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CSREES Update - March 26, 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.


  • April CSREES Reporting Web Conference
  • CP Announces Interim Deputy Administrator and Integrated Programs Director
  • New Program Specialist for Animal Protection
  • National 4-H Headquarters and FWS Award National Wildlife Stewards
  • EFNEP Holds 2008 Conference
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Schafer Announces Conservation Security Program Sign-Up 
  • USDA at Work for Agriculture in Iraq – Fact Sheet


  • New Guidebook for Small Meat Processing Plants
  • ipmPIPE Featured as New PMN Webcast


  • Seeking Proposals for Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium



The 2nd CSREES Reporting Web Conference is Thursday, April 10, from 2–4 p.m. (Eastern). 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. Topics for the April 10 conference are:

  • Standard progress report criteria; and

  • Practical, realistic approaches to measuring impacts of basic research.

To register, send an e-mail with your name, title, and institution to rwc@csrees.usda.gov by April 3. To ensure you can access the system, run a system check before the conference—attendee support the day of the conference will be limited. To check your system, click on the following URL http://tinyurl.com/3ddfzh and then click on “System Check” in the upper black navigation bar and follow the instructions. 

An RWC e-mail list is available with news, schedules, and other issues relating to the series. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to lyris@lyris.csrees.usda.gov. Skip the subject line and in the body of your message type subscribe reportingwc—then hit your send button. Be sure you receive an e-mail confirming your subscription.

CSREES welcomes future conference topics; submit ideas to rwc@csrees.usda.gov  For more information on the series, visit the conference Web site.

Deborah Sheely is serving as the interim deputy administrator for the Competitive Programs Unit (CP). She will direct the competitive programs and staff in the unit, including the National Research Initiative, Small Business Innovation Research, Community Food Projects, the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, and Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants programs. Sheely served as the integrated programs director for the past 5 years.

Gail McLean is serving as the interim integrated programs director for a 90-day period, effective March 1. In addition to her usual programmatic responsibilities, she will assume temporary supervisory responsibility for individuals in the CP Integrated Programs section and will provide leadership for a number of unit activities. McLean currently leads program elements in the NRI Plant Biology program and the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants program and represents USDA on the Interagency Metabolic Engineering Working Group. She previously provided leadership for the Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems (IFAFS) Bioinformatics program and the NRI Plant Genome-Bioinformatics and Database Management program.

The Plant and Animal Systems unit welcomes Lisa Stephens to the Animal Protection team. As the new program specialist, Stephens will work closely with national program leaders Mark Robinson, Gary Sherman, Rich Reynnells, and Peter Johnson to help manage the diverse CSREES’ portfolio of veterinary, animal welfare, and animal health and disease programs. A graduate of the Walter B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences in Philadelphia, she attended North Carolina A&T University, graduating in 1995 with a B.S. degree in animal science. Stephens held several positions prior to joining CSREES in both the public and private sectors as an agricultural commodity meat grader, research laboratory technician, a drug information specialist and, recently as a senior clinical research associate. You can reach Stephens at lstephens@csrees.usda.gov; her office is located in Room 3153 Waterfront Center.

National 4–H Headquarters and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have jointly presented the 2008 Natural Resources Conservation Award to the 4–H Wildlife Stewards program at Oregon State University. They presented the award at the 73rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference today in Phoenix, AZ. Oregon State’s 4–H Wildlife Stewards program trains and supports science education volunteers who work with state science programs in community schools. The innovative program was chosen for its exemplary contributions to wildlife conservation and environmental education. Evaluation results suggest that the 4–H Wildlife Stewards program is destined to become a national model.

The award program began in 1980 to recognize 4–H volunteer leaders who help youth learn about wildlife and fisheries conservation and management. This is the first year for recognizing a Program of Distinction. Programs of Distinction reflect the highest quality 4–H youth development programs across the United States. The National Science Foundation, Wildlife Management Institute, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Boone and Crockett Club, National 4–H Council, and other national and regional environmental education foundations and grant programs also support the program. FWS and CSREES also signed a memorandum of understanding at the awards ceremony to continue their partnership for another 5 years.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) 2008 National Conference was held March 10-13 in Arlington, VA. More than 100 EFNEP coordinators, program staff, administrators, and directors representing 69 land-grant universities from across the United States and the territories met to discuss opportunities and challenges related to this successful nutrition education program. 

