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CSREES Update - June 13, 2007

CSREES Update, from the Office of the Administrator, is a biweekly newsletter for research, education, and extension partners at land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions.


  • Former CSREES Administrator Bob Robinson Dies
  • Miller to Retire July 3
  • 2007 Plan of Work Summary Report
  • Rangeland Research RFA Issued
  • 2007 AITC National Teacher Awards
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Johanns Announces Smith as ERS Administrator
  • Food Stamp Program Reaching More of the Nation's Neediest Families and Children


  • WVU Names New Associate Provost for Extension and Public Service
  • Multistate Regional Project Provides Economic Valuations for Horticultural Industry
  • UGA Extension Announces the Robert and Jean Fowler Endowed 4-H Agent
  • New Report Highlights Community Development by Tribal and Native-serving Colleges
  • New Rural Realities Focuses on the Role of Broadband Services in Rural Economic Development


  • Journal of Extension Seeks Reviewers

Awards and Recognition

  • Larew Receives AIARD Distinguished Service Award



Bob Robinson (age 64) passed away on June 7, 2007, in Charlottesville, VA. Bob served as the CSREES Administrator for 2 years beginning in January 1996. Prior to joining CSREES, he had worked for USDA's Economic Research Service. Bob served on the faculty of Clemson University from 1972 to 1986. In his last position at Clemson, he was head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.

Condolences may be sent to Bob's wife Barbara at 107 Green Spring Road, Locust Grove, VA 22508. The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at the Lake of the Woods Church in Locust Grove, VA. Johnson Funeral Home in Locust Grove is handling the arrangements. The family has chosen the charity Global Teen Challenge, P.O. Box 890, Locust Grove, VA 22508 if you would like to contribute in Bob's memory. Their Web site is: http://www.globaltc.org/.

Larry R. Miller, special assistant to the administrator, will retire July 3. Miller leaves federal service after serving nearly 38 years at USDA, including the Agricultural Research Service, the Science and Education Administration, the Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the Cooperative State Research Service. He served as the CSREES acting associate administrator from November 2005 to February 2007. Miller was the national program leader for meat and animal sciences in the Plant and Animal Systems unit from 1988 to 2005. After retirement Miller will become director of the DISCOVER conferences supported by the American Dairy Science Association.

The 2007 Plan of Work (POW) Summary Report is available on the CSREES AREERA POW Web page. This summary report is the first such national report based on the first POW submitted in the new format.  This report not only opens a window on the important issues that states plan to address over the next 5 years, it gives the CSREES land-grant partnership information to examine the questions of balance and direction as a unified system. It is based only on the 2007-2011 POW, opens the window and documents the projected allocation effort among planned programs, general topic areas classified by Knowledge Areas (KAs), and agency portfolios of programs as reported through projected effort. Next year, with the receipt of the first Annual Report in the new format documenting the outputs and outcomes of the research and extension funded programs, the window should be wide open, revealing not only the future allocation of efforts, but also meaningful results from previous efforts.

A new request for applications (RFA) was issued on Grants.gov Web site, June 8, for the Fiscal Year 2007 Rangeland Research Program (RRP). RRP grants are made to improve U.S. rangeland resources and the ecosystem services they provide. The proposal deadline is close of business July 9, 2007, (5 p.m. eastern time). Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.

Contact Charlotte Baer, CSREES national program leader in the Plant and Animal Systems unit, or James P Dobrowolski, CSREES national program leader for Natural Resources and Environment unit for more information.

Five teachers received this year's National Award for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture at the 2007 National Ag in the Classroom (AITC) conference in New Orleans , LA on June 7. They were honored for their dedicated work in promoting agricultural literacy. The five national awardees for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture are:

  • Marie Leonhardt Gardner, River Heights Elementary, River Heights, UT,
  • Kitchka Patrova, Ponce DeLeon Middle Community School, Coral Gables, FL,
  • Donald R. Sprangers, Washington Academy, East Machias, ME,
  • Lynn Strong, Hot Springs Middle School, Hot Springs, AR,
  • Diane J. Swanon, Los Cerritos Elementary School, Long Beach, CA.

