CSREES Update - August 5, 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
- VMLRP Interim Final Rule/Comments Published in Federal Register
- CSREES News
- CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA
- USDA Seeks Public Comment on the New Conservation Stewardship Program
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Announce New Strategies to Keep America's Food Supply Safe
- USDA Proposes Biobased Product Consumer Label Rule
- Secretary Vilsack Announces Immediate Relief for Struggling Dairy Producers
- Administration Continues to Name State Executive Directors for the Farm Service Agency and the State Directors for Rural Development
- USDA'S Food and Nutrition Service Turns 40; Continues Serving as the Nation's Nutritional Safety Net for those in Need
- Penn State Names Interim CES Director
- MiTTNet Launch Successful
- National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Celebrates 75 Years
- Rural Sociological Society Honors Rachel B. Tompkins
VMLRP Interim Final Rule/Comments Published in Federal Register
CSREES is seeking written comments on the interim final rule that establishes the process and procedures for designating veterinarian shortage situations, specifically for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Service Act (NVMSA) and administered by CSREES. The announcement was published in the Federal Register on July 9, authorized by7 CFR Part 3431, RIN 0524-AA43. CSREES will designate geographic and practice areas that have a shortage of food supply veterinarians to carry out the VMLRP goals of strengthening the nation's animal health infrastructure and supplementing the federal response during animal health emergencies. CSREES will carry out NVMSA by entering into educational loan repayment agreements with veterinarians who agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations for a determined period of time. CSREES is establishing Subpart A for the designation of the veterinarian shortage situations and Subpart B for the administration of the VMLRP. The agency must receive comments by September 8, for them to be considered in the final rule. Contact Gary Sherman, CSREES national program leader for veterinary science, for more information.
Opening New Niches in a Forested Landscape
Much of rural Alabama is a heavily forested landscape dominated by large paper mills and sawmills. Scientists and architects from Auburn University are exploring ways to diversify this timber-based economy to generate new employment opportunities while improving the quality of rural housing in Alabama and elsewhere in the South. The Auburn team, led by rural sociologist Conner Bailey, identifies scale-appropriate harvesting and wood processing technologies, and uses locally-produced lumber to build low-cost housing. CSREES is funding the project.
The need for a project such as this stems from the evolution of the forest products industry in the South. “If you don’t have at least 50 acres of good timber, no commercial logger wants to even talk to you,” Bailey said. “That was not the case 30 years ago, when logging operations were made up of small trucks and chain saws. Today, loggers are heavily mechanized and it is expensive to move the equipment and set up operations.” This expense compels loggers to direct their deliveries to large mills. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Opening New Niches in a Forested Landscape.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $3 Million to Enhance International Science and Education
Washington, July 27, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $3.3 million in grants to 23 institutions in 19 states to enhance their international research and teaching capabilities. “The Obama Administration has prioritized efforts to strengthen domestic and international food security, and these projects will promote innovation to prepare the U.S. agriculture industry to meet the global demands of the 21st century,” said Vilsack.
CSREES administers the funds through the competitively awarded International Science and Education Grants program. The projects will enhance the international content of curricula, provide faculty with the opportunity to work outside the United States to bring lessons learned back to the classroom, promote international research partnerships, enhance the use and application of foreign technologies in the United States, and strengthen the role that colleges and universities play in maintaining U.S. competitiveness. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $3 Million to Enhance International Science and Education.
USDA Awards More Than $4 Million to Assist Disabled Farmers and Ranchers
Washington, July 23, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is awarding $4.1 million in grants to 22 states to help farmers with disabilities through the AgrAbility program, which helps thousands of disabled people overcome barriers to continuing their chosen professions in agriculture. “Given the right resources, farmers with disabilities can run productive and profitable farms,” Vilsack said. “The AgrAbility program can provide the resources and tools producers need to enhance their quality of life and be successful.” Projects include educating professionals on how to assist those with disabilities and directly training disabled agricultural workers. The program has improved customers' financial stability, access to life activities, and the ability of states and regions to deliver timely services to those with disabilities. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read USDA Awards More Than $4 Million to Assist Disabled Farmers and Ranchers.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Energy Secretary Chu Announce $6.3 million for Biofuels Research
Washington, July 22, 2009 - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the joint selection of awards of up to $6.3 million towards fundamental genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. The seven projects announced follow the green jobs and renewable energy Rural Tour event hosted last weekend by the two cabinet Secretaries in Virginia. These investments will further the Obama Administration's efforts to broaden the nation's energy portfolio while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil. "Helping expand and diversify production of biofuels is an example of the Obama Administration's commitment to developing a sustainable domestic biofuels industry that can help strengthen rural America while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil," said Secretary Vilsack. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Energy Secretary Chu Announce $6.3 million for Biofuels Research.
