Separate & unequal

 Pam Schmutzler stands in her greenhouse Friday, March 3 on her farm just south of Jefferson City. Schmuztler owns a small-scare farming operation and utilizes Lincoln University's farmer's market to connect with area customers. Photos by Liv Paggiarino

Pam Schmutzler stands in her greenhouse Friday, March 3 on her farm just south of Jefferson City. Schmuztler owns a small-scare farming operation and utilizes Lincoln University's farmer's market to connect with area customers. Photos by Liv Paggiarino

How Lincoln's land grant woes hurt Missouri's small farmers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Lincoln University is one of only two non-defunct historically black colleges in the state.

George R. Smith College in Sedalia was attended by famous ragtime musician Scott Joplin and other notable alumni until a fire caused the school to shut its doors for good.

Although Lincoln has had no such catastrophe, for historically-black schools, funding has been and remains to be a challenge that does not allow for top-edge technology, spaces of learning and the peace of mind that a financial safety-net provides. 

Lincoln now finds itself at a pivotal point in its history. Decreasing enrollment, heightened competition from other institutions and deep cuts from local and federal governments are posing threats to the school's prosperous existence.

 

 Pam Schmutzler cuts fresh leaves off of a kale plant Friday, March 3 in her greenhouse. Schmutzler's greenhouse is home to vegetable plants like kale, yellow beets, peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard and carrots. She still owns the old school bus that she converted into a greenhouse but now uses it to store bags of pecan seed mulch, which she sells on occasion.

Pam Schmutzler cuts fresh leaves off of a kale plant Friday, March 3 in her greenhouse. Schmutzler's greenhouse is home to vegetable plants like kale, yellow beets, peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard and carrots. She still owns the old school bus that she converted into a greenhouse but now uses it to store bags of pecan seed mulch, which she sells on occasion.

For those dependent on Lincoln for assistance, such as a thriving small-scale farming community in the immediate area around the University, help is becoming harder to find. Pam Schmutzler grows kale, carrots, peas, tomatoes and more in the greenhouse she helped build with a $10,000 loan from Lincoln. Although she is no longer in need of assistance and has established her operation, the same cannot be said for other beginning farmers. 

Since 2000, Lincoln hasn't received even half of the required appropriations from the state to be able to fully fund its land-grant mission, which supports the school's agricultural research and extension programs. As of fiscal year 2018, Lincoln is only receiving $3.19 million from the state — about a $3.87 million deficit of the required $7.06 million as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Sandy Koetting, Lincoln's chief financial officer.

 Pam Schmutzler, right, tosses freshly washed kale into a bowl while her longtime friend, Denise Redal, bags and weighs clean kale Friday, March 3 in Schmutzler's home just south of Jefferson City. Schmutzler says she sells her kale for however much she would pay for it. She charges $2 for a half-pound bag of kale and says she's interested in learning to make kale chips.

Pam Schmutzler, right, tosses freshly washed kale into a bowl while her longtime friend, Denise Redal, bags and weighs clean kale Friday, March 3 in Schmutzler's home just south of Jefferson City. Schmutzler says she sells her kale for however much she would pay for it. She charges $2 for a half-pound bag of kale and says she's interested in learning to make kale chips.

 Pam Schmutzler, center, helps Colleen Meredith unfold a tablecloth for Meredith's booth at the Lincoln University Farmers' Market Friday, March 3 in Jefferson City. Schmutzler, Meredith and Mae Benson, left, were three of five vendors who came to sell their products at the market that day. The market, housed indoors during the winter, garners more vendors during the warmer months. 

Pam Schmutzler, center, helps Colleen Meredith unfold a tablecloth for Meredith's booth at the Lincoln University Farmers' Market Friday, March 3 in Jefferson City. Schmutzler, Meredith and Mae Benson, left, were three of five vendors who came to sell their products at the market that day. The market, housed indoors during the winter, garners more vendors during the warmer months. 

 Pam Schmutzler and Colleen Meredith put away unsold product at the end of the Lincoln University Farmers' Market Friday, March 3 in Jefferson City. The vendors who participate in the market all benefit in some way from Lincoln's extension program, which has never been fully funded and may negatively impact the tight-knit community of small rural farmers in the area. "Lincoln's done us all a lot of good," she said.

Pam Schmutzler and Colleen Meredith put away unsold product at the end of the Lincoln University Farmers' Market Friday, March 3 in Jefferson City. The vendors who participate in the market all benefit in some way from Lincoln's extension program, which has never been fully funded and may negatively impact the tight-knit community of small rural farmers in the area. "Lincoln's done us all a lot of good," she said.

The land-grant mission of MU, Missouri's other and first land-grant institution, is funded through a different process — and has received its required allotment in the same time period.

"We've created a dual system within the land-grant community, and it doesn't work," said John Michael Lee, Jr., former vice president of the Office for Access and Success at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

 

 Pam Schmutzler overlooks her crops while standing in her greenhouse just north of Jefferson City, Mo. on March 3, 2018. The greenhouse which was partially funded by Lincoln allows Schmutzler to grow multiple crops year-round. Schmutzler also preserves several summer crops to sell in the winter months. 

Pam Schmutzler overlooks her crops while standing in her greenhouse just north of Jefferson City, Mo. on March 3, 2018. The greenhouse which was partially funded by Lincoln allows Schmutzler to grow multiple crops year-round. Schmutzler also preserves several summer crops to sell in the winter months. 

 

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