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SBIR Impact - May 2011

SBIR Impact is an annual 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.


Phase I panels are complete and funding recommendations have been made based on a projected FY11 budget. At the time of this newsletter, USDA SBIR selected 10% of the projects recommended for funding to be awarded.  This decision was based on the delay of the FY11 budget appropriations.  USDA SBIR is currently waiting to determine the total FY11 budget and once in place a decision will be made to determine if additional projects can be funded.  In past years the USDA SBIR program funded approximately 15% of the proposals that were submitted and reviewed. 

Project directors who submitted proposals will receive word via phone or e-mail about their status of their proposals and whether it is one of the proposals that could be funded once the budget is determined. If you submitted a FY 2011 Phase I application and have not been informed about the status of your proposal, contact the SBIR program office at sbir@nifa.usda.gov. Information about the recommendation status of a proposal will only be made available to the project directors and/or authorized organizational officials. Information about new grantees will be posted on our abstracts page as soon as awards are made official, early June. We caution companies that have been recommended for an award about publicizing this information before the grant is made official. Grants are not official until a thorough administrative review of each recommended proposal is complete.

The next USDA-SBIR Phase I Solicitation is tentatively scheduled to be released June 2011, with a expected closing date of September 1, 2011. All FY2012 proposals must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. Note that the registration process for submitting applications electronically can take as much as one month to complete, and registration must be finished prior to submitting a proposal. If you intend to submit an application, you need not wait until the solicitation is published and can begin the registration process immediately.


FUTURESOFT INC. Futuresoft Inc also known as Positive Records received Phase I funding to report on the feasibility of developing a “Hip-Hop Music CD program” that can increase nutrition literacy and help prevent obesity in adolescent African American youths.  The researchers are working to answer several basic questions such as: Can the USDA Food Pyramid, and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines be translated accurately and effectively into a 10 song musical CD program?  Does music-based messaging provide dissemination and comprehension advantages over traditional health communications techniques such as radio and television, pamphlets, websites and billboards?  Can music and melody enhance nutritional knowledge and increase motivation for healthy dietary behavior change in African American youths? The summary reporting on the first question would be based on a qualitative post-development evaluation of the Music CD program's content accuracy, by a representative sample of registered dieticians and nutrition educators. The second and third questions will be assessed through quantitative results of a pre-and-post nutritional knowledge questionnaire and a summary analysis of additional qualitative target audience focus groups.

Futuresoft has released the first song called “The Label” and promotes the use of the Nutrition Facts Label and to support the FDA's Nutrition Facts Label program.  Not only is the video fun to watch, the webpage has the lyrics to the song and also directs the viewer to specific information on the nutrition facts labels.  To view the webpage and video, go to http://www.groovypyramid.com/thelabel.html

Secure Banking Solutions (SBS) Small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) have a wealth of private data that cyber thieves are targeting with increasingly regularity. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America and the risks of not protecting such information can be catastrophic to SMEs in rural communities. The Ponemon Institute calculates that in 2008, businesses paid an average of $202 per record compromised. That equates to $100,000 for an SME with 500 customers records. SMEs who cannot securely manage customer data from identity theft face either closure or acquisition by larger metropolitan-based organizations that have in-house IT security. Secure Banking Solutions proposes to test the feasibility of creating an information security management system that could provide a basic level of information protection for rural SMEs. Deployment of such a system would protect rural citizens and the SMEs rural communities depend on for jobs and leadership within the community.

Secure Banking Solutions was highlighted in the Prairie Business Magazine as a company that is dealing with these security issues.  Jeff Haase, Chief Operating Officer for SBS explained the issues and how this work will be able to create new jobs tied to the protecting of information security in rural communities and at the same time understand the needs of rural America.  For more information go to http://www.protectmybank.com.

Forest Concepts Soil erosion from disturbed lands, construction sites and low-volume roads is a major source of water pollution in all areas of the United States. In 2003 Forest Concepts was awarded a Phase II project to develop a wood-based erosion control material for forest and wildlands applications that performs or exceeds the functionality of agricultural straw while addressing straw's known limitations.  The Forest Concepts technology is being applied in many different locations around to country and recently was featured as the main technology to deal with land erosion problems in Colorado. 