Empowering Small Farmers in Rural Communities
Operators of small and mid-size farms are suffering from low economic growth. As a result, many of these limited-resource farmers have begun hitting the books in order to compete with the larger, more economically stable farms. With funding from CSREES, the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge, La., promotes small and family farm sustainability by enhancing business management skills and leadership development. Dawn Mellion Patin, agriculture specialist at the Ag Center, developed the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, which brings its services to minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. “By developing leaders in local communities, we will enhance the participants’ business and farm management skills,” Mellion Patin said. The institute assists minority, socially disadvantaged, and limited-resource agricultural producers from 10 Southern states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Participants are selected through a competitive application process. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read Empowering Small Farmers in Rural Communities.
USDA Master Gardeners Available to Help Americans Grow Safe, Healthy Food Throughout the Country
Washington, July 9, 2009 - Are you looking for some free gardening advice? Has your well-intentioned ‘green thumb’ resulted in your garden looking a little brown? USDA has 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. To find a local Master Gardeners, visit www.extension.org/pages/Extension_Master_Gardener. “Master Gardeners are a valuable resource for people who want to get some tips on gardening and growing their own food from a real expert,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Growing fruits and vegetables in your own garden not only promotes a healthier lifestyle, but helps communities develop a safe, nutritious, and sustainable source of food.” Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read USDA Master Gardeners Available to Help Americans Grow Safe, Healthy Food Throughout the Country.
CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
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 Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA
Washington, July 31, 2009 -Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the names of five additional people who will hold staff positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "I'm pleased to announce additional USDA staff who will work with President Obama and me to help move our country forward," said Vilsack. "Together we can make progress in building stronger rural communities, improving the environment, and ensuring our food supply remains safe, sustainable and nutritious."
Pat Engel – senior advisor, Risk Management Agency; Michael Martinez – special assistant, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Jenny Montoya Tansey – special assistant, Rural Housing; Vianca Monet Dyer – staff assistant, Office of Congressional Relations; and Chad Maisel – staff assistant, office of the Deputy Secretary. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names Additional Staff at USDA.
USDA Seeks Public Comment on the New Conservation Stewardship Program
Washington, July 31, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on the new Conservation Stewardship Program, which is designed to encourage agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation practices and adopt additional ones in their operations. The public can submit comments for 60 days and must be submitted on or before September 28, 2009. For full details about the new Conservation Stewardship Program, please visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp/ or visit your local NRCS field office. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Seeks Public Comment on the New Conservation Stewardship Program.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week
Washington, July 31, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraged consumers to visit their local farmers markets in honor of National Farmers Market Week, which will take place from August 2-8. "One of the Obama Administration's top priorities is to make sure that all Americans – especially children – have access to fresh, nutritious food, and USDA's ongoing support of farmers markets is important to reaching that goal," Secretary Vilsack said. "At the same time, farmers markets help support small family farms, help revitalize rural communities, and often promote sustainable agricultural practices." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Announce New Strategies to Keep America's Food Supply Safe - Departments Take Steps to Reduce Foodborne Pathogens in Ground Beef, Leafy Greens, Tomatoes, and Melons
Washington, July 31, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that prevention and partnership will guide their departments' efforts to safeguard the food Americans eat every day. The announcements are based on the public health principles embraced by the White House Food Safety Working Group led by Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Vilsack. "Making prevention a priority is critical to reducing foodborne illness and one of the three food safety principles of President Obama's Food Safety Working Group," said Vilsack. "The actions we are taking today will result in safer food in our country, which means healthier children and less costly healthcare." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Announce New Strategies to Keep America's Food Supply Safe.
USDA Proposes Biobased Product Consumer Label Rule - New Label Will Make it Easier for Consumers to Identify Biobased Products
Washington, July 31, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making it easier for consumers to identify biobased products through the release of its proposed BioPreferredSM labeling rule. USDA's BioPreferred labeling program, published today in the Federal Register, intends to create a product label that would appear on qualifying BioPreferred biobased products. When final, this regulation will allow biobased product manufacturers to participate in a voluntary labeling program to identify biobased products on retail store shelves. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Proposes Biobased Product Consumer Label Rule.
