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SBIR Impact - October 2009

SBIR IMPACT is a quarterly newsletter for small businesses interested in the USDA–Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and for institutions and organizations that support the small business community and rural America.


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. 

Dr. Adele Turzillo has replaced Dr. Peter Burfening as the National Program Leader for topic area 8.3 - Animal Production and Protection.  Adele provides leadership in the development, evaluation and management of a broad range of programs in animal research, extension and education. She is a primary point of contact for issues related to livestock production and serves as liaison to academia, the states, and several multistate projects.  Adele earned her Ph.D. at Cornell University, completed postdoctoral studies at Colorado State University, and was an assistant professor at the University of Arizona.  Her area of expertise is reproductive physiology in domestic ruminants. She entered government service in 2004 as a regulatory scientist at the FDA and joined NIFA (CSREES) in 2008. 

Dr. Turzillo can be contacted at:
Phone: (202) 401 - 6158
Email: aturzillo@nifa.usda.gov


The SBIR solicitation period for FY 2010 Phase I grants closed on September 3. Please e-mail sbir@nifa.usda.gov if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about this process for FY 2010 submissions. 

SBIR Phase II grants are currently limited to $400,000 and duration of 24 months and are only open to previous USDA SBIR Phase I awardees.  In November of this year, the SBIR program will send an invitation letter via email to Phase I awardees eligible to submit Phase II applications.  This letter will include instructions for preparing and submitting applications and will also include a deadline date.  All FY 2009 Phase I grantees are eligible to apply for FY 2010 Phase II grants.  In addition, any FY 2007, 2008 or past Phase I grantees that have not previously submitted a Phase II proposal are also eligible to submit a proposal this year.  If you are planning to submit a Phase II application and have not received the invitation letter by the end of November, please contact us at sbir@nifa.usda.gov


In 2009, the SBIR program provided an innovative commercialization training program to aid all Phase I grant recipients in the development of a commercialization plan.

The commercialization plan is a key aspect of the Phase II grant application, and provides a foundation for continued progress towards commercialization, even if the project is not selected for future SBIR Phase II funding. The Commercialization Training Program for Phase I projects is an optional, online training course, developed and offered by the Agricultural Innovation and Commercialization Center (AICC) at Purdue University, at no cost to the participants.

The course will consist of the following four segments:

  1. Downloadable online lecture materials. 
  2. Online quiz materials to monitor progress. Questions will help participants write better commercialization plans.
  3. Feedback on a two-page draft commercialization plan submitted with the midterm report. 
  4. Opportunities to interact, via the Internet, with Purdue faculty, SBIR staff and other SBIR grant recipients. 

AICC will follow the progress of participants for 5 years after course completion to evaluate its impact, including whether participants received a Phase II grant from USDA and made any progress towards commercialization.

Although participation in the commercialization training course is optional, the SBIR program strongly encourages all Phase I grant recipients to participate in the Phase I commercialization training offered by AICC.  We expect the course will help participants develop a stronger commercialization plan and, in turn, increase their potential for success.  If you are an SBIR Phase I grant recipient, you should have been notified by SBIR staff of the program.  You should be contacted by AICC in the future and they will aid in registering you for the program.  If you have any questions please send an e-mail to sbir@nifa.usda.gov

The first webinar was scheduled for Thursday, September 30.  All the webinars are archived and can be viewed at a later date.  Grantees need to register for the program by contacting Purdue directly to gain access to archived materials and webinars.

AICC was created in December 2003 with support from the USDA. It offers a wide range of information and commercialization tools.  AICC provides educational materials and advice, including INVenture, an online business planning tool; workshops; readings and fact sheets; and consultations.  More information about the center is available at the Purdue Web site

As in past years, the USDA SBIR program has initiated a Commercialization Assistance Training Program (CATP).  The CATP will include a 2 day workshop at the end of October 2009.  All FY09 Phase II recipients will be contacted regarding their participation in this program.  This is an optional program but it is strongly encouraged that Phase II Project Directors attend and is offered at no cost to the participants.


Johne’s disease (JD), caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), is a chronic infectious disease of ruminants leading to enteritis, persistent diarrhea, progressive wasting, and finally death. Johne’s disease currently ranks as one of the most costly infectious diseases of dairy cattle with global distribution.  In 2009 the USDA SBIR funded a Phase I project with Eckstein Diagnostics, Inc. to evaluate the two major cell wall lipids (one in-vitro and one in-vivo) for their future use in a diagnostic test kit for JD.  The project was recently highlighted on the website Coloradoan.com (www.coloradoan.com).  To read more about this story click the following link: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20091010/BUSINESS/910100316/Professor-launches-diagnostic-lab-to-help-battle-costly-cattle-diseases

Tens of millions of tons of pruning’s, land clearing debris, logging slash, and urban greenwood are chipped or ground each year as a means of volume reduction and disposal. Commingled chipped whole plant materials have little value other than as compost, mulch and direct combustion energy. Forest Concepts, LLC was awarded a 2009 Phase II, with the objectives to increase the utility of woody biomass material that has been shredded, chipped, or ground.   The online journals, Biomass Products & Technology and the Biofuels Journal featured Forest Concepts, LLC and their project.  Click here to go to the Biomass Products & Technology article and click here to go to the Biofuels Journal.

