HomeAbout UsGrantsFormsNewsroomHelpContact Us
Search NIFA
Advanced Search
Browse by Subject
Agricultural Systems
Animals & Animal Products
Biotechnology & Genomics
Economics & Commerce
Environment & Natural Resources
Families, Youth & Communities
Food, Nutrition & Health
Pest Management
Plants & Plant Products
Technology & Engineering

CSREES Update - June 11, 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.


  • CSREES Anticipates Specialty Crop Research Initiative Funding Opportunity
  • Hunter Named NAREEE Executive Director
  • Sustainable Ag Work Featured in U.S. Botanic Garden Exhibit
  • Webinar on Farm Transitions
  • Agency to Implement New Terms and Conditions List
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program Releases Report on the Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land and Water Resources, and Biodiversity
  • USDA Announces CRP Permitted Use for Livestock Feed Needs
  • USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee to Meet July 9 and 10


  • TSU Announces New Dean
  • ESP Seeks Candidates for Executive Director



Section 7311 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-234) established a specialty crop research and extension initiative to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry. The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) will support the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops and their regions in five legislatively mandated focus areas, including:

1. Research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics;
2. Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators;
3. New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening;
4. Efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing); and
5. Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops, including fresh produce.

As part of this initiative, approximately $27 million in grants will be awarded in Fiscal Year 2008 on a competitive basis for research projects that address the five focus areas.  Priority will be given to projects that:

  • are multistate, multi-institutional, or multidisciplinary; and
  • include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public.


Eligible applicants include federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, state agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.

It is anticipated that the SCRI Request for Applications will be released in July 2008 with a 30-day open period. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to the federal funds requested.  

Before applying, you must complete the Grants.gov registration process, which can take as long as 2 weeks. Please see the Grants.Gov Web site for more information.

Karen Hunter, CSREES program specialist for Plant and Animal Systems, will become executive director for the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEE), effective June 9. The NAREEE Board provides advice to the Secretary of Agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on national priorities and policies related to agricultural research, education, extension, and economics.

CSREES and several USDA agencies collaborated to develop an exhibit for the new summer exhibition at the U.S. Botanic Garden, called One Planet - Ours! Sustainability for the 22nd Century. This year’s exhibition focuses on sustainability—not only how it applies to gardens and the landscape, but also how each of us and our communities can live as if our future depended on it. One Planet - Ours! features the work of USDA’s Sustainable Development Council and projects at the University of Georgia, the Northeast Integrated Pest Management Center, and Penn State University. Visitors can see green roofs and straw bale construction and learn about integrated pest management, solar and wind energy, sustainable landscaping, and more. Tying it all together will be "Cool Globes," an exhibit of more than 40 sculptures of "whole-earth" solutions to the problems of living unsustainably. The exhibit runs from May 24 to October 13, 2008. Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden Web site or contact Bruce Mertz, CSREES program specialist for Natural Resources and Environment, for more information.

CSREES held the first of a biannual series of Webinar meetings on issues relevant to family farms. This Webinar is a component of the newly formed Family Farm Forum, which also includes a newsletter that precedes the Webinar and defines the issues and identifies the programs to be discussed.  Each forum focuses on a topic of importance to family farms and is often identified by stakeholders.

More than 80 people from the land-grant system, community based organizations, and the private sector attended the May 29 Webinar, which focused on farm transitions.  The Webinar encourages participation and interaction among all attendees. While agency staff and partners presented an overview of competitive funding opportunities, participants had equal time for questions and discussions. Four polling questions were included to allow attendees to express their thoughts on the focus of the forum. Participants used the opportunity to interact with the presenters and with each other, ask for clarification, identify new needs and approaches, and share training materials. A transcript of the Webinar will be available on the CSREES Small Farm Program Web page

By group decision, the next forum will focus on how local marketing issues affect family farms. Iowa State University Extension facilitated and supported the Webinar, with additional support from CSREES Competitive Programs (CP) and Economics and Community Systems (ECS) units. Contact Siva Sureshwaran, national program leader for CP, or Patricia McAleer, program specialist for ECS, for more information.

Beginning in July 2008, CSREES will use a new core set of administrative terms and conditions on research and research-related awards, “Research Terms and Conditions,” and agency-specific terms.  These new terms and conditions and all related information, including agency-specific implementation plans and terms and conditions, are be available on the National Science Foundation Web site or the CSREES Web site.


Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


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
Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program July 2, 2008 Elizabeth Tuckermanty
Rangeland Research Program July 7, 2008 Charlotte Kirk Baer
Multicultural Scholars, HEP July 28, 2008 Audrey Trotman
RREA - National Focus Funds Projects July 28, 2008 Eric Norland

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 27, 2008 ­ The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) released "Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 (SAP 4.3): The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States." The CCSP integrates the federal research efforts of 13 agencies on climate and global change. The report is one of the most extensive examinations of climate impacts on U.S. ecosystems. USDA is the lead agency for this report and coordinated its production as part of its commitment to CCSP. The report is posted on the CCSP Web site. Visit the USDA Newsroom to view U.S. Climate Change Science Program Releases Report on the Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land and Water Resources, and Biodiversity.

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced that USDA has authorized certain acreage enrolled under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to be available for hay and forage after the primary nesting season ends for grass-nesting birds.

"This action will provide much needed feed and forage while maintaining the conservation benefits from the nation's premier conservation program," said Schafer. "Eligible farmers and ranchers will be able to plan for harvest of forage after the end of the primary nesting season this summer." More than 24 million acres of land enrolled in CRP will be eligible for this critical feed use program. USDA estimates that this program will make available up to 18 million tons of forage worth $1.2 billion. Visit the USDA Newsroom to view USDA Announces CRP Permitted Use for Livestock Feed Needs.

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2008 – USDA will hold public meetings July 9–10 in Washington, DC, to discuss issues affecting beginning farmers and ranchers. The Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers meetings offer the public an opportunity to hear the committee's deliberations and to comment on issues affecting these farmers and ranchers. Both meetings, which will be held at the Sofitel Lafayette Square Hotel, 806 15th St., NW, will begin at 8 a.m. Visit the USDA Newsroom to view USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee to Meet July 9-10.


Tennessee State University (TSU) appointed Chandra Reddy as the new dean of the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, effective June 1.

As dean, Reddy is charged with creating a new academic vision for the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, managing ongoing operations, the growth of undergraduate and graduate enrollment, and working to reinforce the university’s land-grant mission of instruction, research, and service. Reddy served as dean of Graduate Studies at Alabama A&M University in Normal, AL, from 2001–2006. He received his B.S. degree in agricultural sciences and M.S. degree in agronomy from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, India, and his Ph.D. in agronomy from the University of Florida.

The national extension professional organization, Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), seeks candidates for the position of executive director. The successful candidate will exhibit leadership, management, and organizational skills as well as the technical knowledge required to maintain the national office, support the state organizations, and the national board. The ESP mission is to foster standards of excellence in the extension system and to develop the extension professional and the profession. Applicants are not limited to ESP membership. The position description is available at http://espnational.org. Applications should be sent to Dr. Bonnie D. McGee, chair ESP Executive Director Search Committee by the end of business, December 1, 2008. Applications must be submitted by e-mail in Word or Adobe format, and one hard copy should be mailed to Dr. McGee at J.K. Williams Administration Bldg., Suite 112, 7101 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-7101. Contact either Dr. McGee (979–845–4514) or Linda Cook (352–378–6665) for additional 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 June 25, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by June 18, 2008.

Editor: Judy Rude, writer-editor, 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.