CSREES Update - July 25, 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.
- Deputy Administrator Position for Science and Education Resources Development Open
- OEP Establishes New Branch and Branch Chief
- CSREES Publishes New Outdoor Recreation Brochure
- CSREES News
- CSREES Open Requests for Grant Applications
- USDA Announces $28.4 Million in Funding for Specialty Crop Research
- USDA Awards $4.1 Million to Study Colony Collapse Disorder
- Buy-In Waiver for Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Programs Underway in New Farm Bill
- Schafer Announces an Additional $202.5 Million for Two Voluntary Conservation Programs
CSREES is now accepting applications for Deputy Administrator for Science and Education Resources Development (CSREES vacancy announcement number CSREES:SES:08-13). Applications and supplemental information must arrive at the address shown in the announcement by the September 3, 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 at 301-504-1448 or by e-mail.
CSREES’ Office of Extramural Programs (OEP) recently completed an internal restructuring effort and established the Financial Operations Branch (FOB). The new branch is responsible for all financial transactions related to grant award, disbursement, reconciliation, and reporting. In addition, the formula grant section has relocated to this branch.
As part of this restructuring, Tonya Johnson joins OEP as the new FOB chief. Johnson comes to CSREES from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Her experience includes several lead accounting positions with the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Air Force’s Special Programs. Johnson received her accounting degree from Strayer University in 2004, and is presently working toward her Certified Public Accountant license. Her office is located in Room 2242 of the Waterfront Building. She can be reached at 202-401-4515 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
CSREES recently published “Outdoor Recreation Research and Education for the 21st Century: Defining National Direction and Building Capacity.” The brochure identifies the vision, mission, and strategic goals for the outdoor recreation program that contributes to the USDA and CSREES Strategic Goals 3 (Support Increased Economic Opportunities and Improved Quality of Life in Rural America) and 6 (Protect and Enhance the Nation’s Natural Resource Base and Environment). This plan also complements the McIntire-Stennis Strategic Plan in managing the forest lands for outdoor recreation and USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan Goal 4, Sustain and Enhance Outdoor Recreation Opportunities. This brochure is the result of a concerted planning effort led by CSREES’s Economic and Community Systems Unit, in response to a Portfolio Review 2.1 expert panel’s comments. In addition to leaders from the universities, representatives from several federal agencies were also involved in the planning process, including the Economic Research Service and Forest Service. The outdoor recreation strategic plan was presented to the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs (a counterpart of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges), Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy Social Sciences Subcommittee, the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units, and others. Contact Fen Hunt for more information.
- CSREES Provides Long-term, High-quality Investment with Coordinated Agricultural Projects
The return on investment in research sometimes requires commitment and time to see significant results. CSREES' Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) combine significant funding over time and across institutions to support discovery and applications, and promote communication leading to innovative science-based solutions to critical and emerging national priorities and needs. These long-term investments provide returns that impact American's daily lives, further demonstrating how CSREES' investment in science secures tomorrow's agricultural future.
Click on the links below to learn more about CSREES Coordinated Agricultural Projects.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education, and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. A new CAP publication that compliments the CAP Project Web sites is available. Contact Cassie Copen to obtain copies.
- New Test Kits Help Manage Farm Nitrate Levels
Nitrate is an essential nutrient for plant growth, but it can become a serious threat to health or the environment if allowed to accumulate in animals or water systems. A new test kit will help producers manage nitrate concentrations, reduce costly nitrogen fertilizer applications, and protect the environment from pollution.
With funding from CSREES, the Nitrate Elimination Company, Inc. (NECi), in Lake Linden, MI, developed a series of on-farm nitrate test kits that allow farm managers to see how nitrate is accumulating and being transferred on the farm. NECi designed the kits to test nitrate concentrations in soil, water, plants, and livestock. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view New Test Kits Help Manage Farm Nitrate Levels.
- USDA-Supported Extension Master Gardeners Can Help Keep Lawns and Gardens Fire Safe
Nearly 1,800 fires have raged across California for the past 2 weeks causing major damage to life and property. It may be too late to protect some homes, but USDA-supported master gardeners can help homeowners to defend their property from wildfire by teaching them to use less flammable plants, remove combustible materials, and properly space trees.
The University of California Master Gardener program recommends creating a "defensible space" of 100 feet around homes. A defensible space is an area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire toward buildings. It can also reduce the chance of fire spreading from a building to the surrounding landscape. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view USDA-Supported Extension Master Gardeners Can Help Keep Lawns and Gardens Fire Safe.
- Scientists Find Genes to Lower Saturated Fat in Beef
Diets rich in foods with high saturated fatty acid content have been linked to an increased rate of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat is found mostly in foods that come from animal products, including beef, lamb, pork, and poultry with skin. With funding from CSREES, a team of scientists in Iowa identified genes to regulate fat deposits in beef.
Fatty deposits in beef and other ruminant animals are less dependent on diet than non-ruminant animals. In the ruminant animal's digestive system, enzymes released by microorganisms within the rumen break down most dietary unsaturated fatty acid and produce saturated fatty acids that are deposited in the muscle mass.