FY 2009 Phase I grants were awarded in June. Interim technical reports for these grants are due at the mid point of the project which for most projects is September or October.  These reports must be sent electronically to sbir@nifa.usda.gov in order for grant funds to be authorized beyond the initial 50 percent of the grant amount. For more information on reporting requirements, please see SBIR Grantee Resources on the Web site.

In the event a company is unable to complete its grant's objectives within the official grant period, the company's authorized organizational official (AOR) and/or project director (PD) may request a no-cost extension of up to 1 year. Before submitting such a request, the AOR/PD should contact the SBIR staff at sbir@nifa.usda.gov and or the National Program Leader responsible for the grant to discuss the reasons for the request. See SBIR Grantee Resources on the NIFA Web site for more information on how to make this request.

Reports are required, despite the amount of grant funds spent during a given quarter. Failure to submit reports in a timely manner will result in a hold placed on the Payment Management System (PMS) account with the Department of Heath and Human Services (DHHS). Funds will not be released until the delinquent report(s) have been submitted, resulting in lifting of the DHHS hold. The SBIR program staff does not have access to this system and cannot remove any holds placed on the system by DHHS. Contact Vivian Hughes if you have questions about these reports or need help in completing them.  Questions can also be sent to the general PMS help desk.

Each grantee must provide the SBIR office with current contact information. Because correspondence between SBIR staff and grantees is conducted almost exclusively via e-mail, providing a correct e-mail address is critical. Although maintaining this information is only explicitly required for the duration of the grant, all prior grantees are encouraged to maintain contact with the SBIR office. Please send changes in contact information to the SBIR office, and include either the proposal or grant number for all projects to which the change applies.

Please note: Update e-mail addresses with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Payment Management System as well. Acknowledging SBIR Funding
Proper acknowledgement of NIFA funding in published manuscripts, presentations, and press releases is important for the success of the SBIR program. We specifically ask that you use the following language to acknowledge this support:

This project was supported by the Small Business Innovation Research program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Grant Number (Insert Grant Number Here).
We strongly encourage you to acknowledge NIFA funding in interviews and articles that feature your company and work that has been supported through our program. This acknowledgement is beneficial for both the SBIR program and the companies with whom we partner.

Mr. Scott Dockum will represent the USDA SBIR program at the 2009 National SBIR/STTR Conference in Sparks, Nevada November 2-5, 2009.

Mr. Scott Dockum will represent the USDA SBIR program at the 11th Biennial Hawaii SBIR & STTR Conference in Hawaii November 16-20, 2009. 

Dr. Charles Cleland will represent the USDA SBIR program at the 2009 Maryland State SBIR conference in Greenbelt, MD November 17, 2009.

Dr. Bill Goldner will represent the USDA SBIR program at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Conference in Morgantown, WV November 30 - December 2, 2009.

Dr. Charles Cleland will represent the USDA SBIR program at the 2009 Vermont State SBIR conference in Essex, VT December 10, 2009.


Dr. Charles Cleland

  • 8.1 Forests and Related Resources
  • 8.4 Soil, Water and Soils
  • 8.7 Aquaculture
  • 8.12 Small and Mid Size Farms

Dr. William Goldner

  • 8.2 Plant Production and Protection – Biology
  • 8.8 Biofuels and Biobased Products
  • 8.13 Plant Production and Protection – Engineering

Dr. Richard Hegg

  • 8.11 Animal Manure Management

Dr. S. Sureshwaran

  • 8.6 Rural and Community Development
  • 8.9 Marketing and Trade

Dr. Dionne Toombs

  • 8.5 Food Science and Nutrition

Dr. Adele Turzillo

  • 8.3 Animal Production and Protection

Scott Dockum

  • General SBIR Program Support


The SBIR staff encourages feedback concerning this newsletter and, more broadly, the administration of the SBIR program. We are committed to being responsive to the needs of applicants to the program and to those companies who have received SBIR grants. Please send comments to the SBIR office or call (202) 401-4995.


To receive e-mail notification of future SBIR Newsletter releases, send a message to sbir@nifa.usda.gov and type “subscribe SBIR” in the subject line.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.