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CSREES Update - April 15, 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.


  • Financial Literacy Day on the Hill

  • CSREES News

  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • REEO Seeks Stakeholder Input

  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $17 Million in Grants for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers -- While Visiting Farmers in Missouri, Vilsack Also Discusses Recent Initiatives to Help Producers

  • Vilsack Reopens Nomination Process for the Advisory Committee On Biotechnology And 21st Century Agriculture

  • President Obama, Vilsack Announce Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA


  • Managing in Tough Times National Extension Initiative

  • New Rural Policy Brief Identifies Options for Addressing Rising Electricity Costs


  • Upcoming Conference Explores Local and Regional Food Systems

  • Registration Open for the Extension Tourism Conference

Awards and Recognition

  • CSREES and Partners Receive International IPM Award of Recognition



The CSREES Financial Security program will be featured at the 2009 Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill, April 30, at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Convening organizations are the Jump$tart Coalition, Junior Achievement Worldwide, and the Council for Economic Education (formerly National Council on Economic Education). Exhibitors include government, not-for-profit, and corporate organizations that promote financial literacy across the country. Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill is part of the April Financial Literacy Month activities. Contact Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader, for more information.

WASHINGTON D.C, April 7, 2009 - CSREES awarded $5 million in grants to 11 universities and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to conduct research, education, and extension projects aimed at improving and protecting air resources by reducing agricultural atmospheric emissions. “Developing research-based information on air quality issues is critical for America's farmers and ranchers,” said Colien Hefferan, CSREES Administrator. “Understanding the sources and fate of agricultural emissions is critical for developing effective mitigation strategies and best management practices to protect our natural resources and environment.”

The awards are administered through the CSREES’ National Research Initiative Air Quality competitive grants program. CSREES’ NRI program has been the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program at USDA. Its purpose was to support research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multistate importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. The 2008 Farm Bill did not renew the NRI, but did authorize the creation of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). More information about AFRI can be found online. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read CSREES Awards $5 Million in Air Quality Grants.

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 – CSREES co-hosted a conference April 2-3, 2009, with The Ohio State University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to address the occurrence of antibiotic resistant microbes in the food chain, which is becoming a global food safety and public health concern. The conference theme was “Food Safety and Public Health Frontier: Minimizing Antibiotic Resistance Transmission through the Food Chain,” and brought together scientists from academia, government, and industry to address this issue. Participants discussed and made recommendations on risk assessment and antibiotic resistance reduction strategies, proposed future research directions and developed education and outreach approaches for the industry, regulators, public health authorities, and consumers to combat the worldwide antibiotic resistance problem. More information about the conference is available on The Ohio State University Web site.  Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read CSREES Co-hosts Conference Aiming to Minimize Antibiotic Resistance in the Food Chain.

With the current economic climate, it’s increasingly important to understand the relationship between food cost and nutrition. There has been a longstanding debate whether foods packed with calories, but low in nutritional value, are more accessible and affordable than foods that cost more but are more nutritious—especially for low-income individuals and families. A group of scientists in California and Washington decided to add evidence to the debate.

Researchers at the University of California–Davis and the University of Washington tested their hypothesis that lower-cost diets among low-income women would be higher in calories but lower in nutrients. Their tests concluded that the more energy-dense (high-calorie) the diet, the less nutritious it is likely to be. Additionally, low-income women who ate more nutritious diets spent more money per calorie than those who ate less nutritious diets. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Researchers Weigh In on Debate about Affordability of Highly-Nutritious Food..

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

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

Special Research Grants Program: Potato Research

April 27, 2009

Ann Marie Thro

Interregional Research Project #4 Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4)

May 4, 2009

Monte Johnson

Global Change, Ultraviolet Radiation Monitoring Program (GCUVM)

May 5, 2009

Daniel Schmoldt

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

May 8, 2009

Audrey Trotman

Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk Program

May 11, 2009

H.J. Rick Meyer

Integrated Pest Management: Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program

May 11, 2009

Robert Nowierski

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Integrated Pest Management: Methyl Bromide Transitions Program

May 11, 2009

William Hoffman

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

May 13, 2009

Siva Sureshwaran

Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program  

May 13, 2009

Elizabeth Tuckermanty

Rural Youth Development Grants Program

May 20, 2009

Nancy Valentine

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program

May 26, 2009

Dennis Kopp

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.

The Research, Education, and Extension Office (REEO) of the Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting written stakeholder input regarding the preparation of a Roadmap for USDA research, education, and extension. The announcement was published in the Federal Register on April 1. Preparation of the Roadmap is mandated by Section 7504 of the 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act. The Roadmap will identify current trends and constraints as well as major opportunities and gaps that no single entity within USDA would be able to address individually. The Roadmap will be used to set the research, education, and extension agenda for USDA. Stakeholder input is requested by May 31, 2009. Visit the REEO Web page for more background information. Contact REEO at 202-720-1777 for more information, or any questions regarding comment submission.

LOTHROP, Mo., April 7, 2009 - While visiting with farmers in Lothrop, Mo., Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making more than $17 million in grants available under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Vilsack also described recent initiatives, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), designed to help producers and keep farmers on the land. "This program underscores President Obama's commitment to support the nation's beginning farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said. "Through the beginning farmer and rancher grant program, we can help ensure that we are doing all we can for the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers."

