WASHINGTON (AP) _ On-campus representatives of the Agriculture Department have been appointed for 17 historically black universities, Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter announced Monday.

The plan was announced in December and will include a USDA liaison office at each school. The schools are collectively known as 1890 institutions because of land-grant college legislation that year.

Yeutter said the top priority for the USDA representatives, all currently employed by the department in other capacities, will be to work with state and local department officials in an outreach effort to recruit minorities into agricutural and forestry studies at the schools.

The campus officials also will provide guidance and teaching assistance, help develop curriculums, recruit and counsel students on USDA job opportunities and other agricultural careers, he said. They also will provide some assistance to small farmers.

More than 400 USDA employees applied for the 17 positions, Yeutter said. All of the new representatives are scheduled to be on the job by mid-June.

The 17 universities and their USDA representatives are:

Alabama A&M, Huntsville - Jimmy Reaves, Corvallis, Ore., plant pathologist, Forest Service.

Alcorn State University, Lorman, Miss. - Clifton Peters, Washington, Pa., soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff - Robert Cole, Colt, Ark., loan specialist, Farmers Home Administration.

Delaware State College, Dover - Median Vidrine, Auburn, Ala., soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

Florida A&M University, Tallahassee - Rozier Crew, Tallahassee, Fla., employee development specialist, Farmers Home Administration.

Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, Ga. - Sheila Gillette, Arlington, Va., international training specialist, Office of International Cooperation and Development.

Kentucky State University, Frankfort - Marie Lubeley, Boston, Mass., food assistance program specialist, Food and Nutrition Service.

Langston University, Langston, Okla. - Marvin Cooks, Stillwater, Okla., loan specialist, Farmers Home Administration.

Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo. - Donald Case, Sierra Vista, Ariz., range conservationist, Forest Service.

Unversity of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Princess Anne - George Pavelis, Falls Church, Va., economist, Economic Research Service.

North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro - Elvis Graves, Raleigh, N.C., personnel management specialist, Soil Conservation Service.

Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas - Horace Hodge, Navosta, Texas, soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

South Carolina State College, Orangeburg - James Williams, Orangeburg, S.C., soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

Southern University, Baton Rouge, La. - Randolph Joseph Jr., Baton Rouge, La., soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

Tennessee State University, Nashville - Willie B. Leggitt, Hope, Ark., soil conservationist, Soil Conservation Service.

Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala. - Erich F. Hemphill, Rockville, Md., veterinary medical officer, Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Virginia State University, Petersburg - David Smith, Aurora, Colo., soil scientist, Forest Service.