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CSREES Update - February 27, 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.


  • Administrator Hosts eXtension Roll-out Ceremony
  • Bahn Delivers Keynote Speech to Leaders of Agricultural Economics
  • Grants.gov Updates PureEdge Policy Change
  • Submitting Materials to the National Directory of 4–Materials
  • America Saves Week Underway
  • Larew Begins Detail with State Department
  • Registration Open for SARE’s 20th Anniversary Conference
  • Buchanan to Speak at Integrated Competitive Programs Grantsmanship Workshop
  • CSREES News


  • Remarks by Secretary of Agriculture Schafer at the Agricultural Outlook Forum
  • USDA Announces Second Round of Habitat Restoration Projects Under New CRP Practice
  • USDA Raises Agricultural Exports Forecast to Record $101 Billion for 2008
  • USDA Seeks to Award $5 Million in Food Stamp Program Participation Grants


  • 2008 CYFAR Conference Registration Open



CSREES Administrator Colien Hefferan hosted the roll-out ceremony February 21 to launch eXtension at the 2008 Agricultural Outlook Forum, in Arlington, VA.  eXtension provides objective and research-based information and learning opportunities that help people improve their lives. eXtension is an educational partnership of 74 universities in the United States.

Resource areas on the eXtension Web site include community, disaster issues, family, farm, pest management, and youth.  The site also contains News, Answers, Calendar, and Self Learning sections.  The Answers section contains an “Ask the Expert” feature for hard-to-find information.

Henry "JH" Bahn, national program leader for agricultural markets and trade, presented the keynote address at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) meeting in Dallas, TX, on February 5.  The title of his presentation was "Financing the Economics Research Portfolio."  SAEA fosters the study and understanding of agricultural economics and its applications to problems in the Southern United States; promotes unity and effectiveness of effort among all concerned with those problems; promotes improvement in the professional competence and standards of members; cooperates with other organizations and institutions engaged in similar or related activities; and increases the contribution of agricultural economics to human welfare."

Grants.gov, the source to find and apply for federal government grants, has updated its plans to transition from PureEdge software to Adobe Reader version 8.1.1. Grants.gov’s new plan is to stop making available grant application packages in the PureEdge format on June 1. Further, Grants.gov will no longer accept electronic applications in the PureEdge format as of September 30. This policy updates the previous cutoffs of April 1 and June 30. CSREES is continuing to form its own transition policy.

The new National Directory of 4–H Materials is on the lookout for material from state programs.  The directory is a searchable national database of 4–H educational materials currently available throughout the Cooperative Extension System.  Submitted materials must meet specific criteria.  Visit the directory Web site to access the material submission form.  Contact Nancy Schaff for more information.

Extension is encouraging an estimated 12 million adults and youth in 30 states to catch the savings habit during America Saves Week, February 24–March 2. Among partner organizations working with the Consumer Federation of America, the lead organization for America Saves, extension is expected to encourage the most significant financial action for Americans to build wealth, not debt.  For example, in Hamilton County High School about 1,000 students will enroll as Tennessee Savers. In Leavenworth County, KS, more than 2,000 employees will get “saves” messages. In Florida’s 67 counties, about 5,000 Americans at free tax preparation sites will learn how to save using the split tax refund. At the national level, extension will launch a Web site where extension educators offer unbiased help with financial questions 24-7, 365 days a year. For more information, visit CSREES’ Financial Security in Later Life Web site or contact Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader for Economic and Community Systems.

Hiram Larew, director of International Programs, will serve a 1–2 year detail with U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. During his stay beginning March 10, Larew will help coordinate the U.S. government’s involvement in the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s 2-year stocktaking of trends in sustainable agriculture, rural development, desertification, drought, and Africa. While Larew is on detail, Michael McGirr will serve as acting director for CSREES’ International Programs.

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.

Gale Buchanan, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, will provide opening remarks at the Grantsmanship Workshop March 10-11, in Memphis, TN. The 1890 Region and Florida A&M University are hosting the workshop.  The workshop will cover CSREES Integrated Competitive Programs, focusing on the Section 406 Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Program and opportunities within the National Research Initiative for support of integrated activities. Agency staff will give an overview of CSREES Integrated Competitive Programs and describe how to integrate research, education, and extension in developing and implementing competitive proposals. Experienced project directors will speak on how to successfully design a strong integrated project, write a winning proposal, and implement a successful integrated project. Faculty in research, extension, and academics are encouraged to attend. Visit the Florida A&M Web site for additional details and registration information.

