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CSREES Update - January 16, 2008

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.


  • Suit Retires
  • Ferrari Accepts F4-HN IPA Assignment
  • Elrod Joins F4-HN
  • Jochum Joins Competitive Programs
  • February CSREES Reporting Web Conference 
    Approaches for Submitting Via Grants.gov Applications
  • National Directory of 4-H Educational Materials
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Conner Names Members to the National Potato Promotion Board
  • Conner Names Members to the National Peanut Board
  • Conner Names Cotton Board Members
  • Statement by Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on the Full Implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • USDA Issues Disaster Payments for Crop, Livestock and Feed Losses
  • USDA Takes Another Step Towards Advancing Animal Disease Traceability in the United States
  • USDA Announces More Than $6.2 Million for Rural Community Development Initiatives  


  • Researchers Unmask How Harmful Soybean Parasites Operate
  • Miller Selected as Director, Cooperative Extension Service, West Virginia University
  • Richards Named Interim Dean of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Administrator at Prairie View A&M University
  • 2008 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference
  • Registration Open for SARE's 20th Anniversary Conference
  • PMN Announces "Focus on Soybean"



Sandra Suit retired on January 3.  She had 37 years of federal government service, of which nearly 17 years were in the CSREES (and former Cooperative State Research Service) Budget Office. While here, she worked on almost all aspects of the formulation, presentation and justification, and execution of the CSREES budget. Best wishes to Sandy for a very happy retirement.

Dr. Theresa M. Ferrari, from the Ohio State University, will begin a 1-year assignment under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) to work with the 4-H Military Partnership programs in National 4-H Headquarters.  Theresa is an associate professor and extension specialist, 4-H Youth Development at Ohio State, and has served as project director for the OH Operation: Military Kids grant and has built strong working relationships with Air Force and National Guard staffs in Ohio.

Ferrari will work directly with Sharon Wright, national program leader for CYFAR and 4-H Military Partnerships.  She will focus on providing support and technical assistance to state 4-H Military partnership programs, and supporting interagency agreements with military partners and cooperative agreements with state 4-H programs.

Brent Elrod joined CSREES’ F4-HN Unit as the new program specialist in Family Science to provide support to national program leaders in the Nutrition and Family Sciences Section. Prior to joining CSREES, he served as program director with Generations United (GU), where he administered Seniors for Kids, a campaign engaging seniors in support of high quality early learning for children. In addition, he managed GU’s Web site and online resource center, and coordinated GU's biennial international conference.  

Elrod has over 25 years of experience developing and leading programs related to civic engagement, strengthening grandfamilies, family safety and preservation, child custody, and substance abuse prevention. 

Before moving to Washington, DC, in 2004, Brent was the statewide coordinator for the Florida Kinship Center at the University of South Florida. His degrees include a master of theological letters and a bachelor of social work.

Gera Jochum joins Competitive Programs as a program specialist to provide support to national program leaders for the NRI Plant Biology, Plant Biosecurity, and Plan Genome programs.  Previously, Jochum was at the National Science Foundation.  Jochum completed a master of science degree at West Virginia University in ecology and evolutionary biology.

CSREES, in partnership with Texas A&M University, begins a bi-monthly CSREES Reporting Web Conference Series in February 2008. This series originated from requests for more information on various topics identified at the 2007 CSREES Planning and Accountability Mini-Conference.

The first conference will be February 14, from 2-4 p.m. (Eastern), covering the following topics:

  • How CSREES Uses Your Reporting and What It Needs for Outcomes
  • One Solution Overview and Transition Standard Report

Future topics for the series may include:

  • Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act (AREERA);
  • Plans of Work (POW);
  • Annual Reports;
  • One Solution;
  • CRIS (soon to become CSREES Information System (CIS)); and
  • Outcome reporting. 

Each bi-monthly Web conference will cover two, 1-hour topics, usually 1 hour on software or report formats and 1 hour on content quality guidance. Half of each session will be reserved for answering questions. 

Conferences are scheduled for the second Thursday of even months from 2 to 4 p.m. (Eastern).

Go to the Reporting Web Conference Web site at www.csrees.usda.gov/rwc to register for the conference and for further information.

Grants.gov provides applicants with options when it comes to submitting applications. An applicant organization must determine how best to submit its application(s) to CSREES from the three options below. 

