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NIFA Update — March 10, 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

  • NIFA Research Improves Public Understanding of Nanotechnology Applications to Agriculture and Food
  • Lauxman New Youth Development Director
  • New F4HN Program Specialist
  • Harris-Wheeler Joins Director's Office
  • NIFA News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights Farm-To-School Initiatives in Montana
  • Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Revitalize Rural America and Increase Agricultural Exports
  • Vilsack Unveils New Green Curriculum, Expanded Job Corps Role for USDA
  • USDA Launches Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers Program
  • USDA Announces Additional 300,000 Acres for Wildlife Habitat Expansion and Intent to Conduct General Conservation Reserve Program Signup in 2010
  • USDA'S McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program Expected to Feed 5 Million Children This Year
  • Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits New York City to Promote Access to Healthy, Nutritious Food — Announces Availability of $5 Million in Funding for Farmers Market Promotion Program
  • USDA and American Indian Higher Education Consortium Sign Agreement to Increase Cooperation
  • USDA Demonstrates New 'Food Environment Atlas' Unveiled As Part Of Let's Move! Campaign


Partners

  • KSU Announces New CES Interim Dean/Director
  • FCS Stakeholder Input and Strategic Planning Meeting
  • 4-H Receives Funding for “GenLeap” Initiative


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NIFA Research Improves Public Understanding of Nanotechnology Applications to Agriculture and Food

“Take a Nanooze Break,” a long-term exhibit at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL, will bring visitors face-to-face with the “nanoworld.” The exhibit opened February 22 and is housed in the Innoventions pavilion at Epcot Center. The exhibit “Take a Nanooze Break,” developed by Cornell University with support from the National Science Foundation, is all about nanotechnology and the science of the very small. The experience features a number of interactive activities that allow visitors to explore common objects at the nanometer scale. There is both large- and small-format digital video that makes the exhibit and its content dynamic. One of the featured videos was produced in collaboration with Earth & Sky, PBS science radio, and presents the different perspectives of nanotechnology from notable scientists, including George Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University, and Jennifer Kuzma, associate professor and resident fellow at University of Minnesota. The six short videos were supported by a NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant to Carl Batt, co-director of the Nanobiotechnology Center and director of the Cornell University/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Partnership. A portion of the grant will allow for a public survey to gather and quantify opinions about nanotechnology and the information conveyed by these videos. Contact Hongda Chen, NIFA national program leader for nanoscale science in the Plant and Animal Systems Unit for more information.

Lauxman New Youth Development Director

Lisa Lauxman, who was on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment as the Child, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) national coordinator, has joined 4-H National Headquarters, F4HN unit, as the Director of Youth Development. Lauxman was previously with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Kansas State Extension. Lauxman grew up on a Kansas dairy farm as a 4-H member. Her education and professional experiences have ties to two land-grant institutions — Kansas State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in home economics extension, and the University of Arizona, where she earned a master's and doctorate in educational psychology. She also has a master's in business administration from Emporia State University. She replaces Cathann Kress as director and who is now with the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. Lauxman is located in Waterfront Centre Room 4333.

New F4HN Youth Development Program Specialist

Lindsey Jewell is a youth development program specialist with 4-H National Headquarters, F4HN unit. She joined 4-H National Headquarters to work with afterschool programming, CYFAR, and other related assignments. Before joining NIFA, Jewell was a 4-H afterschool educator at Utah State University (USU) Cooperative Extension in Utah County. Jewell received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from USU in family, consumer, and human development and family and human development, respectively. She can be reached at 202-720-6962. She is located in Waterfront Centre Room 4316.

Harris-Wheeler Joins Director's Office

Jacqueline Harris-Wheeler joined the Office of the Director on a detail assignment. She will provide support primarily in the area of controlled correspondence and helping with other secretarial duties as necessary. She is on detail from our Multicultural Alliances staff under the Science and Education Resources Development unit. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has made controlled correspondence one of his top priorities. Harris-Wheeler is located in the Whitten Building, Room 338-A.