Secretary Vilsack Announces Immediate Relief for Struggling Dairy Producers - Obama Administration to Raise Dairy Support Prices, Will Increase Dairy Farmers' Revenue by $243 Million
Washington, July 31, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that the Obama Administration is taking immediate action to support struggling dairy farmers by increasing the amount paid for dairy products through the Dairy Product Price Support Program DPPSP. USDA estimates show that these increases, which will be in place from August 2009 through October 2009, will increase dairy farmers' revenue by $243 million. "The Obama Administration is committed to pursuing all options to help dairy producers," said Vilsack. "The price increase announced today will provide immediate relief to dairy farmers around the country and keep many on the farm while they weather one of the worst dairy crises in decades.” Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Announces Immediate Relief for Struggling Dairy Producers.
Administration Continues to Name State Executive Directors for the Farm Service Agency and the State Directors for Rural Development. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the releases.
USDA'S Food And Nutrition Service Turns 40; Continues Serving as the Nation's Nutritional Safety Net for Those in Need - Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs Now Serve One in Every Five Americans
Washington, July 23, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recognized the 40th anniversary of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the federal agency that administers the nation's domestic nutrition assistance programs. FNS administers the 15 domestic nutrition assistance programs which together comprise the nation's food safety net. They include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program); National School Lunch Program; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program; and the Emergency Food Assistance Program, among others. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA'S Food and Nutrition Service Turns 40; Continues Serving as the Nation's Nutritional Safety Net for Those in Need.
Penn State Names Interim CES Director
Dennis C. Calvin was appointed interim director, Cooperative Extension Service (CES), The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, effective July 1. Calvin received a bachelor's degree in agronomy and pest management from Iowa State University, and he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in entomology from Kansas State University. He has been associate director of CES since January 2006. His contact information: 323C Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802; Phone: 814-865-4028, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: 814-863-7905.
MiTTNet Launch Successful
The Managing in Tough Times resource directory, MiTTNet, officially launched July 30. The directory can be accessed at http://mittnet.extension.org. It is fully searchable and nearly 900 resources can be found in individual and family, farm and ranch, community, and youth topic areas. A national Web conference to announce MiTTNet, to demonstrate the site and highlight its contents was held on July 30. For those who could not attend, the Web conference can be viewed at http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/p78987985/. To learn more about Managing in Tough Times, contact Lyla Houglum, executive director, Western Extension Directors Association and director of Special Initiatives, Oregon State University; Jane Schuchardt, CSREES national program leader for Family Economics; or Tom Coon, ECOP Programs Sub-Committee and Michigan State University Extension director.
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Celebrates 75 Years
Judy Edwards Breland, National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFC) president, Mississippi, will preside over the 75th Anniversary celebration in Birmingham, Ala., to "Celebrate the Past and Embrace the Future," September 14-18. NEAFC will present the results of a recent national survey of extension professionals that replicated a public policy survey of top concerns across the country that was featured 25 years ago in "USA Today." General session speakers include Phyllis Norton Hoffman, Media and Publishing Entrepreneur, and Dr. Allen Mallory, one of the most in-demand speakers on child care in the country. Pre-conferences include Dr. Richard Powers, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who will present a workshop entitled “Brain Health – Helping Adults Protect Their Brains as They Grow Older,” and ”Partnering for Success," presented by Sharon Speights-Gibson, multicultural specialist for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Registration and conference details are online.
Rural Sociological Society Honors Rachel B. Tompkins
The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) selected Rachel B. Tompkins to receive its “Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award” for 2009. Tompkins became one of the first women to head a Cooperative Extension Service, pioneering the way for many women to follow. In her long land-grant university career, she served as associate vice-president for University Extension and Public Service at West Virginia University (WVU), helping to focus the university on rural economic development innovations, and she chaired the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Budget and Advocacy Committee. She graduated from WVU with a major in biology, chemistry, and English literature, and earned a Master’s in public administration with distinction from Syracuse University. At Harvard University’s College of Education she earned her Ed.D. with a focus on administration, planning, and policy issues and later served on the Board of the Harvard Associated Alumni. West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton tapped her to become his advisor for community development, and she was founding chair of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. She has served as president of the Rural School and Community Trust, executive director of The Children’s Defense Fund, and director of The Citizen’s Council for Ohio Schools. Other national leadership roles include chair of the board of trustees of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, member of the Commission on the Future of the South, and vice-chair of the board of the Annenberg Rural Challenge. Contact Professor Katherine MacTavish, chair of the 2009 RSS Awards Committee, or Sally Maggard, CSREES national program leader for Rural Sociology, for more information.
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Colien Hefferan, Administrator
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