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CSREES Update - June 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.

CSREES

  • From the Administrator
  • Cooper Accepts Presidency of SCSU
  • Interim Deputy Administrator for SERD
  • CSREES and Office of Energy Policy and New Uses Solicit Applications for the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program
  • CSREES Forms Nutrition and Health Committee for Program Guidance and Planning
  • Secretary Launches 4–H Response to America’s Need for Future Scientific Leaders
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • USDA Recognizes Corporations to Promote Nutrition and Fight Obesity
  • USDA's Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Start June 15
  • USDA to Assess Impact of Midwest Flooding on 2008 Crop Acreage
  • USDA Update—Midwest Flood Response and Recovery Assistance and Resources 

Partners

  • Topic Solicitation for Administrative Officers’ Conference

Mailbox

 

Below, I have included the agency’s background information on grant programs that require a nonfederal match. This may be useful as you anticipate the formal request for applications (RFA) for the Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI). We expect to publish this in the next week or so, pending apportionment of funds to the agency to implement the program. The information comes from the standard guidance provided in RFAs for similar programs.

In addition, I am aware of concern regarding our guidance that the difference between a university’s negotiated indirect rate and the legislatively set cap of 22 percent for such rates can not be used as part of the matching requirements of the SCRI awards. The rationale for this is as follows:  If a grant recipient, even though prohibited from directly charging indirect costs to federal funds, could count such funds as part of a matching requirement, the net effect would be no different than if such costs had not been prohibited. In this case, to allow such would be to negate the legislative requirement limiting indirect cost recovery.

CSREES wants as much participation in this program as is feasible and has no desire to impose any limits to that participation. As with all of the programs we manage, we follow federal guidance for the administration of grants and agreements and the specific requirements of the law under which the programs are authorized. I hope this information will help as you plan to address the science and extension needs related to specialty crops through the SCRI.


Colien Hefferan

  

RFA Template for Programs with Indirect Costs and Matching Requirements (including cash contributions and in-kind support from non-Federal sources)


B. Cost Sharing or Matching

The recipient of a grant under the [Insert Program Name] must provide funds or in-kind support from non-Federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to the amount provided by the [Insert Name of program].  There is no provision for waiver of this requirement.

5. SF 424 R&R Budget Fed & Nonfed

Information related to the questions on this form is dealt with in detail in Part V, 6. of the CSREES Grants.gov Application Guide. This form (accompanied by the required Budget Justification attachment (see Field K on the Form)) contains the itemized listing and description of your project’s budget. Applicants must complete one SF 424 (R&R) Budget Fed & Non-Fed Form for each 12-month period, plus a cumulative budget form for the entire project.

(a) Matching. Applications should include written verification of commitments of matching support (including both cash and fair market value of in-kind contributions) from third parties (non-federal sources). Written verification means:

For any third party cash contributions, a separate pledge agreement for each donation, signed by the authorized representative of the donor organization and the applicant organization, which must include: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the donor; (2) the name of the applicant organization; (3) the title of the project for which the donation is made; (4) the dollar amount of the cash donation; and (5) a statement that the donor will pay the cash contribution during the grant period.

The sources and the amount of all matching support from outside the applicant organization should be summarized on a separate page and placed in the application as a part of the Budget Justification attachment (see Field K on the Form SF 424 (R&R) Budget Fed & Non-Fed). All pledge agreements must be included as a PDF attachment.

The value of applicant contributions to the project shall be established in accordance with the applicable cost principles. Applicants should refer to OMB Circulars A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions; A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Tribal Governments; A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations; 2 CFR Part 215, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations (OMB Circular A–110); and the cost principles in the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR 31.2 for further guidance and other requirements relating to matching and allowable costs.

D. Funding Restrictions

CSREES has determined that grant funds awarded under this authority may not be used for the renovation or refurbishment of research or extension space; the purchase or installation of fixed equipment in such space; or the planning, repair, rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of buildings or facilities. [Included in most CSREES RFAs.]

Section 7132 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, amended the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), limiting indirect costs to 22 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 22 percent of total Federal funds awarded. 

The maximum allowed indirect cost of 22 percent may be claimed under the Federal portion of the award, or the maximum allowed indirect cost of 22 percent may be claimed as matching contributions (if no indirect costs are requested). However, the maximum allowed indirect cost of 22 percent may not be claimed on both the Federal portion of the award and as matching contributions (Note: An awardee may, as an example, request 11 percent of indirect costs on both the Federal portion of the award and as matching contributions. Or, an awardee may request any other, similar percentage combination that, when combined, does not exceed the 22 percent maximum indirect cost allowed.) Nevertheless, the total combined percent of requested and contributed matching indirect costs cannot exceed 22 percent.

George Cooper, CSREES deputy administrator for Science and Education Resources Development, is retiring, effective July 14. He is leaving Washington, DC, and moving to South Carolina to become the next president of South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, effective July 16.

Cooper began his USDA career in 1991 as the principal animal nutritionist and strategic planning coordinator for the old Cooperative State Research Service.  He then became a CSREES national program leader in 1994. He has served as deputy administrator for several CSREES units since 1995. Cooper earned his Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois, Urbana; a master’s degree in animal science from Tuskegee University; and a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry from Florida A&M University.

