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NIFA Update —January 28, 2010

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

  • From the Director
  • New NIFA HSI Education Program Specialist
  • F4HN Welcomes Two New Members
  • Smith Joins PAS Animal Production Systems
  • O’Neill Begins Embassy Science Fellowship
  • Dan Jones Retires
  • NIFA News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • USDA Joins National Dairy Council and the National Football League in a Public-Private Partnership to Improve Health and Wellness in America's Schools
  • USDA Scientists, Cooperators Sequence Soy Genome - Foundation Research Will Help Improve Soybeans and Other Legumes
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Up to $20 Million for Capacity Building Efforts in Afghanistan - Establishes Steven "Tom" Stefani Award for Reconstruction and Stabilization in Fragile States
  • USDA Livestock Disaster Payments Exceed $175 Million - Programs Provide Timely Disaster Assistance for Livestock Losses
  • Secretary Vilsack Announces Members of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee — Diverse Group to Advise USDA on Long-Term Solutions to Issues Facing Struggling Dairy Industry
  • Vilsack Names Members to Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee


Opportunities

  • Register Now for the 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Partners

  • Resources Available to Help Applicants with NIFA’s System-Based Grant Programs

Awards and Recognition

  • NIFA-Nominated Scientist Wins Presidential Early Career Award
  • 4-H Military Partnerships Receive Texas AgriLife Extension Service 2010 Partnership Award

Mailbox
 

From the Director

In agriculture, we recently lost a leader who made the most of a transformative time in the 1960’s:  Norman Borlaug.  He was a good friend to me, to the department, and to science. While most Americans would not have been able to tell you who he was before his death last year, he was hailed by developing countries around the world as one of America’s great heroes for his many contributions to food security.

At the time Dr. Borlaug launched his career, it was accepted that millions of people would starve to death because agricultural production could not keep up with population growth.  His life and work were devoted to overturning this myth.  He fought to use science to improve the lives of everyone around him – a fight he waged until death.  Dr. Borlaug's life and work offer powerful lessons about the enormous challenge we face, and the realization that old models of funding agricultural research and delivering its results to those who need it must change. Change must include altering changing the scope, scale, and dedication to bettering the lives of those that we serve; it can help us re-imagine how research is funded, performed, and evaluated.  Dr. Borlaug was not afraid to take risks; he focused on solving large-scale problems with similarly large-scale research, and he worked on projects where the payoff, in terms of food security, was tangible and immediate.

I have no doubt that Dr. Borlaug would have welcomed a new report from the National Academy of Sciences, “A New Biology for the 21st Century:  Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution,” as the next great step in harnessing science in support of solving society’s most intractable problems.  It speaks to values he held dear:  bold, risk-taking approaches to understanding fundamental questions in biology; tackling complex scientific challenges with a laser focus on areas where the new biology can offer the most promise of transformative breakthroughs; scaling-up our research efforts across narrow disciplinary boundaries to match the complexity and magnitude of the problems we are solving; and ensuring that, at the end of the day, our progress in science is measured by visible and tangible impacts on human health, food security, and environmental stewardship.

NIFA is taking a page from the playbook outlined in A New Biology.  In fact, some of us have joked that we should just put a new cover on the report and re-issue it as “A New Agriculture.”  The goal is a more efficient approach to developing plant varieties that can be grown sustainably under local conditions, are able to adapt to climate changes, and perform at sufficient levels of productivity to provide for a growing world population. And, the report is agnostic as to where these approaches derive – from classical genetics to genetic engineering, from life science research to computational science to mathematics.  Development of these new tools and methods, the report notes, will have application to address problems in health, energy, and environment, as well as traditional agriculture.

This is precisely the approach that we are taking at USDA.  We are committed to combating world hunger through development of new crop varieties that can grow and thrive under environmental stresses.  We are committed to using all the tools in the science toolkit to develop the knowledge to create new lines of crops and food animals and new production systems; we cannot afford to turn our backs on any field of science that promises breakthroughs that will yield global food security. This research will have collateral benefits in health, energy, and the environment, and will help American farmers remain competitive in the global agricultural marketplace even as we reduce the toll from starvation and malnutrition in other countries.

