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CSREES Update - May 27, 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 RRDCs Release 2008 Annual Reports
  • CSREES NPLs to Participate in Economics Meetings
  • CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Obama Administration Launches Food Safety Working Group Web site
  • Secretary Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Lisa Pino as Deputy Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service
  • President Obama, Secretary Vilsack Announce Intent to Nominate Evan Segal as Chief Financial Officer at USDA
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Victor Vasquez as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development


  • Students Conduct Molecular Research in National Forest

Awards and Recognition

  • CSREES Staff Recognition



The 2008 CSREES Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC) annual reports are available online. RRDCs play a unique role in USDA’s service to rural America. They link the research and education outreach capacity of the nation’s public universities with communities, local decisionmakers, entrepreneurs, families, and farmers and ranchers to help address a wide range of rural development issues. The centers bring together innovative minds from inside and outside universities to focus on cutting-edge issues without regard to state boundaries. Their work is national in scope and each center tailors programs particular to their regional needs. Specific programs and focus areas for each center are described in the annual reports. Use the following links to access the reports.

Contact Sally Maggard, national program leader for the Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information.

CSREES economists Drs. Suresh Sureshwaran, Henry Bahn, and Fen Hunt have organized symposia at the annual professional meetings of the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (June 7–9), the Western Agricultural Economics Association (June 24–26), and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting (July 26–28) to strengthen partnerships and enhance research and education in agricultural and resource economics, as well as rural economic development. The symposia, entitled “Serving the Needs of the Next Generation of Agricultural and Resource Economics Leaders,” will share comments and feedback from regional webinars conducted in spring 2009. CSREES will continue to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of partnerships within the profession and, in turn, enhance the impacts of CSREES programs. Contact Fen Hunt, CSREES national program leader with the Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information. 

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

1890 Facilities Grants Program

June 5, 2009

P.S. Benepal

Expert Integrated Pest Management Decision Support System

June 5, 2009

H.J. Rick Meyer

Youth Farm Safety and Education Certification Program

June 11, 2009

Brad Rein

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

June 25, 2009

Gary B. Sherman

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

July 1, 2009

Shirley A. Gerrior

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Conservation Effects Assessment Project

July 1, 2009

James P. Dobrowolski

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

July 28, 2009

Audrey Trotman

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, May 21, 2009 - Responding to President Obama's directive to upgrade the nation's food safety system, the White House Food Safety Working Group, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, launched a Web site to provide information about the group's activities and progress. "The Working Group will be an important tool for gathering ideas as to how we can strengthen the food safety system to be more accountable and accessible to the public it protects, flexible enough to quickly resolve new safety challenges that emerge, and able to meet the robust needs of our rapidly changing world," said Vilsack. "Families have enough to worry about. You shouldn't have to wonder if the food you buy at the grocery store is safe," said Sebelius.

The Web site, http://foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov/ will be an important resource for people who want to learn about the current food safety network as well as stakeholders and organizations that are working to upgrade America's food safety system for the 21st century. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Obama Administration Launches Food Safety Working Group Website.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the names of additional people who will hold staff positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. "Today I'm pleased to announce additional staff that will work with President Obama and me to strengthen communities throughout our country, improve the environment, and ensure our food supply remains safe, sustainable, and nutritious," said Vilsack.

  • Farm And Foreign Agricultural Service - Brandon Willis, confidential assistant
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service - Justin Hatmaker, special assistant
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service - Julie Grogan-Brown, confidential assistant
  • USDA Office of Communications - Orrin Evans, special assistant
  • Rural Development - Magdey Abdallah, confidential assistant

Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Lisa Pino will serve as deputy administrator for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. The agency, in partnership with cooperating organizations, works to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. Pino most recently served as director of public affairs for the International Institute of the Americas College in Phoenix, AZ. She has also worked with the Florence Immigrant Rights and Refugee Project as well as the Community Legal Services Farmworker Unit in rural Arizona. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Lisa Pino as Deputy Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service.

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2009 - President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Evan Segal as chief financial officer (CFO) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Segal will serve with Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Evan has a solid track record of building and managing a company and his management expertise will be put to good use as CFO at USDA," said Vilsack. "His private sector background will add a unique perspective that will strengthen the department's management team." Segal is the former president and owner of Dormont Manufacturing Company, the leading manufacturer of flexible stainless steel gas appliance connectors. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release President Obama, Secretary Vilsack Announce Intent to Nominate Evan Segal as Chief Financial Officer at USDA.

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack continues naming top staff and appointed Victor Vasquez to serve as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development at the USDA in Washington, DC. The Rural Development agency helps rural areas to develop and grow by offering federal assistance that improves the local quality of life - targeting communities in need and then empowering them with financial and technical resources. Vasquez recently served as deputy assistant commissioner for the Department of Transitional Assistance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Victor Vasquez as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development.

Mt. Edgecumbe High School is a state boarding school located within the Tongass National Forest in Sitka, AK. Students from rural Alaskan villages take advantage of this yearlong education alternative in molecular ecology for scientifically-minded juniors and seniors. These students conduct scientific research using microbiology laboratory techniques. The current research focuses on microbes in the local muskeg soil and their relationships to the overall ecosystem, specifically addressing forest watershed health, with implications to global climate change. Little microbial research is done in the Tongass and students are contributing to the scientific understanding of globally-important scientific questions. The students won numerous awards and will compete at science competitions at the national level for the next few months. Seniors will continue their science education at University of Alaska, Fairbanks and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The program is funded by the CSREES Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program and the Alaska Rural Research Partnership education outreach of the Alaska EbSCOR Program. 

  • Jennifer Martin, public affairs specialist on the Communication Staff, graduated from Georgetown University on May 16, with a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications.

  • Paulette Smith, head secretary in the Competitive Programs Unit, graduated from the University of Phoenix on May 16, with a B.S. in business management.

  • Tara Grinnage-Pulley, 1890 scholar in the Plant and Animal Systems Unit, graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine on May 9, and received her DVM with honors.


For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for June 10, 2009. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by June 3.

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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