If you wish to send a letter of congratulations to be included in a book of letters, please send them to Rena Bannister. He will receive the book of letters on July 9 at a retirement celebration. Please send letters by express mail, since regular mail is still being screened. Contact Rena Bannister for more information.

Frank Boteler will serve as interim CSREES deputy administrator for Science and Education Resource Development (SERD), effective July 15. SERD includes agency programs in higher education, liaison to minority serving institutions, and international activities.

Boteler joined CSREES in 2005 as deputy administrator for Economic and Community Systems unit, a responsibility he will retain while leading SERD. Previous to joining federal service, he was deputy director of parks for the state of Washington, having held related positions in Idaho and North Carolina. He earned a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University.

Boteler serves as the CSREES representative to the LEAD-21 professional development committee and as agency representative to the Southern Region. As part of his assignment with SERD, Boteler will work with a new National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) Policy Board of Directors committee on emerging issues and future directions.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-234) reauthorizes the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, a competitive grants program to educate governmental and private entities that operate vehicle fleets, other interested entities, and the public about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use. 

CSREES, in cooperation with USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, will solicit applications during July. Approximately $960,000 in grants will be awarded under the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. Eligible applicants will include nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education that have demonstrated knowledge of biodiesel fuel production, use, or distribution, and have demonstrated the ability to conduct educational and technical support programs. The application submission deadline will be in August.

Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process (which may take as long as 2 weeks) before applying. Visit Grants.Gov more information.

Twelve people were selected for membership to the newly formed CSREES Nutrition and Health Committee for Program Guidance and Planning. Each brings professional experience, subject expertise, and interest in service to extension nutrition and health programs. CSREES hopes the committee will better serve nutrition and health programming and outreach efforts. Committee membership includes chairs Melinda Manore, Oregon State University, and Gayle Coleman, University of Wisconsin-Extension; Linda Boeckner, University of Nebraska; Elaine Bowen, West Virginia University; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Rutgers University; Andrew Crocker, Texas A&M University; Mary Fant, Kentucky State University; Robin Orr, University of Illinois; Ninfa Peña-Purcell, Texas A&M University; Sandy Procter, Kansas State University; Ellen Schuster, University of Missouri; and Julia Zee, University of Hawaii. Committee advisors are Shirley Gerrior and Marilyn Swanson, CSREES national program leaders from the Families, 4–­H, and Nutrition unit. The first meeting is October 1, 2008.

On June 18, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer delivered 4–H’s response to America’s need for future scientific leaders on behalf of CSREES National 4–H Headquarters. 4–H has three mission mandate areas, including science, engineering, and technology (SET). In response to the challenges posted in the National Academy of Sciences’ report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm (RAGS), 4–H is launching an initiative to engage 1 million more young people in SET. Components of the plan include “National Youth Science Day” on October 8, during National 4–H Week, which will feature a “National Science Experiment,” a designated science project that will engage youth across the country in a quality, hands-on activity intended to make science fun and accessible. By encouraging more youth to study science, 4–H will help corporate America fulfill its need for a more qualified and diverse workforce. National 4–H Council organized this event with National 4–H Headquarters, 4–H Caucus members, and supporting and nonprofit partners. These partners include Toyota, which announced expansion of a 4–H2O water conservation program to include curriculum and an online, interactive learning experience that connects youth to water conservation issues. One Million New Scientists. One Million New Ideas.TM. Contact Jim Kahler, CSREES program specialist for Family, 4–H, and Nutrition, for more information.

 

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

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, June 10, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today recognized 46 corporations for efforts to promote improved nutrition and fight obesity. Responding to a Corporate Challenge issued by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, food and electronic companies have signed a Memorandum of Intent with USDA. "Teenagers and adults get a lot of signals from the consumer marketplace about what they buy and how they consume. Corporations today agree that MyPyramid's steps for healthier eating and activity present the opportunity for a message of solid, science-based nutrition advice and guidance," said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Connor. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the release USDA Recognizes Corporations to Promote Nutrition and Fight Obesity.

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced farmer and rancher candidate nominations began June 15 for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. The nomination period continues through August 1. Elections take place this fall. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the release USDA's Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Start June 15.

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is taking several steps to assess the impact on the 2008 crop acreage from the impact of the extraordinary rainfall and flooding in the Midwest. NASS will release the 2008 Acreage report as scheduled on June 30 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. However, NASS collected most of the acreage data during the first 2 weeks of June, before the majority of the flooding occurred. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the release USDA to Assess Impact of Midwest Flooding on 2008 Crop Acreage.

USDA Update − Midwest Flood Response and Recovery Assistance and Resources 

 

The 2009 Program Planning Committee is soliciting topics for the 2009 Administrative Officers’ Conference, April 26-30, 2009, in Baltimore, MD. The conference is hosted by the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The conference provides state participants with the opportunity to share information with their peers in budget, finance, grants management, and human resources management. The committee will meet July 28-30. All topics must be submitted prior to July 24 for consideration. Submissions should include a brief summary description, possible speaker, and your contact information. Contact Brenda Barnett to suggest a topic for an individual breakout session or agenda item.

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