Roger Beachy,
Director

New NIFA HSI Education Program Specialist

NIFA’s Science and Education Resources Development Unit welcomes Josue Lopez, education program specialist for Hispanic-serving institutions and 1994 institutions. Lopez, a native of Puerto Rico, received a doctoral degree in agricultural and extension education from The Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in agricultural education from The Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s in general agriculture from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. Lopez has extensive experience in the international arena, especially in the areas of participatory approaches in international extension systems and curriculum development in the agricultural science. Before joining NIFA, he served as an urban agriculture educator for the University of Maryland Extension System. He also taught science to Latinos students in the Boston Public Schools. He has published refereed articles for the Journal of Extension, the Journal of Agricultural Education, the Journal of International Agriculture and Extension Education, and the Journal of Leadership Studies. In 2002, he received the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal’s E. B. Knight Award for the article, “Higher-order thinking in a college classroom: A case study.”  He has also written extension publications, factsheets, and designed the course “Spanish for Agricultural Sciences” currently taught at Penn State.  He has made presentations at national and international conferences. Lopez can be reached at jlopez@nifa.usda.gov or phone 202–720–8282. He is located in Room 3251 at the Waterfront Centre.

F4HN Welcomes Two New Members

Dawn Brunson, youth development specialist, will be working on our 4-H Military Partnerships program. Brunson was a Child, Youth, & School Services regional coordinator as a contract employee with the U.S. Army Reserve. She was also an assistant director of a Boys & Girls Club. She received her master’s in executive leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA., and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morris Brown College, Atlanta, GA. Brunson can be reached at dbrunson@nifa.usda.gov and her phone number is 202–690–1874. She is located in Room in 4311 of the Waterfront Centre.

Doug Swanson joined F4HN unit on a 6-month Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment. He is serving as national coordinator, professional and volunteer development. He is providing leadership for professional development for staff and volunteers, as well as the 4-H Citizenship Mission Mandate. Swanson is an extension educator in the Nebraska State 4-H Office with University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension 4–H Youth Development. His current responsibilities are professional development for staff and volunteers across Nebraska. He earned his M.S. from The Ohio State University and his B.S. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He can be reached at 202–720–3566, dswanson@nifa.usda.gov, and is located in Room 4423 at the Waterfront Centre.

Smith Joins PAS Animal Production Systems

Steven Smith joined PAS as a national program leader for Animal Production Systems in the Unit’s Animal Systems section.  Smith received his B.S. in agricultural science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his M.S. in animal science and Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition from University of Kentucky at Lexington. Smith brings to NIFA more than 25 years of experience working with the animal feeds and related industries and businesses. He can be reached at sismith@nifa.usda.gov or 202–401–6134 and is located in Room 3471 in the Waterfront Centre.

O’Neill Begins Embassy Science Fellowship

Mike O’Neill, NIFA national program leader for Water Quality and Water Resources began an Embassy Science Fellowship in La Paz, Bolivia, January 19. O’Neill is working with the Bolivian government to develop a regional water plan that addresses current water use and future trends for development and climate change. He is leading an in-country small team charged with responsibility for developing a framework for the water plan, interacting with stakeholder groups affected by the plan, and ultimately drafting the regional water plan. The fellowship extends through March 25.

Dan Jones Retires

Dan Jones, NIFA national program leader for biotechnology, retired after 33 years of federal service, effective December 31, 2009. He began his federal career as a consumer safety officer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1976. Jones joined USDA in 1980, first working for the Food Safety and Inspection Service. In 1986, he moved to the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service where he provided sustained national leadership on the rapidly changing impact of new genetic knowledge and biotechnical options on crop production and pest management. He served as an effective catalyst and facilitator between NIFA and other state and federal agencies. Most recently, he provided leadership for the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program to assist federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment.  Dan plans to remain in the Washington, DC, area, volunteer at a new Smithsonian Museum of Natural History exhibit on human origins, and continue playing the Celtic harp. He left NIFA expressing his gratitude for the support he received over the years and shared his quiet sense of humor with the staff.


NIFA News

NIFA Plans to Release Agriculture and Food Research Initiative RFA in February

NIFA expects to release its request for applications (RFA) for the 2010 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in February 2010 and will commit up to $800 million in funding for new grants, contingent on annual appropriations in following years. AFRI is NIFA’s flagship competitive grant program and was established under section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). AFRI will support work in the following priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Programs focused on these areas will use a disciplinary-based approach to building a foundation of knowledge critical for solving current and future problems. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Plans to Release Agriculture and Food Research Initiative RFA in February.

