The Secretary shall prioritize centers of excellence established for purposes of carrying out research, extension, and education activities relating to the food and agricultural sciences (as defined in section 3103 of this title) for the receipt of funding for any competitive research or extension program administered by the Secretary.
A center of excellence is composed of 1 or more of the eligible entities specified in subsection (b)(7) of section 3157 of this title that provide financial or in-kind support to the center of excellence.
Where practicable, the criteria for recognition as a center of excellence shall include efforts to improve teaching capacity and infrastructure at colleges and universities (including land-grant colleges and universities, cooperating forestry schools, NLGCA Institutions (as those terms are defined in section 3103 of this title), and schools of veterinary medicine).
The Secretary shall recognize not less than 3 centers of excellence, each led by an 1890 Institution (as defined in section 7601 of this title), to focus on 1 or more of the areas described in paragraph (2).
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may engage in activities to ensure that students have the skills and education needed to work in agriculture and food industries, agriculture science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and related fields of study.
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may carry out research, education, and extension programs that increase access to healthy food, improve nutrition, mitigate preventive disease, and develop strategies to assist limited resource individuals in accessing health and nutrition resources.
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may share best practices with farmers to improve agricultural production, processing, and marketing, reduce urban food deserts, examine new uses for traditional and nontraditional crops, animals, and natural resources, and continue activities carried out by the Center for Innovative and Sustainable Small Farms, Ranches, and Forest Lands.
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may engage in international partnerships that strengthen agricultural development in developing countries, partner with international researchers regarding new and emerging animal and plant pests and diseases, engage in agricultural disaster recovery, and continue activities carried out by the Center for International Engagement.
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may focus on protecting and managing domestic natural resources for current and future production of food and agricultural products.
A center of excellence established under paragraph (1) may focus on the development of emerging technologies to increase agricultural productivity, enhance small farm economic viability, and improve rural communities by developing genetic and sensor technologies for food and agriculture and providing technology training to farmers.
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.