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CSREES Update -October 1, 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.


  • HSACUs and BFRDP Meetings Announced in Federal Register
  • San Julian Accepts CSREES Shared Faculty Position
  • CSREES News
  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • USDA Grants $3.4 Million for Farmers Markets
  • Schafer Announces Grants For Tribal Colleges
  • Fact Sheet on Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement − September 2008
  • Secretary Schafer Welcomes Beth Johnson, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety


  • EDEN Annual Meeting

Awards and Recognition

  • LeMenestrel Receives NAE4-HA Achievement in Service Award




The Hispanic-serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) Program and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) stakeholder meeting notices were published in the Federal Register on September 24. CSREES seeks stakeholder input and written comments as it establishes the 2008 farm bill programs and initiatives. Information is also available on the CSREES Web page. The public meeting schedule:

Program/Initiative                      Date                                         Location
HSACUs                                    October 12, 2008                       Colorado Convention Center
                                                3 to 6:30 p.m.                           Denver, CO

BFRDP                                      October 27, 2008                       Waterfront Centre
                                                9 a.m. to 1 p.m.                        Washington, DC      

San Julian Accepts CSREES Shared Faculty Position

CSREES Natural Resources and Environment unit welcomes Gary J. San Julian. San Julian has accepted a shared faculty position with national program responsibilities for the CSREES Fish and Wildlife program. San Julian has been a professor of wildlife resources and an extension wildlife specialist with the Pennsylvania State University School of Forest Resources for 13 years. He has a B.S. from West Virginia University, a M.Ed. from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. San Julian will help develop a new wildlife and fish strategy for CSREES. Through networking and collaboration with partners and stakeholders, he will identify mission-relevant wildlife and fish problems and corresponding opportunities for action. Potential issues include fragmentation, invasive species, wildlife damage management, the interface of endangered species regulations with natural resources management, and natural resources public relations. When in Washington, DC, San Julian’s office will be 3344 Waterfront Centre. You can reach him at 202-401-5351 and via e-mail at gsanjulian@csrees.usda.gov. He also is reachable in his Penn State Office via e-mail at jgs9@psu.edu and telephone 814-865-4287.


Modeling Mussels

Marine aquaculture, farming in the ocean, focuses on environmentally friendly and sustainable methods to cultivate marine biomass for human consumption. With funding from CSREES, a project team in Maine has measured the environmental impact of mussel rafts, an aquaculture method used to grow shellfish in coastal New England. Since the 1990s, mussel production using rafting aquaculture techniques has increased in Maine and Washington with more than 2 million pounds currently produced. Mussel production has an economic impact of more than $5 million.

Carter Newell and John Richardson, project leaders, used a combination of field data and an advanced numerical model to determine how a variety of bivalves, including manila clams, geoducks and Pacific oysters, consume the particles that reach the ocean floor. The researchers conducted these studies in Puget Sound, Washington, and Ireland. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Modeling Mussels.

CSREES Awards More Than $9 Million in Grants to Study Fruit, Vegetables, and Sunflower Genomes

Washington, September 16, 2008 − Agriculture Under Secretary Gale Buchanan announced more than $9.4 million for research, education, and extension in the genomics of sunflower, black cherry, peach, strawberry, apple, lettuce, potato, and tomato to researchers and educators at eight universities. Valued at more than $49 billion, the U.S. specialty crop industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy. "These grants will create new knowledge, information, genomic resources and seeds that may improve fruit quality, yield, drought tolerance and disease resistance in specialty crops," said Gale Buchanan, USDA chief scientist and under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. "This research is also expected to create new educational, training, and extension avenues for students and the public in the area of fruit and vegetable crop sciences." These awards are part of the CSREES National Research Initiative Plant Genome Program and are in addition to grants that will be made under the new Specialty Crop Research Initiative created by the 2008 farm bill. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read CSREES Awards More Than $9 Million in Grants to Study Fruit, Vegetables, and Sunflower Genomes.

Trees — Heal Thyself

Much like skin, trees heal themselves when they are injured by accident or disease. New insights into how trees recover from injuries may provide future benefits to the forestry industry and provide scientists the knowledge needed to develop trees that can withstand shifts in climate. With funding from the CSREES, scientists in Massachusetts mapped out the process that trees undergo in order to repair surface damage. The key is wood grain, the neat, parallel packaging of the many tiny hollow tubes and cells that make up the wood itself. Since these tubes conduct water from roots to leaves, the maintenance of a continuous grain pattern is critical to the survival of the tree. Grain pattern has also evolved to make the tree strong and durable. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Trees — Heal Thyself.

CSREES Grants Collaborate to Enhance Food Safety – UC Riverside Research Project Partners with a Community College to Attract Minority Students to Careers in Food Safety 

CSREES is pairing a research grant and an education grant in a unique partnership to educate and increase interest among minority students at community colleges about food safety issues. Minority students are currently underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce; African-Americans make up 6.9 percent of this workforce, while Hispanics, the largest minority group in the United States, account for only 3.2 percent. These percentages are well below their representation in U.S. college-educated populations. The University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) and Riverside Community College, both Hispanic-Serving Institutions, are working together to motivate minority students to pursue careers in science and engineering by giving them cutting-edge research and educational opportunities. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read CSREES Grants Collaborate to Enhance Food Safety.


CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program

December 15, 2008

 Gregory Smith

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program

December 12, 2008

 Dionne Toombs

Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program - Western Region

November 17, 2008

 Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program - Northeastern Region

November 17, 2008

 Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program - Southern Region

November 17, 2008

 Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Management - North Central

November 17, 2008

 Michael Fitzner

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.

USDA Grants $3.4 Million for Farmers Markets

BISMARCK, ND, September 19, 2008 − Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced 85 grants totaling $3,445,000 directed by the new farm bill to spread the use of farmers markets. Eighteen of the 85 grants promote a new electronic benefit transfers (EBT) to help low-income consumers buy locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. "Farmers markets are an increasingly popular source of fruits and vegetables," said Schafer. "Locally grown and locally known sales of fresh produce strengthen the connection between farmers and the community." USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service helps increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities and improve farmers' income. The grants are authorized under the amended Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Grants $3.4 Million for Farmers Markets.

Schafer Announces Grants For Tribal Colleges

BISMARCK, ND, September 19, 2008 − Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced that 17 tribal colleges in 8 states have been awarded $4 million through the USDA Rural Development Tribal College Grant program. "Education is one of the most effective economic development tools we can put into the hands of our tribal communities as they build their economic, business, and social opportunities," Schafer said. These grants will help tribal colleges buy equipment, build or renovate classrooms, make repairs and finance infrastructure improvements. For example, Stone Child College in Box Elder, MT, has been selected for a $272,350 grant to repair infrastructure and build a greenhouse and mobile computer lab. The 2008 farm bill extended the existing program authority for the Tribal College and University Essential Community Facilities program through 2012. Funding of each recipient is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Schafer Announces Grants for Tribal Colleges.

Fact Sheet on Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement - September 2008

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) was implemented on a rolling basis. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua were implemented in 2006 and the Dominican Republic in 2007. Costa Rica is scheduled to implement the agreement on October 1, 2008. The agreement was designed to level the playing field between the United States and the six CAFTA-DR trade partners. As the agreement takes effect with each country, more than half of U.S. farm exports gain immediate duty-free access, including high-quality cuts of beef, soybeans, cotton, wheat, many fruits and vegetables, and processed food products. Tariffs on most other U.S. farm products will be phased out within 15 years. All tariffs will be eliminated in 20 years. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read more on the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement − September 2008

Secretary Schafer Welcomes Beth Johnson, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety

Washington, D.C. September 25, 2008 − U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer welcomes the President's intention to designate Elizabeth (Beth) Johnson as Acting Under Secretary of Food Safety. "Beth Johnson steps up to the challenge, highly regarded for her commitment and my confidence in her ability to marshal the resources of dedicated people and considerable scientific research for inspection and food safety," said Schafer.

Johnson most recently served as Chief Assistant to Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner and Deputy Chief of Staff since May 2005. A registered dietitian, she joined USDA in 2002, having served more than a decade advising government and the private sector on the subjects of nutrition, farm credit, and livestock. Her previous government experience includes positions at the Food and Drug Administration as a nutritionist for the food labeling division and as a research dietitian at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. A native of Madison, IN, Johnson holds an M.S. in nutrition from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in dietetics from Ball State University. The designation is pending the October 1 retirement of Dr. Richard A. Raymond.


The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) annual meeting is November 4-7 in Burlington, VT.  Registration is now available on the EDEN Web site.

Meeting highlights:

  • Tuesday's optional training features eXtension in the morning and agrosecurity in the afternoon.
  • Wednesday and Thursday include general and breakout sessions on topics such as business continuity planning, ag preparedness, pandemic planning, resilient homes, disaster management for older adults, GIS work, youth in disaster education and much more. Reports will be shared on EDEN's work in agriculture, community development, youth, and family and consumer sciences, and other organizational projects. Committees will develop plans for the year.
  • Friday's optional post-meeting tour will be to a maple research center and chocolate factory to learn about their food vulnerability assessment.


The EDEN annual meeting is for any extension staff — state, area, or county — in any subject matter specialty who works with or is considering working on natural or manmade disaster topics. All disasters are local, and extension educators are in communities before and after the disasters. EDEN helps those educators with research-and experience-based information and resources.

LeMenestrel Receives NAE4-HA Achievement in Service Award

Suzanne Le Menestrel, national program leader for Youth Development Research, Families, 4-H, and Nutrition unit, received a “Achievement in Service” award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) on September 18 at the Galaxy III conference in Indianapolis, IN. LeMenestrel has strengthened research and evaluation efforts in 4-H. Her work integrated and coordinated youth development research with program development, implementation, and evaluation, and connected 4-H to the youth development research field. The award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to 4-H.


For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for October 15, 2008. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by October 8, 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.