USDA Awards More Than $4 Million to Improve and Maintain a Healthy Water Supply

Washington, January 6, 2010 - NIFA awarded more than $4 million to conduct research aimed at improving and maintaining healthy watershed habitat and water supplies. "Science-based information on both water quality and water scarcity is key to addressing these critical issues for America's producers and the consumers in the years ahead," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director."These grants will further research to help manage agricultural water supplies in the face of climate change, while better protecting aquatic habitats and the larger communities that we share the water supply with agriculture.” The grants are awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Water and Watershed competitive grants program. The program seeks to reduce pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, as well as hormones and pharmaceuticals in waters derived from agricultural and rural watersheds, while maintaining adequate water supplies for agricultural crop and livestock production and rural use. In the past 5 years, the program has awarded more than $24.2 million in grants. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards More Than $4 Million to Improve and Maintain a Healthy Water Supply.

USDA Awards More Than $14 Million for Training and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

Pine Bluff, AK,  December 9, 2009 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that USDA is awarding more than $14 million in grants to organizations throughout the country that will provide training and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation, Brinkley, AR, will each receive $300,000 in funding. The announcement was part of Merrigan’s keynote address at the South Central Regional Small Business Conference, the second in a series of small business conferences being held as part of USDA’s Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America initiative. Merrigan said USDA’s Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America initiative is designed to enable rural economic growth by increasing small business contracting participation in rural areas of the country. USDA intends to help small farmer-owned cooperatives and small rural businesses to better compete for government and commercial contracts. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards More Than $14 Million for Training and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

PLEASE NOTE:  Grants.gov Web site Not Available – February 6th through the 9th

Grants.gov Web site is planning to close February 6-9, 2010, to upgrade and enhance the system. The upgrade will result in a complete system shutdown. This means applicants will not be able to submit grant applications to NIFA through Grants.gov during this time.   

We have taken into account and adjusted two NIFA program deadlines. The two programs directly affected by this are the 1890 Institute Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Both programs are extended to February 16, 2010.

  • For more information about the 1890 Institute Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program please refer to the program Request for Applications (RFA).
  • For more information about the OREI refer to the program RFA

Check the Grants.gov Blog site for more information regarding the closure.

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

International Science and Education Competitive Grants Program

January 28, 2010

Patricia Fulton

Increasing Scientific Data on the Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials in Selected Environmental and Biological Matrices

February 2, 2010

Hongda Chen

Higher Education Challenge Grants

February 5, 2010

Gregory Smith

1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program

February 16, 2010

Ali I. Mohamed

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

February 16, 2010

Irma Lawrence

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

February 16, 2010

Mary Monnig Peat

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy: A Joint Research Solicitation - USDA, DOE

February 18, 2010

Ed Kaleikau

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program

February 26, 2010

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Special Research Grants Program: Pest Management Alternatives Program

March 3, 2010

Monte Johnson

Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

March 5, 2010

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Tribal Colleges Extension Services Program

March 10, 2010

Joan Gill

Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program

March 22, 2010

Tim Grosser

 New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grants Program (RTP)

April 14, 2010

Gregory Smith


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 email notification service based on these parameters.



USDA Joins National Dairy Council and National Football League in a Public-Private Partnership to Improve Health and Wellness in America's Schools 

New York, January 15, 2010 - USDA joined the campaign to fight and defeat childhood obesity in cooperation with the National Football League, National Dairy Council, multiple health organizations, and several major corporations. The campaign, known as Fuel Up to Play 60, is funded with an initial private sector financial commitment of $250 million over 5 years by America's Dairy Farmers. Funding is expected to grow as government, business, communities, and families join this effort to improve nutrient-rich food choices and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity each day among children. More than 58,000, or 60 percent, of the nation's 96,000 private and public schools are currently enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60.
It is possible that today's children could become the first American generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. "Today is a significant milestone in the fight against childhood obesity because this unprecedented partnership will help educate our youth about steps they can and should take to lead healthy lives," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Increasing access to more nutrient-rich foods and physical activity in America's schools is no simple task, and will require the combined effort of private and public interests. Partnerships like these, combined with a strong reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Programs, can make a significant difference in our battle against childhood obesity." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Joins National Dairy Council and NFL in a Public-Private Partnership to Improve Health And Wellness in America's Schools.  

