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CSREES Update - July 22, 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

  • Master Gardeners Available to Help Americans Grow Safe, Healthy Food

  • USDA Provides $71 Million to Rehabilitate Farmland Damaged by Disasters
  • $760 Million Available in Direct Loans to Farmers and Producers
  • Vilsack Recognizes Work of USDA Experts Who Served in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Vilsack Names Mary McNeil as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
  • Jonathan Coppess Named Farm Service Agency Administrator
  • William J. Murphy Named Risk Management Agency Administrator
  • Secretary Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA

  • eXtension Launches Bee Health Web Site
  • ACES Names Interim Dean

  • University of Illinois Extension Team Wins 2009 JCEP Award

  • 5th National Small Farms Conference


Looking for some free gardening advice?  Has your well-intentioned “green thumb” resulted in your garden looking a little brown?  USDA has a cadre of volunteers who provide free gardening tips and have a wealth of science-based research to answer your questions.  Trained by USDA’s Cooperative Extension Service, Master Gardeners provide information in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read the full release.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Integrated Organic and Water Quality Program

 July 24, 2009

Michael P. O'Neill

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Capacity Building

July 27, 2009

Lisa A Lauxman

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Research and Evaluation

July 27, 2009

Suzanne Le Menestrel

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

July 28, 2009

Audrey Trotman

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk 4-H Military Partnership

July 31, 2009

Eddy Charles Mentzer

ARPA: Agriculture Risk Management Education Program

August 10, 2009

Janie Hipp

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.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that farmers and ranchers will receive approximately $71 million in Emergency Conservation Program funds to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters that happened in 2008 and 2009.  The money will be used to remove farmland debris; restore fences; grade and shape land; repair conservation structures that were damaged by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, and wildfires; and carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $760 million from the Supplemental Appropriations Act is available for approved but previously unfunded USDA direct farm ownership and operating loans throughout the country.  Producers can use direct farm ownership loans to buy farmland, construct or repair buildings and other fixtures, and promote soil and water conservation.  Operating loans may be used to purchase items such as livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance, and other operating expenses.  Operating loans may also be used to pay for minor improvements to buildings, costs associated with land and water development, family subsistence, and to refinance debts under certain conditions.  The maximum amount for either type of loan is $300,000.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recognized the efforts of more than30 USDA employees who volunteered to serve as agricultural experts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  “It is an honor for me to recognize these brave and devoted employees for their tremendous service to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the important role they played in furthering political and social stability throughout the world by building a foundation on which the economies of these countries will prosper,” Vilsack said.  The secretary also presented “Pathways to Progress,” a 19-minute documentary-style film slowing slices of life from USDA career employees working on Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan, which can be viewed online.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Mary McNeil as USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.  In this position, McNeil will have responsibility for the leadership, coordination, and direction for USDA’s civil rights programs, including matters related to program delivery, compliance and equal employment opportunity.  “As we embark on a new era in civil rights at USDA, Mary McNeil brings vast experience to USDA in both civil rights and American Indian programs at the Department,” said Vilsack.  “her leadership will enhance President Obama’s and my goal of USDA being a model employer and premier service provider to all.”  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named Jonathan Coppess as Administrator for the Farm Service Agency.  Previously, Coppess worked for U.S. Ben Nelson as his Legislative Assistant for Agriculture, Energy, and Environmental Policy.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named William J. Murphy as Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).  Murphy most recently served as RMA Acting Administrator during the transition to the Obama Administration.  Before that, he served RMA as the Deputy Administrator for Insurance Services; Director of the Regional Office in Davis, CA., overseen crop insurance operations in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii; and Director of the Western Region Compliance Office.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the names of additional people who will hold staff positions within USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area.  For more information on each, visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Rachael Goldfarb – Counselor to the REE Under Secretary.  Most recently she served as Special Assistant to the President of the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Goldfarb served in the Clinton White House and served as Special Assistant to the Chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Maura O’Neill – Senior Advisor for Energy and Climate.  O’Neill served most recently as chief of staff for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.  She has spent over 25 years in the public, private, and academic sectors focused on two areas: sustainable energy development and entrepreneurship/innovation.
Ann Tutwiler – Senior Advisor for International Affairs.  Previously, she was advisor on International Trade for the Africa Bureau’s Sustainable Development group at USAID.  She has also served as president and chief executive officer of the International Food & Agriculture Trade Policy Council.

eXtension has launched a Web site about bee health. The Community of Practice effort was headed by John Skinner, University of Tennessee, and facilitated by Keith Delaplane, University of Georgia.  The project was initiated through NC-508, Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Honey Bee Health, a Hatch-funded rapid response project, and continued through CSREES’ Managed Bee CAP with additional funding from ARS’ Bee Laboratory.

Robert J. Hauser has been named interim dean designate of the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.  Pending approval by the board of trustees, Hauser will assume his new duties on August 17.  Hauser earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University in 1982.  Hauser has authored over 30 refereed publications, supervised 22 graduate students, and received numerous research and extension awards.

The University of Illinois (U of I) Extension team of Debbie Bartman, Pat Hildebrand, Lois Smith, and Ted Funk earned the 2009 Joint Council of Extension Professionals’ Excellence in Teamwork award for their program, Take Action on Radon.  Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  U of I Extension partnered with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to develop “Take Action on Radon,” a Web site that explains how to test homes for radon and mitigate them if high levels are found.  The Web site was just one part of a comprehensive education campaign that included brochures, news stories, radio and TV public service announcements, training programs for homebuilders and related businesses, YouTube videos, a national poster contest, and distribution of thousands of radon test kits.

The 5th National Small Farms Conference, Roadmap to Success for Small Farmers and Ranchers,” is September 15-17 at the Hilton Springfield and Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, IL.  Conference and registration information is available online; save $50 by registering before August 25.  Participants will share new ideas in research, extension, and outreach and strengthen collaboration and partnership among colleagues who work to support small farmers and ranchers.

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 5, 2009. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by July 29.

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.