Smith-Lever 3(d) Extension Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program
Section 7403 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246) (FCEA) amended Section 3(d) of the Smith-Lever Act (7 U.S.C. 343(d)) to provide the opportunity for 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, including Tuskegee University and West Virginia State University, and the University of the District of Columbia to compete for and receive these funds directly from the Secretary of Agriculture. Extension IPM Coordination and Support (EIPM – CS) is among the Extension programs funded under this authority.
Background and Purpose
On October 6, 2008, NIFA held a stakeholder listening session on Smith-Lever 3(d) IPM restructuring due to changes found in Section 7403 of the FCEA. Changes to Smith-Lever 3(d) funding include: (1) the requirement for a competitive program delivery model as opposed to a long-standing formula delivery model; and (2) the inclusion of 1890 Institutions and the University of the District of Columbia as eligible entities to receive 3(d) funds. The primary intent of the listening session was to gather stakeholder input on program focus and design. Prior to the listening session, National Program Leaders presented stakeholders with the following questions:
1. What should be the primary goals and objectives of the program?
2. How can NIFA funding be optimized?
3. Should there be a limit on the number of proposals that can be submitted by each eligible institution?
4.What criteria should be used in the proposal review and selection process?
5. Should regional, multi-institutional or multi-state proposals be encouraged?
6. Should proposals addressing gaps in current program coverage (organic, small farms, etc.) be given greater emphasis in the evaluative process?
7. What limits should be set on funding and project duration?
The written comment period ran from October 6 through November 15, 2008. Over 400 written comments were received. A written summary of the comments is attached. Contained in the comments are many areas with broad agreement among stakeholders. For instance, from both verbal and written comments, it is clear that stakeholders feel the most critical issue is making the fiscal year 2009 funds available as soon as possible, which the Agency is responding to by promptly issuing the EIPM – CS RFA and proceeding with the competition on an aggressive schedule. Stakeholder comments on questions 5 and 6 above, however, diverged and deserve separate treatment.
In response to Question 5, we received input on the way multi-institutional or multi-state is defined, as well as whether these types of proposals should be encouraged. Many stakeholders felt that these proposals should be a secondary concern of the EIPM-CS. In the RFA, the majority of the funds are available for what are termed programs, rather than projects. Use of this term is not accidental. It highlights the continuing emphasis on state support, a primary element of the IPM success story. In order to assure that IPM is a component of Cooperative Extension programs at as many eligible institutions as possible; NIFA is limiting submissions to one Coordination proposal per institution. EIPM-CS is designed to foster collaboration, not competition, among IPM programs. Institutions are encouraged to work together in the development and maintenance of a network of Extension IPM programs to accelerate the technology transfer for IPM, reduce duplication of efforts, maximize program potential and ensure that information is disseminated. Applications that propose a limited or extended network of multi-institutional or multi-state collaborations are encouraged in an effort to provide maximum coverage and benefit of Extension IPM.
In response to Question 6, some stakeholders expressed the sentiment that support can be provided for issues such as organics and small farms by developing broad funding categories. Others suggested that there may be adequate local funding where support is needed for particular local needs. In the EIPM - CS RFA, the Extension IPM program focuses on broad areas to address national priorities such as are defined in the National IPM Roadmap. Multi-disciplinary IPM Coordinators serve as the backbone for Extension IPM. This program retains the flexibility to fund stand alone or collaborative awards and also the flexibility in how funding can be used for local IPM Coordinators to respond to local needs. EIPM-CS is designed to develop the administrative infrastructure required to facilitate and expand Extension IPM programs. The long history of broad state and local Extension IPM will continue to contribute to National IPM progress. Additionally, NIFA encourages an increased membership of regional committees to include representatives of all eligible institutions competing for EIPM-CS funds.
Efforts have been made to incorporate suggestions into the EIPM-CS program as allowable by law. Stakeholder comments received after the close of the initial comment period, November 15, 2008, will be retained and incorporated into the next comment period, scheduled for Spring 2009.