USDA Scientists, Cooperators Sequence Soy Genome — Foundation Research Will Help Improve Soybeans and Other Legumes 

Washington, January 13, 2010 - USDA scientists are part of a team that has sequenced the majority of the soybean genome, providing an unprecedented look into how this important legume crop converts four critical ingredients—sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen—into protein and oil, the basic building blocks for many consumer products. The research team from 18 federal, state, public, and private organizations published their research in the January 13 issue of Nature. "Soybean and other legumes play a critical role in global food security and human health and are used in a wide range of products, from tofu, soy flour, meat substitutes, and soy milk to soy oil-based printing ink and biodiesel," said Molly Jahn, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. "This new information about soybean's genetic makeup could lead to plants that produce more beans that contain more protein and oil, better adapt to adverse environmental conditions, or are more resistant to diseases." This sequencing of the soy genome is the culmination of more than 15 years of collaborative research. The team used a so-called "whole-genome shotgun" approach to sequence 85 percent of the 1.1 billion nucleotide base pairs that spell out soy's entire DNA code. The sequence also provides researchers with a critical reference to use in deciphering the genetics of some 20,000 other legume species. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Scientists, Cooperators Sequence Soy Genome — Foundation Research Will Help Improve Soybeans and Other Legumes.  

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Up to $20 Million for Capacity Building Efforts in Afghanistan Establishes Steven "Tom" Stefani Award for Reconstruction and Stabilization in Fragile States 

KABUL, Afghanistan, January 12, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced up to $20 million for capacity building efforts within Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL), the department responsible for managing that country's agricultural economy. "The United States recognizes the importance of Afghanistan's agricultural economy in creating jobs, helping the nation achieve food self-sufficiency, and drawing insurgents off of the battlefield," said Vilsack. "After decades of conflict, Afghanistan lacks many of the personnel and knowledge resources needed to deliver much-needed services to its people, more than 80 percent of whom rely on agriculture for wages and sustenance. Today's commitment with MAIL will help Afghanistan's government build critical capacity at the local level in agricultural extension and expertise."

Vilsack also paid tribute to USDA employee Steven "Tom" Stefani, who was killed in Afghanistan in October 2007 while serving as an agricultural expert in Ghazn provincei. Vilsack announced that USDA would establish the "Tom Stefani Award for Reconstruction and Stabilization in Fragile States." USDA will grant the award annually to one or more employees as a way to recognize their efforts to rebuild the agricultural sectors of post-conflict countries. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Up to $20 Million for Capacity Building Efforts in Afghanistan — Establishes Steven "Tom" Stefani Award for Reconstruction and Stabilization in Fragile States.  

USDA Livestock Disaster Payments Exceed $175 Million Programs Provide Timely Disaster Assistance for Livestock Losses 

Washington, January 7, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that USDA has already made more than $175 million in disaster payments to America's livestock producers after implementing two new programs in 2009, demonstrating USDA's commitment to rapidly meeting the goals of Congress and providing farmers and ranchers with timely and effective disaster assistance. "America's farmers and ranchers deserve efficient and effective assistance programs to help get through natural disasters," said Vilsack. "While the previous ad hoc disaster assistance too often was too little, too late, because we were able to get these new programs up and running quickly, we are already beginning to achieve Congress' goal of helping producers recover losses rapidly and more thoroughly." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Livestock Disaster Payments Exceed $175 Million.

Secretary Vilsack Announces Members of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee Diverse Group to Advise USDA on Long-Term Solutions to Issues Facing Struggling Dairy Industry 

Washington, January 6, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of 17 members to a federal Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. Over the next 2 years, the committee will review the issues of farm milk price volatility, dairy farmer profitability and consolidation, and offer suggestions on ways USDA can best address the needs of a struggling dairy industry. Representatives will include producers and producer organizations, processors and processor organizations, handlers, consumers, academia, retailers, and state agencies involved in organic and nonorganic dairy at the local, regional, national, and international levels. "USDA has worked tirelessly to assist dairy farmers during these tough times," said Vilsack. "We've increased support prices under the Dairy Product Price Support Program, reactivated the Dairy Export Incentive Program, and bought 200 million pounds of nonfat dry milk for federal feeding programs. This committee, whose members come from all aspects of the dairy industry, will work to find long term solutions to assist this struggling industry."  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Announces Members of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee.

Vilsack Names Members to Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee

Washington, January 5, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the members of the new Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. The 25 members were selected from individuals nominated by their peers. Committee members represent fresh fruit and vegetable growers/shippers, fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, fruit and vegetable processors, foodservice suppliers, fresh-cut processors, brokers, and state departments of agriculture. Each member is appointed to a 2-year term. Originally chartered in 2001, the advisory committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on issues affecting the fruit and vegetable industry. In May 2009, USDA approved a new 2-year charter for this committee. In the coming weeks, USDA will schedule the committee's first meeting for 2010 in the Washington, DC area. More information about the meeting will be published in the Federal Register and on USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Web site. Information can also be obtained by emailing mailto:robert.keeney@usda.gov or calling 202–720–4722. The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 provides for the establishment and operation of advisory committees within the executive branch of the federal government. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Names Members to Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.