Attendees discussed national requirements, generational trends, physical activity, cooperation and collaboration, visibility, and the new EFNEP Nutrition Education Evaluation and Reporting System (NEERS5). Dr. Brian Wansink, executive director for the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), introduced the new MyPyramid Menu Planner. All Conference National Requirements Presentations are posted on the CSREES EFNEP Program Conferences Web site.

  • March 20—CSREES awarded the Johne's Disease Integrated Program $4.8 million in renewed funding of 4 years to control and ultimately eliminate the disease.

    "Johne's is a serious disease affecting large numbers of beef and dairy cattle and accounts for more than $200 million in economic losses," said Gale Buchanan, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. "The continuation of this research will help develop practical solutions to ensure a safe and healthy food supply and stable economy." Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view the entire press release.

  • March 19—Recent studies show that the cost of high-calorie foods are less likely to be affected by inflation and, on average, cost less than low-calorie foods. With obesity plaguing the United States, this trend may hinder low-income families from adopting a low-calorie diet. Funding from CSREES enabled researchers at the University of Washington to examine the price trends of different food choices.

    Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health and Nutrition at the University of Washington, and colleagues checked the prices of 372 foods sold at local supermarkets in the Seattle area and compared the prices with calorie density. High-calorie foods included items like peanut butter and granola, while the lowest-calorie foods were mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. The researchers found the price of calorie-dense food was less likely to rise as a result of inflation. During the 2-year study, the price of high-calorie food decreased by 1.8 percent, whereas the price of low-calorie foods increased by 19.5 percent. Considering most bargain shoppers are trying to stretch their incomes as far as possible, the findings may help explain why the highest rates of obesity are among people in lower-income groups. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view the entire press release.

  • March 18—USDA is awarding $5 million to 11 universities to conduct air quality projects aimed at developing and evaluating emission control technologies that will lead to developing emission data for agriculture production practices and mitigation techniques.

    The grants program funds research to increase knowledge about the transport, measurement, and control of odor, gases, and particulate matter. The education and outreach component of the program includes transferring technologies and best practices to producers and the regulatory community to lessen the production and transport of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The awards are administered by CSREES through the National Research Initiative (NRI) Air Quality competitive grants program. In the past 5 years, the CSREES air quality program has awarded more than $20 million in grants. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view awardees listing and the entire press release.

  • March 17—Nature is dynamic and complex, and the intrusion of human society makes this complex web of interactions even more difficult to understand and manage. The BEHAVE program (Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management) breaks down the walls between society and the environment and, in the process, allows land managers to develop more effective management plans to benefit human society and the environment.

    With funding from the CSREES Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems program, Fred Provenza and his team at Utah State University are providing insight into how animal behavior and landscape ecology are linked. This research shows the relationship between the health of people in a community and that of the ecosystems we inhabit, from soil and water through plants, herbivores and people. Their efforts are improving the economic viability and ecological integrity of pasture- and range-based enterprises on privately and federally managed landscapes. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view the entire press release.

  • March 13—Researchers in Michigan, Delaware, and Texas are using the chicken genome sequence to develop vaccines to combat Marek's disease, a highly contagious, cancer-causing viral disease that costs the poultry industry $1 billion a year worldwide. CSREES provided funding for this project.

    Jerry Dodgson and colleagues at Michigan State University, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Avian Disease and Oncology Lab, the University of Delaware, and Texas A&M University began by assembling the physical map of the chicken genome using DNA clones that describe all or nearly all of the genes in the chicken. The researchers then began to identify individual genes whose levels went up or down after infection by Marek's disease virus (MDV). To do so, they used a 'gene chip' with approximately 13,000 gene sequences (about half the chicken genes) to assay levels of gene products before and after MDV infection and in chicken lines that were highly susceptible versus lines that were more resistant. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view the entire press release.


Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


1890 Facilities Grants Program March 28, 2008 P.S. Benepal
Interregional Research Project #4 Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4) March 31, 2008 Monte Johnson
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
Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities -National and Regional AgrAbility Project, Smith-Lever 3B, 3C, and 3D Programs April 24, 2008 Bradley Rein
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Water Quality Program April 29, 2008 Michael P. O'Neill
Youth Farm Safety and Education Certification Program May 1, 2008 Bradley Rein
Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program May 8, 2008 Audrey Trotman

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.


Sign-Up Begins April 18 in 51 Watersheds Nationwide

WASHINGTON, March 19—Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced a sign-up for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) that will be available starting on April 18 to approximately 64,000 potentially eligible farms and ranches in 51 watersheds covering more than 23.7 million acres.

"As President Bush has said, those who depend on the land to make a living are the best stewards of the land," said Schafer. "Since the first sign-up in 2004, CSP has offered payments for enhancing natural resources, rewarding those farmers and ranchers who are model conservationists, and providing incentives for other producers to achieve those same high standards of conservation in agriculture." Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire press release.

March 2008—Agriculture serves as the foundation on which many countries build their economies. For Iraq, agriculture has traditionally been the second largest employer, after the oil sector. Agriculture is the second largest component of Iraq's Gross Domestic Product and an important part of the social structure of rural communities. USDA is helping Iraq revitalize its agricultural sector through a variety of activities. CSREES and a consortium of U.S. land-grant universities are responsible for implementing the Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization (IAER) project. This project supports Iraq to restore, expand, and sustain a private-sector-driven Iraqi agricultural sector. This is just a portion of what CSREES and other USDA agencies are doing in support of Iraqi agriculture.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire fact sheet.


The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) recently released the Iowa Meat Processors' Resource Guidebook: A Guide to Building, Upgrading or Expanding a Small Meat Processing Facility. The book is a result of the Small Meat Processors Working Group’s discussions, research, and hands-on work with individual meat processors. The working group formed in response to the declining number of small meat processing plants in Iowa. Their guidebook examines areas where small meat processing plants struggle: business planning and feasibility, financing and financial assistance, plant design, plant construction, labor, and government rules and regulations. The book is available in a free PDF format through the NCRCRD Web site. Contact Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader for Economic and Community Systems, or Cornelia Flora, director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, for more information.

Joining the growing number of Webcasts on the Plant Management Network's Focus on Soybean is a new presentation describing the Integrated Pest Management Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (ipmPIPE). Dr. Donald Hershman, extension plant pathologist at the University of Kentucky, presents “The ipmPIPE: A New Tool for Enhancing IPM Use in Soybean.” The ipmPIPE now involves monitoring and reporting pests of soybean and various legume crops, specifically soybean aphid and soybean rust, with other components in development. Advances of the ipmPIPE over the existing IPM template include easy stakeholder access to pest incidence and distribution data, disease forecasting, and state-specific control recommendations, through a public Web site, on a near-real time basis.


The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) is hosting the first annual Land Grant Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (Land Grant YES) June 4-6, at the Days Inn Penn State, in State College, PA. Land Grant YES will bring educators and program leaders together to discuss youth entrepreneurship best practices, research findings, and future program development. The goals are to develop a formal workgroup, frame a “breakthrough” project in the area of youth entrepreneurship, and to add value to the youth component of the eXtension Community of Practice on Entrepreneurs & Their Communities.

The Land Grant YES 2008 Executive Committee welcomes presentations proposals on applied research, curriculum overviews and outcomes, and program overviews and outcomes. Abstracts are due April 22 and should be no more than 350 words. Abstracts should include the presentation title, author names, affiliations, geographic locations, and a clear description of the topic, key research questions or program/curriculum objectives, and substantive results expected. Submit abstracts to the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development at nercrd@psu.edu or surface mail to 7 Armsby Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802-5602. Participants will be notified May 1 if their abstracts were accepted. Accepted symposium presentations will be published in a peer reviewed, Web-based proceedings. Contact Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader for Economic and Community Systems, or Stephan Goetz, director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, for more information.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for April 9, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by April 2, 2008.

Editor: Judy Rude, writer-editor, CSREES Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact him 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.