Fourmile Canyon outside of Boulder Colorado was the site of a devastating wild fire in September 2010.  Because of the loss of vegetation there is a large risk of mudslides and significant erosion if the area was to receive more than a few inches of rain over a short period.

To combat this erosion problem, the wood-based erosion control materials, now called WoodStraw® Mulch, that Forest Concepts developed with USDA SBIR funding is being used to mitigate the problems in Fourmile Canyon.  Jim Dooley of Forest Concepts indicated that they have increased production rates over four months to manufacture the materials for this project.  A local news crew documented the story and it can be viewed by clicking this link. Crews-working-to-prevent-mudslides-in-Boulder-fire-area-  For more information on Forest Concepts go to http://www.forestconcepts.com.

Crile Carvey Consulting, Inc. This project proposes to develop a viable, flexible, and affordable means to extend reliable internet service to rural Americans. The company has completed a 2009 Phase I grant and is actively marketing the research.  Researches will be presenting the USDA SBIR project at the upcoming USTelecom Broadband Research Summit June 8-9, 2011 in Washington DC.  For more information on Crile Carvey Consulting, Inc. go to http://www.crile.com.

Each grantee must provide the SBIR office with current contact information. Because correspondence between USDA-SBIR staff and grantees is conducted almost exclusively via e-mail, correct e-mail addresses are critical. Although maintaining this information is only explicitly required for the duration of the grant, we encourage all prior grantees to maintain contact with our office. Please send changes in contact information to sbir@nifa.usda.gov and include the proposal and grant number for all projects to which the change applies.

USDA SBIR Staff encourages all grantees to review the terms and conditions that were provided in the grant paperwork. Within the terms and conditions are the requirements for completing your grant, including deliverables and how funding is disbursed. If you cannot locate the terms and conditions in your package you can download a copy at the Grantee Resources page.

Proper acknowledgement of NIFA funding in published manuscripts, presentations, and news releases is critical for the success of the USDA 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 (SBIR) program of the USDA National Institute for 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, as well as work that was supported through our program. This acknowledgement is beneficial for both the USDA SBIR program and the companies with whom we partner.

The USDA SBIR program has partnered with Larta Institute, a premier commercialization assistance organization, to develop and implement the 2010 USDA-Commercialization Assistance Training Program (USDA-CATP) for Phase II projects.  If your company enrolled in the program you will receive correspondence from Larta and the USDA SBIR office regarding the upcoming Webinar training.  Space is limited for these training seminars so plan to RSVP early.

*Please note: Only USDA SBIR Phase II companies that enrolled in the Phase II CATP are eligible to attend these important seminars*

The 2011 Ag Innovation Showcase (www.agshowcase.com) is a distinguished world-class gathering of key players in the agriculture sector including industry figures, emerging innovators, investors, and Ag leaders. The Showcase also offers a platform for dialogue, discussion, and deal making in sectors including ag-bio, food production, biofuels, sustainable materials, bio-based products, farming technologies, and animal health.
The two-day conference will include opportunities to:

  • Highlight up-and-coming entrepreneurial companies with solutions to the most pressing challenges facing agriculture
  • Originate strategic deals, partnering opportunities, and collaborative business ventures between participants
  • Connect a prime network of entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and investors in the ag space

By bringing together commercially viable innovations with a prime network of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, the event is a catalyst for new funding strategic partnering, and licensing opportunities.
For more information, visit the event's website at www.agshowcase.com.

Dr. Charles Cleland will be attending the New England SBIR Regional meeting hosted by the Maine Technology Institute, Northport, Maine June 23, 2011.  For more details about the meeting go to http://www.mainetechnology.org.


Dr. Charles Cleland
8.1 Forests and Related Resources
8.4 Soil and Water Resources
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. Suresh 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 USDA SBIR staff encourages feedback concerning this newsletter and, more broadly, the administration of the USDA SBIR program. We are committed to being responsive to the needs of applicants to the program and to those companies who have received USDA SBIR grants. Please send comments to sbir@nifa.usda.gov or call (202) 401-4995.


To receive email notification of future USDA 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.