(February 14) – National 4-H Headquarters awarded the title of Program of Distinction to two technology-related 4-H programs that reflect the high quality of 4–H youth development programs occurring in communities across the United States.

TerraPod is both an art-and science-based program at Montana State University that helps teens explore science, engineering and technology through the art of filmmaking.  By creating an original 3-to 5-minute movie on a science or nature topic, youth are able to improve their awareness and understanding of science facts and concepts. 

4-H Tech Wizards is a bilingual, family-supported, after-school program using technology to engage low-income Latino youth in learning basic life and workplace skills. The program, based at Oregon State University, aims to move youth into post-secondary education, productive jobs and careers, and community engagement.  Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view the entire release.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program - Various topic areas

See individual grant program

See individual grant program

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
Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program February 29, 2008 Tim Grosser
Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program March 17, 2008 Saleia Afele-Faamuli
1890 Facilities Grants Program March 28, 2008 P.S. Benepal
Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities -National and Regional AgrAbility Project March 31, 2008 Bradley Rein
National Extension IPM Special Projects Program April 8, 2008 Martin A. Draper
Resident Instruction Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas April 11, 2008 Gregory Smith
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Water Quality Program April 29, 2008 Michael P. O'Neill

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.


(ARLINGTON, VA - February 21) – “…(A)s well as the farm bill, one of the most important things that we in the USDA can do is work to secure a level playing field for U.S. producers who want to participate in the global marketplace. We are continuing to press our case, along with USTR to reopen markets for U.S. beef that have remained closed to us. And we're going to be working with Congress to win approval this year of the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. In that effort, I'm leading a delegation of members of Congress to Colombia here in just a few weeks. And we're trying to understand the importance of these free trade agreements and how they affect the economic well-being of the agriculture community.”  Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.

(ATLANTA, GA, February 21) – Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced that USDA has approved the second round of conservation projects under the new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice titled "State Acres For wildlife Enhancement," or SAFE. USDA unveiled 30 SAFE projects that will benefit threatened, endangered and other high-priority species in 16 states covering up to 160,100 acres.

"These habitat restoration projects represent the best of President Bush's Cooperative Conservation Initiative because they assist farmers and ranchers to voluntarily conserve habitat across our great nation to help a wide range of wildlife which have the greatest need," said Schafer. "Because SAFE helps marginal, ecologically sensitive acreage, prime cropland can remain in production at a time when commodity prices are high."  Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.

(WASHINGTON, DC, February 21) – At the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Outlook Forum, Secretary Ed Schafer announced that U.S. agricultural exports are forecast to reach a record $101 billion for fiscal year 2008, up $10 billion from November's forecast and an unprecedented $19 billion above 2007.

This latest forecast builds off unprecedented consecutive year to year record exports since 2004. Higher wheat, coarse grain, and soybean prices account for just over half of the revision since November. Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.

(WASHINGTON, February 14) – Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced that USDA will offer $5 million in grants to improve participation in food stamps for those who are eligible, but for a variety of reasons do not receive the help intended for them.

"Nationally, about 65 percent of all those who are eligible for food stamp benefits are currently participating in the program," said Schafer. "Yet fewer than 31 percent of the elderly and 50 percent of Hispanic families who are eligible for food stamps are actually participating."

The deadline to submit grant applications is May 15, 2008. This year's grants are subject to availability of funds.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.


Registration is open for the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Program (CYFAR) 2008 Conference, May 7–9 at the Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX.  Visit the CYFAR 2008 Conference Web site for a conference agenda and program; to register for the conference, pre-conference, post-conference, and military tours; or to make hotel reservations.

An exciting agenda of keynotes, research presentations, workshops, program showcases, and interact sessions awaits participants.  A 4-H Military Partnerships track, which includes visits to youth programs on installations and a post conference, is also on the agenda.  There are special sessions for teen participants and a hands-on playground-building experience right in San Antonio.  Contact Sharon Wright, CSREES national program leader and CYFAR grant program manager, for more information.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Scott Elliott. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for March 12, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by March 5, 2008.

Editor: Scott Elliott, writer-editor, CSREES Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact him at selliott@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.