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CSREES Update - March 20, 2009

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 Announces AFRI Funding Opportunities

  • CSREES Announces BFRDP Funding Opportunities

  • CSREES Modifies SCRI Competitive Grants Program

  • Stakeholder Comments on National Institute of Food and Agriculture

  • CSREES Seeks Stakeholder Input

  • Crosby Addresses UN Commission on Sustainable Development

  • Importance of the Broadband Initiative

  • CSREES News

  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • President Obama Announces Under Secretaries for Agriculture Department

  • USDA To Award $5 Million in Grants to Increase Participation in SNAP

  • Secretary Vilsack Teams Up With Sesame Workshop, National WIC Association - USDA Delivers Message of Healthy Eating


  • 2009 Extension Risk Management Education Conference



CSREES announced approximately $200 million in funds available for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI is a new competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences. While AFRI covers an equally broad scope of topics and will support many of the grant types offered by the former National Research Initiative, the new authority allows greater flexibility in the types of projects funded. They include single function projects in research, education, and extension and integrated research, education, and/or extension awards. AFRI is the new core competitive grant program for research, education, and extension. Please carefully review the AFRI Request for Applications for program specific deadlines.

CSREES announces $17.2 million in funds available for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).The BFRDP provides resources to support the development of education, outreach, curricula, workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance programs. These programs will assist beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories in entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. They will also provide a cooperative agreement to an online electronic and library clearinghouse to provide associated support to individually funded projects, educational enhancement projects and the overall BFRDP program. Applications are due May 13, 2009. Visit the BFRDP Web site for more information.

In accordance with the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, a grant made under section 412 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998, which established the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), in-kind support from nonfederal sources in the form of unrecovered indirect costs may be used to meet the matching requirements under 412(e)(3). These indirect costs are those that are not otherwise charged against the grant and must be consistent with the organization’s approved indirect cost rate. This constitutes a change for the program and the SCRI request for application (RFA) was modified. CSREES announced $47.3 million in FY 2009 funds available for the SCRI. SCRI was established to solve critical industry issues through research and extension activities. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. SCRI will give priority to projects that are multistate, multi-institutional, or trans-disciplinary; and include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public. Applications are due April 15. Please refer to the updated SCRI Matching Fund FAQs and the updated SCRI RFA for more information.

All stakeholder comments on the establishment of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (the Institute) are now available on the www.regulations.gov Web site. The announcement was published in the Federal Register on January 2. The establishment of the Institute is mandated in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (FCEA) of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). All programs and authorities currently delegated to CSREES will transfer to the Institute, no later than October 1, 2009. CSREES was designated to act on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture in soliciting public comment from interested parties regarding the establishment of the Institute.

CSREES Seeks Stakeholder Input

CSREES is seeking written stakeholder input on the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center Program. The announcement was published in the Federal Register on March 3, with correction on March 11. CSREES is implementing this new competitive grants program as authorized by 7 U.S.C. 2034(h). The purpose of the center is to increase access to healthy affordable foods to underserved communities. The center will also collect, develop, and provide technical assistance and information to small and medium-sized agricultural producers, food wholesalers and retailers, schools, and other individuals and entities regarding best practices and the availability of assistance for aggregating, storing, processing, and marketing locally produced agricultural products and increasing the availability of such products in underserved communities. All written comments must be received by April 2, 2009. Visit the Federal Register Web site for more information on comment submission.

Crosby Addresses UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Dr. Greg Crosby, CSREES national program leader for Sustainable Development, addressed the United Nations (UN) in New York City as a member of the United States official delegation to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. His remarks focused on drought — the United States approach to preventing it, mitigating it, adapting to it, and recovering from it. Crosby remarks are available on the UN Web site.

USDA colleagues from the Agricultural Research Service, Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and the Office of the Chief Economist also participated in the UN meeting. This effort has laid the groundwork for a much larger, 2-week-long session in May, at which time discussions and negotiations over sustainable development policies in agriculture, rural development, and related topics will take place.

Importance of the Broadband Initiative

This week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairman Michael Copps, and U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade kicked off the joint broadband initiative under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and announced a series of public meetings that will give Americans an opportunity to help shape the program (see USDA Release 0063.09). What does this mean for eXtension and the Cooperative Extension Service (CES)?

  • CES’s eXtension (pronounced e-Extension) will improve rural quality of life by enhancing adoption, diffusion, and use of broadband and other related technologies, such as geospatial technologies, including global positioning (GPS), geospatial information system (GIS), and remote sensing, and sensor technology.

  • Extension will collaborate with communities to educate rural citizens to use broadband and other technologies to support entrepreneurship, remote jobs, and decisionmaking.