NIFA News

USDA Working to Develop More Nutritious Humanitarian Food Aid Packages


Washington, Feb. 25, 2010 — Roger Beachy, Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), announced a new grant program to develop healthier food products for humanitarian assistance programs. “Millions of people around the world depend on food aid delivered by the United States for their survival every day,” Beachy said. “It is our responsibility to make sure that, in emergency situations, these people are receiving food that supplies them with the nutrients they need.” NIFA's Food Aid Nutritional Education Program (FANEP) supports the development and field testing of new ready-to-use foods, fortified blended foods, high-energy foods, micronutrient powders, or other food products designed to improve the nutritional delivery and functional form of humanitarian food assistance. Projects funded by FANEP may also field test existing food products that have not yet been approved for use in food aid programs. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Working to Develop More Nutritious Humanitarian Food Aid Packages.

USDA Joins National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research

Washington, Feb. 25, 2010 — USDA has joined the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a public-private research collaboration to accelerate progress on preventing and reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched NCCOR in February 2009. Through the Office of the Chief Scientist, USDA will coordinate its research programs with NIH, CDC, and RWJF to ensure effective and efficient use of resources for solving the childhood obesity epidemic. The announcement continues the commitment of the Obama Administration to address childhood obesity within a generation and follows the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. The Let's Move! campaign will combat childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, and mobilizes public and private sector resources. Learn more about this initiative by visiting www.LetsMove.gov. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Joins National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research.

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

Tribal Colleges Extension Services Program

March 10, 2010

Joan Gill

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program

March 17, 2010

Shing F Kwok

Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program

March 22, 2010

Tim Grosser

Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk Program

March 22, 2010

H.J. Rick Meyer

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Integrated Pest Management: Methyl Bromide Transitions Program

March 22, 2010

William Hoffman

Integrated Pest Management: Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program

March 22, 2010

Robert Nowierski

1890 Facilities Grants Program

April 5, 2010

P.S. Benepal

Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas and Distance Education Grants for Insular Areas

April 5, 2010

Gregory Smith

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

April 6, 2010

Siva Sureshwaran

 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.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights Farm-To-School Initiatives in Montana

Bozeman, MT, March 6, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Montana to highlight USDA's work to strengthen the American agriculture economy and revitalize rural communities through farm-to-school programs. Vilsack was joined by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (Montana) for a roundtable discussion with local leaders on how Montana is using farm-to-school programs to connect schools with local farms to improve the nutrition of school meals, provide agriculture and health education, and support local farmers. "Strengthening the link between local farmers and school cafeterias is critical to addressing the nutrition issues facing our children," said Vilsack. "Supporting farm-to-school programs will increase the amount of produce available to cafeterias and help to support local farmers by establishing regular, institutional buyers. These programs are a win for farmers and ranchers and a win for our children."

With more than 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools across the United States, from elementary through high school, the farm-to-school movement offers new income opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers in addition to supporting off-farm jobs in rural America while giving children the opportunity to eat healthy, local fruits and vegetables and to learn to be healthy eaters. USDA is working to ensure that farm-to-school programs are a key part of the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights Farm-To-School Initiatives In Montana.

Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Revitalize Rural America and Increase Agricultural Exports

Washington, March 5, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed USDA's work to strengthen the American agriculture economy and revitalize rural communities. In the keynote speech at the 2010 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, CA, Vilsack focused on the USDA's efforts to increase exports of agricultural products to help American farmers, ranchers, and workers. "USDA's continued work to expand trade opportunities for America's hard-working farmers and ranchers will play an important role in our effort to rebuild rural communities across the country," said Vilsack. "Increased trade will not only create important income opportunities for producers, but also the off-farm jobs that are so critical for revitalizing rural America." In the State of the Union address, President Obama announced a National Export Initiative to coordinate federal efforts to help rebuild the economy by increasing export opportunities. The new roadmap will help achieve the President's goal of doubling all U.S. exports in the next 5 years. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Revitalize Rural America and Increase Agricultural Exports.