  • Grants.gov Forms-based Submission
    Organizations using forms-based submission rely on the PureEdge forms viewer provided free of charge by Grants.gov. Grants.gov recently transitioned to Adobe forms; however, CSREES is in the process of transitioning and testing those forms.

  • System-to-System
    Organizations desiring a system-to-system approach can work with Grants.gov to develop their own data exchange system (XML datastream).

  • Service Provider
    Applicant organizations or individuals may choose to establish an agreement with an established commercial company (known as a service provider) that has a system-to-system interface with Grants.gov to submit applications on their behalf. Service providers offer a wide range of platform independent services—from low-cost, single transaction options through full scale, end-to-end grants management solutions. These solutions are an alternative to using Grants.gov’s forms-based approach and offer many benefits. For information, click on the links below.


Disclaimer Note: Information contained on service providers neither constitutes nor should be inferred to be an endorsement or recommendation by CSREES.
For more up-to-date information on their readiness, please contact them directly.

Provider Name

Company Website

Cayuse Inc.


Click Commerce


Clinical Tools


eRA Software Systems


Formatta Corp


iMedRIS Data Corporation


InfoEd International


Research & Management Systems (RAMS)


SciMed Solutions



One of the priority outcomes of last June’s National 4-H Curriculum Summit was the creation of a National Directory of 4-H Educational Materials.

This directory is now online at www.4-hdirectory.org.  It is a searchable national database directory of 4-H educational materials currently available throughout the Cooperative Extension System.  It will include National 4-H curriculum, state curriculum, supplementary materials, and guides, all created within the Land-Grant University System and intended either for a youth audience or for adults working with youth. 

The goal is to have the full launch on April 1, with materials from all states or programs.  Instructions on how to submit materials to the directory will be sent in 2 weeks.  Surf the site now to learn about the categories of educational materials and how the database is set up.

Thanks to the New York 4-H program at Cornell for sharing their state directory, which made creation of the national directory much easier. Contact Nancy Schaff for more information.



Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program - Various topic areas

See individual grant program

See individual grant program

International Science and Education Competitive Grants Program

January 17,

Hiram Larew

Education Challenge, Higher Ed, HEP

February 1,

Gregory Smith

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

February 8, 2008

Irma Lawrence

Capacity Building Grants Program: 1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity Building Grants Program February 15, 2008 Ali I Mohamed

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program

February 19, 2008 Saleia Afele-Faamuli
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Integrated Pest Management Methyl Bromide Transitions Program February 22, 2008 William Hoffman

Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 Program

February 22, 2008

Joan Gill

Community Food Projects February 25, 2008 Elizabeth Tuckermanty
Biotechnology Risk Assessment February 28, 2008 Daniel Jones
Crops At Risk, ICGP February 29, 2008 H.J. Rick Meyer
Risk Avoidance, Mitigation, ICGP February 29, 2008 Robert Nowierski
Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program March 17, 2008 Saleia Afele-Faamuli

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.


On January 7, Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner appointed 35 producer members and one public member to serve on the National Potato Promotion Board for 3-year terms beginning March 1, 2008, and ending on Feb. 28, 2011. In addition, another member has been appointed to fill a vacancy for a term of office beginning immediately and ending on Feb. 28, 2009. The Potato Board administers an industry-funded national research and promotion program to increase U.S. exports and domestic potato consumption.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on January 3 reappointed one member and one alternate member to serve on the National Peanut Board.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on January 3 announced the appointment of 17 members and 17 alternate members to the Cotton Board, as well as one vacant alternate member position in Mississippi created by a resignation.  The cotton research and promotion program is designed to advance the position of cotton in the marketplace.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

“As of January 1, 2008, the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is now fully implemented, opening an historic new chapter in one of the most successful trade agreements in our history. Since its inception in 1994, NAFTA has been a remarkable success story for all three partners. It has contributed to significant increases in agricultural trade and investment between the United States, Canada, and Mexico and has benefited farmers, ranchers, and consumers throughout North America.”  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read Acting Secretary Conner’s full comments.

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner announced on December 19 that USDA will begin issuing payments to tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers across the country who suffered losses because of natural disasters.

“Numerous agricultural producers suffered financial hardships in recent years because of floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and other weather-related disasters,” Conner said. “These funds will provide assistance to producers affected by these disasters.”

Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Traceability is the key to protecting animal health and marketability. In order to respond quickly and effectively to an animal disease event (whether it is a single incident or a full-scale outbreak), animal health officials need to know which animals are involved, where they are located, and what other animals might have been exposed. The sooner reliable data is available, affected animals can be located, appropriate response measures can be established, and disease spread can be halted.

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS), developed in partnership with State animal health authorities, industry and USDA, will facilitate progress towards improved traceability. NAIS is a state-of-the-art system that cuts across species and extends the benefits of animal identification and disease tracing beyond livestock participating in a particular disease program.

Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Note:  An Extension - NAIS Resource Center, specifically created for extension educators, is available at http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/extension/.

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on December 17 announced the selection of 38 organizations in 23 states to receive more than $6.2 million in grants to support rural economic development efforts. The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative Program.

"These funds support USDA's partnership with rural America. In Wisconsin, for example, workshop training will assist federally recognized tribes in their ongoing efforts to provide healthy, energy efficient affordable housing for their families," Conner said. "This 'green affordable housing initiative' is an excellent example of how rural community leaders are investing in the future of their community."

Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


Cyst nematodes are menacing, microscopic roundworms that infect and feed on the root cells of many important agricultural crops. One species of cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, feeds on soybean crops, resulting in up to $1 billion in crop loss in the United States each year. Recent work by scientists at the University of Missouri and Iowa State University is featured on the cover of the March issue of the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. The results from their studies may lead to more effective management tools to combat the agricultural pest and protect this vital U.S. crop. CSREES funded the research.  Visit the CSREES Newsroom for more information.

David E. Miller has been selected and appointed director of the Cooperative Extension Service at West Virginia University, effective July 1.

Miller earned a bachelor of science in physical education and social studies from Fairmont State College and a master of education in administration from the University of Virginia.  He previously served as the executive officer for government and community relations for the University of West Virginia.

Dr. Freddie L. Richards, professor in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Human Ecology and director of the Institute for International AgriBusiness Studies, has been named interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences and interim administrator of the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University, effective December 1, 2007.


The 2008 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference is April 1–2, 2008, in Oklahoma City, OK, with a pre-conference seminar scheduled March 31. The number of women either taking over as the principal operator or beginning new farming and ranching enterprises continues to increase. Educators are seeing a demand for specialized farm management and risk management training focusing on the woman owner/operator.

The 2008 conference brings together private- and public-sector educators, crop insurance agents, lenders, and other agricultural professionals who are involved in outreach education, to share ongoing and emerging successful risk management education efforts directed toward women involved in production agriculture. Conference participants will learn about educational efforts which assist women producers and their families effectively manage financial, production, marketing, legal, and human resource risks associated with agricultural businesses. The pre-conference seminar focuses on agricultural law and will include presentations concerning liabilities associated with farming and ranching operations, estate planning and farm succession, and a session designed to assist those working with farmers and ranchers in designing and executing agricultural legal education activities. Presentations and poster sessions will be offered. Visit the conference Web site for additional information. Contact Janie Hipp, CSREES national program leader for Risk Management Education/Farm Financial Management, in the Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information.

Registration is open for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (SARE) 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference, March 25–27, 2008, in Kansas City, MO. Tap into 20 years of groundbreaking SARE-funded research, experience, and innovations. The complete schedule, including details on breakout sessions and tours, along with a link to online registration is available on the conference Web site. Exhibitor registrations must be submitted via registration form and cannot be made online. Exhibits will be available for nonprofit entities only. Space is very limited, so act quickly.

Plant Management Network announces its next-generation resource for crop management professionals, serving researchers, extension personnel, growers, consultants, and students.Focus on Soybean is the first in a series of topics targeting the production of specific crops. The central feature of each focus topic will be educational Webcasts presented by recognized experts in crop production and protection. A brief presentation introducing Focus on Soybean and its Webcasts can be viewed on the soybean focus page. Focus on Soybean currently provides 4.5 hours of audio webcasts in 11 presentations with others in the making. Through this and future focus topics on other crops, PMN provides a centralized portal for credible information serving specific commodities. In addition to the Webcasts, focus pages also include search engines for related journal articles, extension publications, images, and other Web-based resources. Focus on Soybean is partially funded by PMN’s partners in the soybean industry.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for January 30, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by January 23, 2008.

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.