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is an education, training, technical assistance, and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers - specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less. Congress authorized the FY 2009 funding for this program in the 2008 Farm Bill, with another $19 million in mandatory funding for FY 2010. Under the program, USDA will make grants available to state, local, tribal, regional, nonprofits, community-based organizations, academic institutions, and networks of appropriate private and public organizations to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $17 Million in Grants for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers -- While Visiting Farmers in Missouri, Vilsack Also Discusses Recent Initiatives to Help Producers.

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is reopening the nomination process for its Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). The committee will examine the long-term impacts of biotechnology on the U.S. food and agriculture system and provide guidance to USDA on pressing individual issues related to the application of biotechnology in agriculture. USDA encourages nominations from a broad range of interests including scientists, consumer advocates, agricultural producers, medical professionals, international traders, and others with a stake in USDA programs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Reopens Nomination Process for The Advisory Committee On Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2009 - President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Krysta Harden as the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at the Department of Agriculture. Harden will serve with Secretary Vilsack and will be responsible for coordinating legislative affairs and intergovernmental relations. "Krysta Harden brings a wealth of experience to this position," said Vilsack. "Her extensive knowledge will serve USDA well as we work with Congress to address the important issues facing agriculture and our farmers."

Krysta Harden joined the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) as Chief Executive Officer in March 2004. Operating from NACD headquarters in Washington, D.C., she was responsible for the association's policy development and member services programs and coordinated strategic planning, budget formulation, and related business operations. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release President Obama, Vilsack Announce Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA.

Few Americans are exempt from the stresses of the national financial and economic crisis. As a result, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) Program Committee has initiated a collaborative effort to mobilize extension’s capabilities to provide relevant, community-based educational programs on a national scale to complement what is already available at eXtension. The project will involve the content areas of individual and family financial and stress management, farm and ranch financial and risk management, community economic development, and youth development. For additional information about the “Managing in Tough Times” initiative contact Lyla Houglum, Western Region Extension Executive Director; Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader, or Ivory W. Lyles, ECOP Program Committee chair and University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture-Extension Director. A national task force is being formed to begin this work with the first planning meeting set for early May 2009.

Tackling the Rising Cost of Electricity: Options for Rural America offers examples of communities and states that are proactive in addressing the problem of rising electricity costs. The communities highlighted in this article have “taken charge of their energy future by educating themselves, defining targets for utilities and investing in currently available technologies.” Electricity costs are rising for most households as new facilities are developed for generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity and new emissions standards are imposed. This is especially troubling for rural households, which typically spend a higher percentage of their income for basic goods, including energy. However, innovate solutions to lower costs and conserve electricity exist. The article is part of the Rural Sociological Society’s policy brief series: Rural Realities, and is research information that offers a scientific lens to the critical issues impacting rural people and places. Contact Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader, Economic and Community Systems or Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, director of the Southern Rural Development Center and editor of the Rural Realities series, for more information.

Enhancing Local Food Systems: Exploring the Research, What Works, and What We Need to Learn conference is May 19-20, in Kerhonkson, NY,  and will bring together researchers, extension educators, and others to explore the scientific research base relating to local food systems. The conference will explore opportunities and challenges inherent in promoting and evaluating local foods as a critical component of an enhanced food system and as a vehicle for rural community and economic development in the Northeast. The conference goal is to look at what is known, what still needs to be studied, and what can be done within the Northeast region through collaboration across disciplines and institutions to enhance local food systems. To register visit the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development Web site. Contact Stephan Goetz, director, Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development or Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader, Economic and Community Systems, for more information.


The 2009 National Extension Tourism (NET) Conference is June 14–17, in Park City, UT. This year’s theme, The Tourism Connection: Sustaining People, Places, and Communities, will explore the connections between sustainability and tourism development initiatives and efforts. Sustainable tourism development, as a concept, has been called “one of the healthiest insights of tourism” development that is environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially responsible and acceptable. The NET conference is sponsored by the NET Design Team, whose mission is to enhance extension tourism programs nationally by providing relevant information, useful resources, and networking opportunities for extension professionals and others working in the broad area of tourism and recreation. This conference provides a great opportunity for extension educators, other professionals, and students working and studying in the broad area of tourism and recreation to meet and share programs and projects, network and engage in discussions, and takes home many new ideas. Visit the NET Web site for conference registration. Contact Steve Burr, chair, National Extension Tourism Design Team, for more information.

CSRESS National Program Leaders Robert Nowierski and Martin Draper were part of a team led by Mike Brewer, Michigan State University IPM Program, who were recognized at the 6th International IPM Symposium for participation in the Grower Incentives for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team Project. Michigan State University, Center of Agricultural Partnerships, agricultural consultants, and commodity groups worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program and county staff to recommend financial incentive rates for integrated pest management (IPM) adoption and other program criteria, and to help growers participate in the conservation programs to implement IPM tactics with combined resource and plant protection value.

Growers are adopting a variety of IPM tactics using NRCS financial incentives including: adding electronic sensing technology and use of shielded sprayers to reduce drift, converting to flamer/steamer weed control, removing pests from wild host plants, converting to pesticides with low-risk potential, using disease inoculum reduction strategies, providing nesting structures for predators, implementing pesticide resistance management, using organic mulches to suppress weeds and reduce herbicide use, and using pesticide-alternatives, for example mating disruption.

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 29, 2009. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by April 22.

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


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.