produce and healthy fish, and providing workforce training for Native American and African American graduates.

A $3,582,160 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce for the Central State University Workforce Training and Business Development Center was awarded to the University. The project is led by Dr. Morakinyo Kuti, with a team of faculty including Dr. Fred Aikens, Dr. Arunasalam Rahunanthan, Dr. Mahmoud Abdallah, Dr. Ramani Kandiah, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, and Dr. Sal Almestiri.



The goal of the project is to establish a Workforce Training and Business Development Center that will serve underserved communities in Clark, Greene, and Montgomery counties.

A $599,982 grant for "Development of a Holistic Nano Photocatalytic Approach for Controlling Agriculturally-Induced Algal Blooms and Associated Cyanotoxins in Lake" was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Ning Zhang serves as the Project Director. The goal of the project is to build CSU research capacity for developing and expanding economically viable and environmentally compatible water treatment technology, through developing advanced oxidation process for microcystins destruction.

A $597,461 grant for “Introducing Ergonomics Safety in Agriculture Production through Use of a Movement Studies Lab” project was awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Kathy Carter serves as the Project Director. The project aims to expand exercise science (EXS) research to include the ergonomics of farm safety, as well as develop an ergonomics curriculum within the EXS program.

A grant worth $538,986f for the “Fastrack Farming: A Training Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Military Veteran Beginning Farmers during the COVID 19 Pandemic” was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Siddhartha Dasgupta serves as the Project Director. The project’s goal is to collaborate with community-based organizations in Ohio to train socially disadvantaged and military veteran beginning farmers to start and manage viable farms.

The new facilities will be located at a new entrance for the 100 acres designated in the University’s master plan as the Land Grand Demonstration and Research Farm. The storage building is expected to be complete in early 2024. The project is funded entirely to date by the funds received by the University from the USDA and the State of Ohio as part of its annual allocation of resources to support the University’s 1890 Land-Grant mission.

“These facilities will put Central State on the map as the hub of research and experiential learning for our faculty and students here at Central State. The emergence of CSU as a land-grant University serving the citizens of Ohio has begun, and these facilities will only be the beginning of Central State taking its place as a premier 1890 Land-Grant institution in Ohio, the US, and globally. Our research in food and nutrition, particularly focused in the areas of disparities in minority health are taking shape and will make an impact,” said Central State University President Jack Thomas.


About Central State University:
Central State University is a public HBCU and 1890 Land-Grant Institution with a 135-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. Central State ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges in five categories, including Best Undergraduate Engineering Program and Top Public Schools. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a solid liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

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