NIFA Update — October 28, 2009
NIFA Update, from the Office of the Director, is a biweekly newsletter for research, education, and extension partners at land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions.
- NIFA Tribal Colleges Programs-Stakeholder Input
- New NPL for Veterinary Molecular Immunology and Microbiology
- NIFA News
- NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Takes 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Conversation to Georgia
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces U.S. Members of Three Working Groups Under the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Speakers for 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum
- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces $49 Million in Grants Under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- USDA Awards Contract to Conduct 5-Year Study on Food Choices and Expenditures by U.S. Households
- NCRCRD Search for New Director
Awards and Recognition
- Hefferan Receives eXtension Champion Award
NIFA Tribal Colleges Programs-Stakeholder Input
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is requesting written stakeholder input on the following NIFA grant programs: Tribal College Research Grants Program, Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program, and Tribal Colleges Extension Services Program. The announcement was published in the Federal Register on October 28, authorized under Sections 534(a), 534(b), and 536 of the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994. Visit the Federal Register Web site to obtain additional information and submission details. All written comments must be received by November 27, 2009.
New NPL for Veterinary Molecular Immunology and Microbiology
Margo S. Holland has joined NIFA as the national program leader (NPL) for veterinary molecular immunology and microbiology. She is in the Competitive Programs unit and serves as a NPL for the Animal Health and Welfare program in the Agriculture Food Research Initiative. Holland received her B.S. in biology and DVM from Tuskegee University, and completed a Ph.D. in veterinary pathology at Michigan State University. She served as a faculty member at three different land-grant institutions and tenured associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology at Michigan State University and the Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine Department at Iowa State University (ISU). While at ISU, she held an appointment as the faculty adjunct to the vice provost for research. Her last faculty appointment was in the Department of Comparative Medicine at the University of Tennessee (UTK). At both ISU and UTK she served as a faculty senator representing the College of Veterinary Medicine in university affairs and shared governance. She conducted research on the molecular basis of infectious disease pathogenesis, including Marek’s disease in poultry, brucellosis in cattle, and mastitis in cattle, and the molecular biology of mammary gland development. Her academic research career includes peer-reviewed publications, symposia papers, industry papers, abstracts, national and international-invited presentations, and local, regional, and national committees. Holland can be reached at email@example.com or phone 202-401-5044 and is located in Room 2446 Waterfront Centre.
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $11 Million in Water Resource Projects
Washington, October 21, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that NIFA has awarded more than $11 million through the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP) to address critical water resource issues including water quality protection, and water conservation. “Cities, communities and rural areas across the nation depend on a safe and abundant supply of water for drinking and cooking,” Vilsack said. “This research will play a vital role in our understanding of the part water plays in the ecosystem and developing tools and strategies to effectively manage our water resources.”
The NIWQP supports research, education, and extension projects and programs that address critical water resource issues in agricultural, rural, and urban watersheds. These projects reflect the growing need to combine knowledge from biological and physical sciences with social and economic sciences to address complex water issues. The NIWQP focuses on addressing water issues at the watershed scale. Projects funded by the NIWQP are outcome-oriented, aiming to increase awareness and change behaviors related to water resource management. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $11 Million in Water Resource Projects.
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $7 Million in Funding for Agricultural Plant Genomics, Genetics, and Breeding Research
Washington, October 14, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $7 million in grants for research on the biology of plant processes and traits that can be used to breed crops with enhanced value and resilience to climate stress. The research will increase understanding of plant biology from the genome to the field, and provide a foundation for the development of plant varieties with increased yield, reduced production cost, and enhanced quality and nutritional value. “At a time when disruptive climate change threatens production of some of the world’s staple foods, some of the biggest gains we can make in ending world hunger will involve development of stress-resistant crops,” said Vilsack. “Drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and saline-resistant crops will not only offer tremendous improvements for farmers around the world, but also position American farmers competitively in the world market.”
These grants are awarded by NIFA under the new Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $7 Million in Funding for Agricultural Plant Genomics, Genetics and Breeding Research.
- NIFA Hosts 5th Annual FALCON Conference
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) hosted the 5th Annual Conference of the First Americans Land-Grant Consortium (FALCON) on October 17-20, 2009, at its headquarters in Washington, DC. With a focus on health and wellness programs, the FALCON Conference celebrated 15 years of land-grant status for tribal colleges and universities.
The conference theme, “Strengthening Wellness Programs at 1994 Land-Grant Institutions,” focused on research, teaching, and community programs conducted by tribal colleges and universities. The tribal college land-grant status has been instrumental in enabling Native American tribes to develop and deliver formal teaching, extension, and research to their communities. The designation, which was given in 1994, continues to expand the land-grant tradition of serving the common good of all people. Through leadership and funding by NIFA, Native American communities have benefited by partnerships with federal agencies, other institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Hosts 5th Annual FALCON Conference.
NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
NIFA 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 Deputy Secretary Merrigan Takes 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Conversation to Georgia
Athens, Ga., October 26, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan continued her tour of colleges and universities with a stop at the University of Georgia to discuss USDA's new 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative. Merrigan's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' College Tour has a goal of educating the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and consumers, and letting them participate in the national conversation about how to develop local and regional food systems to support small and mid-sized farms and reinvigorate rural communities. Merrigan was joined by Terry Coleman, Georgia Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, and Scott Angle, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science, in addition to the state directors of USDA's Farm Service and Rural Development agencies, faculty, students, and local farmers. "Americans are more interested in food and agriculture than they have been in several generations. By better connecting consumers of food to their producers, people across the country will have a greater understanding of the challenges in agriculture today and the effort it takes to put food on their table," Merrigan said. "We can revitalize rural communities and spur economic opportunity by strengthening the link between local production and local consumption." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Takes 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Conversation to Georgia.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces U.S. Members of Three Working Groups Under the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral
Washington, October 26, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. members of three working groups under the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral consultations launched in May as part of President Obama's comprehensive, new strategy to enhance global food security.
"The individuals I have selected have experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan and bring creativity, commitment, and dedication to the task at hand," said Vilsack."USDA is uniquely positioned to reach out to land-grant universities, agribusinesses, and nongovernmental and private organizations to call upon their expertise for this important effort." Burnham Philbrook, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will head the U.S. Secretariat for Agriculture, while the trilateral working groups on agricultural trade corridors, food security, and water management and watershed rehabilitation will be lead by Christian Foster, deputy administrator for Trade Programs in Foreign Agricultural Service; Ibrahim Shaqir, director for International Research Programs in Agricultural Research Service; and Melvin Westbrook, director for International Programs in Natural Resources Conservation Service. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces U.S. Members of Three Working Groups Under the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Speakers for 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum
Washington, October 20, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that speakers for the 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum will include the co-president of Whole Foods, the recently retired CEO of Sysco Corporation, and the CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company. Vilsack will keynote the forum, titled "Sustainable Agriculture: The Key to Health & Prosperity." Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will open the annual forum on February 18, 2010, at 8 a.m.
A panel, which features Whole Foods Market Co-President Walter Robb, recently retired Sysco Corporation CEO Richard Schnieders, Bon Appétit Management Company CEO Fedele Bauccio, and Science & Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State Nina Fedoroff, is titled "Sustainability, Stakeholders & Customers: Achieving a Healthier 21st Century." USDA's Under Secretary Jim Miller will present the foreign trade outlook and Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the domestic agricultural economic outlook.
The 2010 Outlook Forum is February 18-19 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA. It will focus on a broad range of topical issues related to rural communities, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, conservation, and food safety and security. The forum also will feature traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks. USDA will webcast the entire morning plenary speeches. Go to the USDA Web site for registration and more information. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Speakers for 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces $49 Million in Grants Under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
WASHINGTON, October 15, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the award of 55 grants totaling approximately $49 million for 745 projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Upon reviewing states' plans for funding, USDA selected projects that support local and rural agriculture interests, increase the competitiveness of small producers, and promote or create direct marketing opportunities for specialty crop producers. "Developing local and regional food systems that spur economic opportunity is the purpose of our 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative and these grants today are a significant part of achieving that goal," said Merrigan. "We are pleased to continue this partnership in every state across the country to support their diverse efforts to promote healthy eating and grow specialty crop markets by expanding access to fresh, local foods." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces $49 Million in Grants Under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
USDA Awards Contract to Conduct 5-Year Study on Food Choices and Expenditures by U.S. Households
Washington, October 15, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of Princeton-based Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a major survey on food choices and expenditures by U.S. households – the National Household Food Purchase and Acquisition Study. "Helping American families improve their overall health is one of my top priorities," said Vilsack. "This ambitious 5-year effort will fill in critical gaps in existing data on the food purchases of U.S. households and be invaluable in assessing and enhancing the effectiveness of USDA's food assistance programs for low-income families."
The survey will gather unique, detailed data not previously available to researchers. USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), which made the selection, will use the resulting data to study how food assistance programs and other economic and demographic factors affect household food purchase decisions and health outcomes. This effort will be carried out with the support of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. "For the first time, researchers will have data that captures key factors like food prices, where food is purchased, dietary knowledge, and the interplay of food assistance programs and food choices," said Rajiv Shah, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics at USDA. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Awards Contract to Conduct 5-Year Study on Food Choices and Expenditures by U.S. Households.
NCRCRD Search for New Director
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) announced a search for a new director. The director position is full-time with the center and full-tenured professor level at Michigan State University (MSU), the host institution. The director will report jointly to the director of MSU Extension, the director of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Stations, and the dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. To apply, send full academic vita, vision statement, and list of references to Scott Loveridge, Transitional Director, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, 302 Agriculture Hall, East Lansing, MI, 48824. Review of applications will begin on December 4, 2009, and will continue until a successful candidate is identified.
Hefferan Receives eXtension Champion Award
Colien Hefferan, former Administrator for the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, received an eXtension Champion Award at the recent 2009 National eXtension Conference. Since its beginnings, Colien Hefferan has been a strong supporter of science-based information delivery to clientele through eXtension. CSREES helped support a meeting in the Southern Region, establish regional listening sessions, bring together experts in a Digital Access Resource Team, and develop both the eXtension Pre-Select Business Case and the Strategic Roadmap. Her support integrated national program leadership into Communities of Practice and helped to develop and obtain federal funding for the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension program. Colien has been a champion and advocate of eXtension, visioning ways to intersect USDA programs with eXtension’s new tools and technologies.
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Roger Beachy, Director
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