  • Extension will help expedite the adoption and diffusion of new technologies to address rural and agricultural issues, such as weather and climate, drought, monitoring and tracing crop diseases, reducing the environmental impacts, and increasing energy.

  • eXtension will continue the Community of Practice (COP) focus on Entrepreneurs and Your Community, and Geospatial Technology. eXtension’ s COP already focuses on Web 2.0 applications, such as social networking, to assist citizens and businesses with their information technology solutions and educational needs.

  • CES and eXtension will deliver resources to individual Internet-ready devices and foster educational use of these technologies to enhance community organization in places where supplying broadband is not economically viable. The new networking technologies made available through the next-generation broadband will provide this opportunity.

  • Southern Rural Development Center will continue developing broadband curricula, which includes Connecting Rural Communities; e-Commerce as a Strategy for Improving Business Vitality; Helping Artisans Reach Global Markets; Internet Strategies to Improve Farm Business Management; and Strengthening Competitive Advantage of Rural Businesses with e-Commerce and Experience Economy Strategies.

Contact Greg Crosby, CSREES national program leader for Sustainable Development, for more information.

EFNEP Celebrates 40 Years of Food and Nutrition Education

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2009 – CSREES marked the 40th anniversary of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), a program that annually helps more than 500,000 limited-resource family members make sound nutrition and health choices. The 40th anniversary celebration was held at the University of California Washington Center in Washington, DC.

"CSREES is committed to helping those with limited resources make healthy choices regarding their diets," said Colien Hefferan, CSREES administrator. "This is even more important during today’s economic climate. The EFNEP program is a shining example of changing lives through education." Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read EFNEP Celebrates 40 Years of Food and Nutrition Education.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases

April 3, 2009

H.J. Rick Meyers

Special Research Grants Program:  Pest Management Alternatives Research

April 7, 2009

Monte Johnson

Resident Instruction Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas

April 10, 2009

Gregory Smith

Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 Program (Tribal Colleges Extension Services Program)

April 13, 2009

Joan F. Gill

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

April 15, 2009

Thomas Bewick

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Food Safety Initiative

April 15, 2009

Jan Singleton

Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program

April 23, 2009

James Parochetti

Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program

May 8, 2009

Audrey Trotman

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

May 13, 2009

Siva Sureshwaran

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, March 13, 2009 - President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate James W. (Jim) Miller to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services and Dallas P. Tonsager to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development. "Jim Miller and Dallas Tonsager are well aware of the challenges and opportunities in rural America. They have dedicated their lives to enhancing the success and improving the lives of farmers, ranchers and those living in rural areas," said Agriculture Secretary Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Miller currently is chief of staff for the National Farmers Union, a position he accepted in 1999 after serving 4 years as senior analyst for agriculture and trade on the majority staff of the Senate Budget Committee. Tonsager currently serves as a board member of the Farm Credit Administration, a position to which he was appointed in 2004. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release President Obama Announces Under Secretaries for Agriculture Department.

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will award grants of up to $5 million to help make the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program – more accessible. "President Obama has made ensuring people have access to nutritious foods a top priority for his administration and these grants will be especially helpful to those hardest hit by hard economic times," said Vilsack.

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 authorized USDA to award $5 million in grants for state and local government and private nonprofit organization projects aimed at simplifying the SNAP application and eligibility systems or improving access to SNAP benefits by eligible households. The department announced the request for proposals with a deadline to submit grant applications of June 11, 2009. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA To Award $5 Million in Grants to Increase Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Secretary Vilsack Teams Up With Sesame Workshop, National WIC Association - USDA Delivers Message of Healthy Eating

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2009 - Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a partnership with Sesame Workshop and the National WIC Association to help children and their families have healthier options and encourage them to make healthy habits a part of their daily routines.

Sesame Workshop and the National Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Association's healthy habits educational campaign was launched to support the nutritional and health efforts that WIC clinics provide to the over 9 million mothers and young children who participate in WIC each month and as part of Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life Initiative. As a way to introduce friendly and engaging healthy messages into each state's new food package rollout, 3.6 million Sesame Street's Healthy Habits for Life: Get Healthy Now multimedia outreach kits will be distributed to WIC families. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Teams Up With Sesame Workshop, National WIC Association — USDA Delivers Message of Healthy Eating.

The 2009 Extension Risk Management Education Conference is March 31–April 1 in Reno, NV, with a pre-conference seminar on March 30. The conference brings together public and private sector educators, crop insurance agents, lenders, and other agricultural professionals, including nonprofit and community-based organizations to discuss risk management education issues and the evolving risk management challenges facing farmers and ranchers. Because of the recent volatility in commodity markets and the many changes in agricultural marketing, this year’s pre-conference seminar topic is “The New Paradigms of Marketing.” Visit the Ag Risk Education Library Web site for more 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 April 1, 2009. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by March 25.

Editor: Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, 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


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