Vilsack Unveils New Green Curriculum, Expanded Job Corps Role for USDA

Nampa, ID, March 5, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled a new direction for the USDA Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC) that will train underserved youth for jobs in the emerging green economy. The green curriculum will expand opportunities and pathways out of poverty through the promotion of public service, sustainable lifestyles, and vocational skills that will enable young people to compete for green jobs. "Green jobs are an extremely important part of rebuilding the American economy," said Vilsack. "Because of the new direction announced, generations of Job Corps graduates will make our nation healthier, more energy-independent, and our public lands more resilient to the effects of climate change." The new green curriculum offered at the CCCs provides training in growing trades such as carpentry and construction, electrical, culinary arts, medical trades, and natural resources. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Unveils New Green Curriculum, Expanded Job Corps Role for USDA.

USDA Launches Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers Program

Washington, March 1, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched USDA's Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program to help American agricultural producers adjust to the current, challenging economic environment. In August, USDA requested public comments on a proposed rule for establishing the procedures and eligibility criteria for receiving assistance. Comments focused on payment limitations and adjusted gross income, specialty crops, and length of intensive training. The interim rule, published in the Federal Register on March 1, immediately implements the TAA for Farmers Program and provides for an additional 30-day public comment period.

Re-authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the TAA for Farmers Program applies to producers of raw agricultural commodities and fishermen who show a greater than 15 percent decrease — contributed importantly by an increase in imports — in the national average price; the quantity of production; the value of production; or in cash receipts compared to the average of the three preceding marketing years. The assistance includes help in developing business adjustment plans that can serve as a guide for adjusting a producer's business operation to prevailing economic conditions. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Launches Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers Program.

USDA Announces Additional 300,000 Acres for Wildlife Habitat Expansion and Intent to Conduct General Conservation Reserve Program Signup in 2010

Des Moines, IA, Feb. 27, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has approved an additional 300,000 acres for conservation projects under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). These additional areas include 150,000 acres for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Initiative; 50,000 acres for the Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative; and 100,000 acres for the Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds Initiative. Vilsack also announced that USDA would conduct a general CRP signup later this year, with program details and the specific signup start date to be announced upon completion of an Environmental Impact Statement. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Additional 300,000 Acres for Wildlife Habitat Expansion and Intent to Conduct General Conservation Reserve Program Signup in 2010.

USDA'S McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program Expected to Feed 5 Million Children This Year

Washington, Feb. 26, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will donate more than 100,000 tons of U.S. agricultural commodities valued at nearly $170 million (including freight costs and technical assistance) in fiscal year 2010 under the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) Program. "This important program provides a healthy meal, often the only one they receive, for millions of children, mothers, and infants in developing countries around the world each day, said Vilsack." The McGovern-Dole Program helps support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. This year's allocations will feed more than 4.8 million children in 18 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA'S McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program Expected to Feed 5 Million Children This Year.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits New York City to Promote Access to Healthy, Nutritious Food — Announces Availability of $5 Million in Funding for Farmers Market Promotion Program

Washington, Feb. 25, 2010 — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited New York City to promote healthy eating and lifestyles and announced that USDA is accepting applications for competitive grants from its Farmers Market Promotion Program. At a presentation at The New School, Merrigan highlighted how USDA will make available $5 million in funding to help increase access to healthy, nutritious food by improving and expanding domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. For farmers and ranchers, the funding announcement will help to develop new markets to sell their product and thereby stimulate agricultural economic development.

Providing greater access to fresh, healthy food is a priority of the Obama Administration. Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let's Move! campaign to solve childhood obesity within a generation. By promoting farmers markets and other methods to increase access to healthy foods within communities, Americans will have greater opportunities to meet this challenge. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits New York City to Promote Access to Healthy, Nutritious Food.