Contact Tom Tate, CSREES national program leader or Lindell Williams, AITC program specialist for more information. Visit the AITC Web site to learn more about the program.


Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced June 7 that the Departments of Agriculture and Energy have jointly selected 11 projects for awards totaling $8.3 million for biobased fuels research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

These awards continue a commitment begun in 2006 to conduct fundamental research in biomass genomics that will provide the scientific foundation to facilitate and accelerate the use of woody plant tissue for bioenergy and biofuels. The program was announced at last year's Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance, a conference jointly hosted by the two agencies in St. Louis, MO. The awards are part of a greater research portfolio that will help meet President Bush's goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.

The awards will be made through USDA's CSREES for the National Research Initiative and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in DOE's Office of Science. This second year of competitive fundamental biofuel broadens to projects on maize, cordgrass, rice, switchgrass, sorghum, poplar, and perennial grasses that join the portfolio of research on poplar, alfalfa, sorghum, and wheat. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release and an awardees listing.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program - Various topic areas

See individual grant program

See individual grant program

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program June 29, 2007 Audrey Trotman
Rangeland Research Program July 9, 2007 Charlotte Kirk Baer
Regional Aquaculture Center Program, Section 1475 August 15, 2007 Meryl Broussard


CSREES advertises all of its funding opportunities through "Find Grant Opportunities" on the Grants.gov Web site. This site is searchable and contains summary information on all federal funding opportunities with links to the full announcements. Users can search announcements by topic, funding agency, and date, as well as subscribe to an e-mail notification service based on these parameters.  

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced June 7 the selection of Katherine "Kitty" Smith as administrator of the department's Economic Research Service (ERS). Smith will oversee the agency's program of economic and social science research and analysis. "Kitty Smith has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities as acting administrator, associate administrator, and in other key management positions at ERS," said Johanns in announcing the selection. "I look forward to working with her as the agency administrator." Smith recently served as acting administrator of ERS and has directed the agency's Market and Trade Economics Division and its Resource Economics Division. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

In a report released June 5, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that in 2005, 65 percent of all who were eligible participated in the Food Stamp Program (FSP), compared with 54 percent in 2001. The FSP has grown to serve 9.4 million additional low-income people needing nutrition assistance since 2001.

Participants also received 80 percent of all food stamps available if every eligible person participated. This means that people eligible for higher benefits -- typically those with lower incomes -- were more likely to participate, a good indicator that the program is reaching those most in need. More than 25 percent of food stamp recipients, 6.5 million people, received the maximum benefit for their family. Fewer than 3 percent of the 25 million food stamp recipients in 2005 received the minimum benefit.

USDA's 2007 Farm Bill proposes to improve access to food stamps by excluding college education and retirement savings accounts when determining eligibility for benefits and eliminating the cap on dependent child care expenses. Over the next 10 years, to improve nutrition for all who benefit from nutrition programs, USDA proposes $2.75 billion to purchase fruits and vegetables for all programs and an additional $500 million in fruits and vegetables for USDA school meals programs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

David E. Miller is the new associate provost and director of Extension and Public Service at West Virginia University (WVU) effective July 1. Miller is currently the university's executive officer for government and community relations. He has more than 30 years of experience in agriculture, education, and government relations. He will continue statewide government relations work on behalf of the university in his new role. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and social studies from Fairmont State College and a master's degree in education administration from the University of Virginia . Miller is replacing Dr. Larry Cote, who is leaving the position after more than 10 years to become the founding director of WVU's undergraduate minor in leadership studies.

Green Industry Research Consortium (GIRC), a regional research committee sponsored by the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (SAAESD), has the official designation of Multistate Regional Project S1021. The project is made up of horticulturists and agricultural economists from land-grant universities across the nation, and provides research-based analyses for the large and rapidly expanding U.S. green industry.

Two studies by the consortium were recently published.

The June 2007 issue of Money Magazine highlights a valuation study that focuses on the effect of landscape improvements on home value. Funded in part by the Horticultural Research Institute, researchers from the consortium found that high-quality landscaping adds 5-11 percent to its price.