Register Now for the 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

The 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Sustainable Agriculture: The Key to Health & Prosperity, is February 18-19, 2010, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, in Arlington, VA. NIFA Director Roger Beachy will deliver the dinner speech on February 18. He will discuss “The New Consensus: Science, Sustainability, and Society.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address. Distinguished Guest Speaker at the conference is Ambassador Ronald Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative. Other speakers and panelists include: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food – Kathleen A. Merrigan, USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; 2010 Foreign Trade Outlook – Jim Miller, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; and 2010 Agricultural Economic Outlook – Joseph Glauber, USDA Chief Economist. Panelists are:  Walter Robb, Co-President & COO, Whole Foods Market; Fedele Bauccio, Chief Executive Officer, Bon Appétit Management Company; Nina Fedoroff, Science & Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and to the USAID Administrator; and Richard Schnieders, recently retired CEO Sysco Corporation. Visit the USDA Web site to register and more details.


Resources Available to Help Applicants with NIFA’s System-Based Grant Programs

Applicants interested in learning how to develop strong trans-disciplinary proposals for NIFA programs are encouraged to access PowerPoint and video archives of a December 10, 2009, workshop held at Cornell University. Planning and Managing Systems Based Trans-disciplinary Projects for USDA/NIFA Programs was offered by directors of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, and Cornell University. Each program requires applicants to use a systems approach to meet challenges faced by producers and consumers. Nearly 800 people registered for the on-site workshop and live webcast in December. Since then, 1,587 views of the 10 separate sessions of archived material have been recorded.  Based on the success of the session, the workshop leaders plan to partner with Washington State University and offer a similar program in Pullman, WA, during late summer 2010.

NIFA-Nominated Scientist Wins Presidential Early Career Award

University of Kentucky researcher David McNear received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his research in soil science, which was funded by NIFA. McNear was honored for his outstanding research in improving our understanding of how pasture management impacts soil quality, productivity, and sustainability of tall fescue pastures and livestock grazing operations in the Eastern United States and for teaching and outreach to both the scientific and lay communities. “By helping us understand how soil microbial communities impact larger ecosystems, greenhouse gas fluxes, and movement of nutrients and toxic substances through the soil, McNear’s work is generating knowledge about soil science and production agriculture critical to improving the productivity and sustainability of American agriculture,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. “The microbial community is one of the least-understood components of the agroecosystem, and his research opens a wide window on this important set of players.” PECASE nominees are selected for their innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology. Nominees show exceptional potential to shape the future through intellectual and inspired leadership. Educational activities reflect a spirit of community service to help understand the nature and implications of scientific research. Through federal funding and leadership for research, education, and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting daily lives and the nation's future.

4-H Military Partnerships Receive Texas AgriLife Extension Service 2010 Partnership Award

Eddy Mentzer, 4-H Military Partnership program manager at the 4-H National Headquarters, NIFA, accepted the 2010 Texas AgriLife Extension Service Partnership award on behalf of NIFA, Army Child, Youth & School Services and Air Force Airmen & Family Readiness Programs. The 4-H Military Partnerships were recognized for providing Texas AgriLife Extension Service with the means to implement 4-H Clubs on military installations and provide support programs for children and youth of deployed military service members through the Operation: Military Kids Program.

Since 2003, the 4-H Military Partnership provided more than $1.5 million dollars in funding to support nine extension staff members in their work with military audiences. More than 15,000 military children and youth took part in 4-H programs in Texas in 2009. In Mentzer’s acceptance remarks, he noted that “Research shows that when a deployed service member’s family is supported at the home location, the service member can concentrate on the mission at hand so that they can return home safely. That is why the Texas Agrilife Extension Service’s work with military children, youth, and families is so important.” In addition the 4-H Military Partnerships, Texas AgriLife Extension Service is engaged in a number of family support programs on military installations across the state. Extension agents located on installations such as Fort Hood and Fort Bliss provide programs in parenting, financial literacy, and mobilization and deployment support programs.



For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for February 3, 2010. Submit news items to newsletter@nifa.usda.gov.  

Editor:  Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her at jrude@nifa.usda.gov.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail message to jrude@nifa.usda.gov. In the body of the message, type: subscribe nifa-update OR unsubscribe nifa-update.  Back issues of NIFA UPDATE are available on the NIFA Web site.

Roger Beachy, Director

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.