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CSREES Update - May 7, 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.


  • From the Administrator
  • Deputy Administrator Position for Competitive Programs Open
  • June CSREES Reporting Web Conference
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Schafer Announces Purchases of Up to $50 Million in Pork Products
  • Schafer Recognizes Work of USDA Advisors Who Served In Afghanistan and Iraq


  • MSU Appoints Interim CES Director
  • SDSU Appoints Associate Dean/CES Director

Awards and Recognition

  • FRA Presents 2008 Technical Writing Award



CSREES is celebrating Public Service Recognition Week, May 5–11, 2008. As we highlight the services the federal government provides to citizens, I would like to thank you, our land-grant partners, for your services in the areas of research, education, and extension. Together we are helping secure a brighter future as we work to solve important issues affecting food and agriculture.

Our partnership with the Land-Grant University System is integral to the mission of CSREES to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities. The advanced research, educational technologies, and extension programs for which we provide support—and you deliver—empower people and communities both here and around the world to solve problems and improve their lives on the local level.

Because of your service, countless citizens are seeing improvements in their lives. Research and extension efforts are helping to find the cause of food contamination and reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses across the country. Families across the nation are learning to make healthy food choices. Researchers are investigating new methods to strengthen our bioeconomy through sustainable agricultural systems. The work of our partnership also is leading to improved environmental quality. These are just a few of the countless examples of how you are helping to make a difference.

Public Service Recognition Week, celebrated the first Monday through Sunday in May since 1985, is a time set aside each year to honor the men and women who serve America as federal, state, and local government employees. Throughout the nation and around the world, public employees use the week to educate citizens about the many ways in which government serves the people and how government services make life better for all of us.

Please join with us in celebrating and honoring the achievements of all our public service employees.

Colien Hefferan

The deputy administrator position for Competitive Programs (CSREES vacancy announcement number CSREES:SES:08-10) is now open. Application and supplemental information must arrive at the address shown in the announcement by the June 10, 2008, closing date. A copy of the vacancy announcement is available on the Office of Personnel Management Web site. Contact Betty Lou Gilliland for more information about the position. For information on the application process, contact Deborah Crump on 301-504-1448 or by e-mail.

The 3rd CSREES Reporting Web Conference is June 12, 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 June 12 conference are:

  • The Leadership Management Dashboard: What CSREES is doing with the data you provide?
  • Introduction to CSREES Standard Project Reporting.

To register, send an e-mail with your name, title, and institution to rwc@csrees.usda.gov by June 5. 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/66ufcb 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.

  • CSREES released the latest episode of Partners Video Magazine titled The Science of Small, a 30-minute exploration into the groundbreaking world of nanotechnology. From revealing harmful bacteria and germs with a simple swipe of a cloth to growing new skin through the use of corn protein, researchers are using nanotechnology to make advancements in vast array of fields, including human health and the environment.
    The Science of Small features four research projects funded by CSREES at Cornell University and the University of Illinois. The four segments are:

    • Super Cloth: Using nanotechnology, Cornell scientists created a fabric that can detect biohazards, such as E. coli and other pathogens.

    • Disease Detectors: Scientists have developed nanoscale biosensors that can help detect diseases on farms and in hospitals.

    • New Skin: Scientists in Illinois are using corn protein to create new skin and deliver medicine through nanotubes.

    • Following The Flow: Researchers are discovering how nano-scale tracers can uncover the sources of pollution in America's farm fields and waters.

    Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view The Science of Small.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program May 8, 2008 Audrey Trotman
Global Change, Ultraviolet Radiation Monitoring Program May 9, 2008 Daniel Schmoldt
Expert Integrated Pest Management Decision Support System May 12, 2008 H.J. Rick Meyer
Rural Youth Development Grants Program May 21, 2008

Nancy Valentine

Smith-Lever Special Needs Funding May 28, 2008 Dennis Kopp
Critical Agricultural Materials May 30, 2008 Carmela Bailey
Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program June 2, 2008 Shirley Ann Gerrior
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Conservation Effects Assessment Project June 17, 2008 James P. Dobrowolski
Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases June 18, 2008 Gary Sherman

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.


WASHINGTON, May 1, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced USDA's plan to purchase up to $50 million of pork products, which will be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs. "We provide food assistance to one in every five Americans," said Schafer. "We are working to increase benefits due to rising food costs and to ensure we have full funding for our food assistance programs."

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year for distribution by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service for the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the summer food service program, the food distribution program on Indian reservations, the nutrition program for the elderly, the commodity supplemental food program, and the emergency food assistance program. USDA also makes emergency purchases of commodities for distribution to victims of natural disasters. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read Schafer Announces Purchases of Up to $50 Million in Pork Products.

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today recognized the efforts of nearly 60 USDA employees who volunteered to serve as agriculture advisors in Afghanistan and Iraq. "It is an honor for me to recognize the brave and devoted USDA employees for their tremendous assistance to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq," said Schafer.
USDA agriculture advisors began serving in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003. Staff have served on Provincial Reconstruction Teams, a 60-100 person military unit, as advisors to the national governments of Afghanistan or Iraq, and as Foreign Service Officers stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Their goal has been to help Afghanistan and Iraq rebuild these agricultural sectors by planning and implementing reconstruction and agricultural development projects. Projects vary depending on the agricultural needs of the area, but can range from improving food and animal production and marketing systems to veterinary infrastructure, soil and water conservation, and reclamation programs. Advisors to the national government help to build capacity of ministry officials and collaborate with ministry staff to develop long-term strategies for agricultural development. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read Schafer Recognizes Work of USDA Advisors Who Served in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Melissa J. Mixon is the new interim director for the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) at Mississippi State University (MSU), Mississippi State, MS, effective April 1.

Mixon earned a B.S. in food, nutrition, and institution management from the University of Alabama in 1980; an M.S. in foods and nutrition from the University of Alabama in 1983; and her Ph.D. in nutrition from MSU in 1990.  She will also serve as MSU’s interim vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine.

Latif Lighari was appointed associate dean/director of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University (SDSU), effective May 1. 

Lighari earned a B.S. in agricultural engineering in Pakistan; his M.S. was in agricultural extension with a minor in rural sociology from Sindh Agricultural University, Pakistan; he also has a B.S. in general agriculture and his Ph.D. in agricultural education, with a minor in extension education, from the University of Missouri–Columbia. His recent experience was the associate director/associate administrator, Cooperative Extension Program, Tennessee State University. You can reach him at 605-688-4792 or by e-mail.


The Forest Resources Association (FRA) presented its 2008 Technical Writing Award to Joel Cathey, Keysville, VA, Ontario Hardwood Company; and Dan Goerlich, Virginia Cooperative Extension, at FRA’s April 13 annual awards luncheon at Myrtle Beach, SC. Cathey and Goerlich’s technical release, Log Grading and Merchandising Workshop, describes the results of a workshop to improve the merchandising of hardwood logs in Virginia. It was developed following a 2002 Virginia Tech study revealing that loggers lose an average of 20.7 percent of value due to undercut, overcut, and improper merchandising in the woods. Single copies of the winning publication are available free from FRA at 301-838-9385. Requests should refer to stock number 06-R-24.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for May 21, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by May 14, 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.