Another example of the consortium's research appears in the June 2007 (Vol. 6, No. 6) issue of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Dr. Roger Hinson, Louisiana State University, outlines the results from a study he and other consortium members researched on the costs of establishing and operating retail garden centers, particularly regarding capital needs, operating costs, and general procedures for creating and operating such businesses. Contact Patricia McAleer, CSREES project liaison and program specialist in the Economic and Community Services unit, for more information on the project.

Georgia's rural counties have searched for partners to help solve social, economic, and academic issues at home for decades. Jasper County found help in an area philanthropist, Robert Fowler, and a community bank, BB&T.

Robert Fowler is committed to exploring the potential of young people in Georgia . He wanted to open doors for them to have better education, leadership, and citizenship opportunities. He partnered with BB&T Bank, one of the nation's largest community banking companies, to donate $1.2 million to the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Together, they established the Robert and Jean Fowler 4-H Agent Endowment, the first endowed UGA Cooperative Extension county agent in Georgia, and possibly the first ever endowment fund for a county agent in the Cooperative Extension System.

The endowment will fund a UGA Extension 4-H agent to work with youths in Jasper County and the surrounding area. Georgia 4-H serves more than 185,000 Georgia youths in grades 5-12. Visit the UGA Web site to read the full release.

Rebuilding Hope, Reclaiming History and Culture, Restoring Health: Stories of Success from Tribal and Native-serving Colleges was just released by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). It provides a snapshot of how tribally-controlled community colleges make a difference in Indian communities and how Native-serving colleges in Hawaii and Alaska contribute to the growth of assets for Native Hawaiians and Alaskans. This report describes many promising practices and identifies 39 specific examples of how these institutions act as spurs to economic development; pathways to education and careers; places that preserve tradition and culture; and sources of support for tribal members coping with poverty and disease. The institutions highlighted in the report demonstrate the power of community colleges to aid Native people in their quest for a higher quality of life for themselves and the next seven generations. To view the report, visit the NCRCRD Web site. Contact Sally Maggard, national program leader for the Economic and Community Systems unit for more information on the Regional Rural Development Centers Program.

Broadband services will play a key role in building healthy rural communities in the 21st century. Without sufficient business-class broadband penetration, maintaining and attracting new businesses and residents to rural areas will be difficult. This issue of Rural Realities explains that not all broadband services are created equal. Residential services currently available in rural areas are not adequate for businesses that need to compete in a global economy. The research brief also offers policy options for enhancing rural broadband deployment. Rural Realities is a research information series that offers a scientific lens to the critical issues impacting rural people and places. To view this issue, visit the Rural Sociological Society Web site. Contact Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader, Economic and Community Systems unit, or Lionel "Bo" Beaulieu, director of the Southern Rural Development Center and editor of the Rural Realities series for more information.

The Journal of Extension (JOE) is seeking journal article reviewers in nutrition, health, food and food systems, 4-H, and ag economics areas. Many of you have faculty who enjoy and/or need the scholarship opportunity to serve as a reviewer for a journal. You can apply to become a JOE reviewer by sending the name and e-mail address of a reference who can speak to your ability to serve as a reviewer and a file containing your curriculum vitae to JOE Editorial Committee Co-Chair Margaret Miltenberger at m.miltenberger@mail.wvu.edu. Visit the JOE Web site for more details.

Hiram Larew, CSREES' International Programs director, received an Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) Distinguished Service Award at AIARD's annual conference in Washington, DC. The award recognized Larew's contributions to the organization's mission and his work in the area of international agricultural development. AIARD highlighted several career accomplishments, emphasizing recent project initiatives in India and his role in building a stronger relationship between USDA and the land-grant community.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for June 27. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by June 20, 2007.

Editor: Judy Rude, Public Affairs Specialist, CSREES Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her at jrude@csrees.usda.gov.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail message to jrude@csrees.usda.gov. In the body of the message, type: subscribe csrees-update OR unsubscribe csrees-update.

Back issues of CSREES UPDATE are available on the CSREES Web site.

Colien Hefferan, Administrator

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.