Donald Beitz and colleagues at Iowa State University examined three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to fatty acid production in beef cattle. The scientists looked into the relationship between the genetic traits for high fatty acid content and the actual fat deposit in the muscle content of Angus bulls. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to view Scientists Find Genes to Lower Saturated Fats in Beef.
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, July 11, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced today that USDA is making available $28.4 million for research and extension projects in Fiscal Year 2008 to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops.
The U.S. specialty crop industry is comprised of producers and handlers of fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops, including floriculture. It is a major contributor to the U.S. agricultural economy, accounting for 10 million harvested cropland acres in 2004. The total value of U.S. specialty crops is over $50 billion in sales, which puts the combined value of these crops in league with the five major program crops.
Funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative was a major initiative in USDA's farm bill proposal and is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The 2008 Farm Bill provides an additional $50 million each year for FYs 2009–2012, for a total of $230 million over the 5 years of the farm bill. Those interested in applying for funding can access the request for applications online at www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/rfas/specialty_crop.html. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces $28.4 Million in Funding for Specialty Crop Research.
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced today that more than $4 million was awarded to the University of Georgia to study the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other diseases affecting bee populations, whose pollination is valued at $15 billion annually to U.S. agriculture.
"Bees are an extremely valuable contributor to the overall productivity of American agriculture, but invasive pests, diseases, and environmental stresses are putting U.S. bees at serious risk," Schafer said. "This research will help beekeepers meet the pollination demand for the nation's food supply."
The Protection of Managed Bees Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), funded through a 4-year grant from CSREES, aims to improve the health of managed bee populations in agricultural systems. The research will address genomics, breeding, pathology, immunology and applied ecology to explain the causes behind dwindling bee populations. Researchers will work closely with the extension community and other stakeholders to develop and implement mitigation strategies for CCD and other significant problems. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Awards $4.1 Million to Study Colony Collapse Disorder.
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2008 - USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will allow producers who would otherwise be ineligible for the new disaster assistance programs to become eligible by paying a fee as required by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill).
The 2008 Farm Bill requires producers who participate in the new disaster programs to have crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance (NAP) coverage on the land for which assistance is being requested, and for all farms in all counties in which they have an interest. Every producer whose crops, including grazing lands, are not fully covered by crop insurance or NAP may take advantage of this one-time opportunity. The buy-in fee is due no later than September 16, 2008, 90 days after the date of enactment, as required by the farm bill. Those who miss this opportunity will not be eligible for disaster assistance. Payment of the applicable buy-in fee does not afford the producer crop insurance or NAP coverage, it only ensures eligibility for the 2008 disaster programs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Buy-In Waiver for Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Programs Underway in New Farm Bill.
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced an additional $200 million will be made available through the 2008 Farm Bill to help farmers and ranchers nationwide to solve natural resource problems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). An additional $2.5 million will be available for Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) in 16 states.
"These additional funds will assist farmers and ranchers in solving critical natural resource problems," Schafer said. "Voluntary incentive-based programs like EQIP and AMA are the key to helping producers meet their conservation goals and provide the public with important benefits such as cleaner water, improved air quality, healthy soils, and abundant wildlife."
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers EQIP and AMA, which provide financial and technical assistance to producers. Congress provided the extra funds for both programs for Fiscal Year 2008. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Schafer Announces an Additional $202.5 Million for Two Voluntary Conservation Programs.
The National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board seeks nominations for six board vacancies with 3-year terms. Section 1408 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3123) was amended by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2008 in which six members were deleted from the board. The board is composed of 25 members, each representing a specific expertise area or affiliation. The members serve staggered appointments so that every year approximately one-third of the members’ terms will expire. The 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. The six vacant categories are: Category B, Farm Cooperatives; Category D, Plant Commodity Producer; Category G, National Aquaculture Association; Category J, National Food Science Organization; Category L, National Nutritional Science Society; and Category M, Land-Grant Colleges and Universities − 1862.
For membership consideration a completed form, AD-755, for each nominee and the nomination letter must be postmarked by or received via fax (202-720-6199) no later than Monday, August 25. Faxed nomination packages should be sent as soon as possible and the original material sent by “express mail” to: Office of the Advisory Board/Nominations, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Research, Education, and Economics, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 344-A, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-2255. Incumbent members may seek re-appointment consideration, but must also provide the same information materials as new nominees. In the transmittal letter, indicate the membership category or categories that best represents each nominee. A person may be nominated for more than one category. The Secretary will announce the board appointments by September 2008. The effective date for service on the board is October 1, with a full board meeting scheduled November 2008 in Washington, DC.
Contact Karen Hunter, executive director of the NAREEE Advisory Board, or Shirley Morgan-Jordan, program coordinator, at 202-720-3684 with any questions regarding the nominations.
For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for August 6, 2008. Submit news items to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 30, 2008.
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Colien Hefferan, Administrator
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