USDA and American Indian Higher Education Consortium Sign Agreement to Increase Cooperation
 
Washington, Feb. 25, 2010 — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed an updated Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to promote increased cooperation between USDA, tribally controlled colleges and universities (TCU), and American Indian/Alaska Native communities. The MOA reaffirms the partnership between the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and USDA to assist in fulfilling the 2002 Farm Bill's mandate that USDA establish programs ensuring that TCUs and American Indian/Alaska Native communities participate equitably in USDA employment, programs, and activities.

"This MOA is an important step forward in our efforts to expand cooperation and consultation between USDA and tribal colleges," said Vilsack. "The Obama Administration is committed to supporting the critical role tribal colleges have played in improving the lives of Native Americans, and to ensuring that they enjoy full access to USDA programs and services." The parties will focus on strengthening the capacities of AIHEC member institutions and supporting their full integration into USDA programs and services, as well as the Land-Grant University System and its programs. The agreement will also promote food and agricultural science careers and professional attainment among students attending AIHEC member institutions; promote employment opportunities within USDA for students attending AIHEC member institutions; and support the development of AIHEC. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Sign Agreement to Increase Cooperation.

USDA Demonstrates New 'Food Environment Atlas' Unveiled As Part Of Let's Move! Campaign

Washington, Feb. 24, 2010 — USDA officials highlighted one of its newest Web-based mapping tools, Your Food Environment Atlas, which will enable researchers, policymakers, and the public to find information on a range of factors that affect access to healthy, affordable food, and will allow users to map the data by county. The map will provide highly detailed information on local food environments and health outcomes, including grocery store access and disease and obesity prevalence.

The demonstration of the new mapping tool follows First Lady Michelle Obama's launch of the Let's Move! campaign, a high-priority initiative to address childhood obesity within a generation. The food environment atlas will help to jump-start a national discussion on childhood nutrition, health, and well-being. The Food Environment Atlas is available online.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Demonstrates New 'Food Environment Atlas' Unveiled as Part of Let's Move! Campaign.


KSU Announces New CES Interim Dean/Director

Gary M. Pierzynski became on March 1 the new interim dean and director for Cooperative Extension Service at Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan. Pierzynski received his B.S. degree in crop and soil science and M.S. in environmental chemistry from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in soil chemistry from the Ohio State University in 1989. He has served as KSU's department head of agronomy since 2007. His can be reached at: Kansas State University, College of Agriculture, 2004 Throckmorton, Manhattan, KS 66506-5501; telephone: 785-532-6101; and fax: 785-532-6094.

FCS Stakeholder Input and Strategic Planning Meeting

A key group of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) stakeholders and experts came together February 9-10, in Washington, DC, to meet, dialogue, and provide strategic input on FCS research, education, and extension issues and opportunities at the federal level. Members of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities' Board on Human Sciences facilitated the meeting. A brief was developed and shared with participants. It contains an overview of the meeting, rationale, goals, and objectives; a list of invited and participating groups and representatives; and results and actionable strategies. Feel free to share the brief with colleagues and partners. Contact Caroline E. Crocoll, acting director for Nutrition and Family & Consumer Sciences national program leader in the F4HN unit, for more information or comments.

4-H Receives Funding for “GenLeap” Initiative

The Hampshire Council of Governments of Massachusetts and the Hampshire County 4–H are teaming up to organize and implement local 4–H clubs in Belchertown, Granby, Southampton, and Williamsburg in the project areas of Science, Engineering, and Technology with a focus on energy alternatives, efficiency, reduction, and recycling. The council is poised to expand in a number of directions, such as green energy, and this collaboration is an opportunity to build community awareness and results, engaging youth in topics central to their future well being. University of Massachusetts Extension 4–H Educator Thomas Waskiewicz said, “The Initiative will address research that shows that the emphasis on standardized testing often does not prepare young people to be proficient in science. To increase science competencies, teaching strategies need to be active and inquiry-based.” 4–H will recruit adult volunteer leaders and provide them with curriculum and support.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for March 24, 2010. Submit news items to mailto:newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by March 17, 2010.

Editor:  Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail message to Judy Rude. 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.