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NIFA Update — April 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

  • AFRI Webinars Online
  • NIFA News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • Obama Announces Nominee for USDA Under Secretary For Research, Education and Economics
  • USDA Announces Initiative to Improve Agricultural Energy Conservation and Efficiency
  • USDA Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
  • USDA's FSA Reminds Producers to File Annual Report of Acreage
  • Merrigan Highlights First Graduating Class of Certified USDA Executive Master Gardener Program Volunteers 
  • United States, Gates Foundation, Partner Nations Announce Proposed Contributions to Global Food Security Trust Fund
  • Vilsack Makes Case for Stronger Rural America 
  • USDA to Update National Farmers Market Directory in 2010
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Dedicates Animal Health Research Facility
  • USDA Extends Sign-Up For Emergency Assistance to Eligible Producers
  • USDA Announces Grants to Expand Nutrition Help For Low-Income Seniors

Partners

  • Interim CES Director at VPI
  • America Saves
  • ISU Names Interim Director of Leopold Center
  • NERCRD Sponsors Webinar Series
  • New WAAESD Website

Awards and Recognition

  • NIFA Employees Certified Executive Master Gardeners
  • F4HN Staff Receives DOA Certificate

Mailbox
 

AFRI Webinars Online

The recent webinars for each of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Requests for Applications (RFAs) are posted on the NIFA website. They provide an introduction and overview of the RFA program areas. Please note that these webinars are not meant to replace reading the RFA documents. A webinar was also developed to describe opportunities available for 1890 universities, minority-serving institutions, and universities in USDA EPSCoR (Experimental Program for Stimulating Competitive Research) states. 

NIFA News

USDA Awards 20 HSI Education Grants to Strengthen Food and Agriculture Programs

Washington, April 16, 2010 – NIFA funded 20 educational grants totaling nearly $6 million to promote and strengthen the ability of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) to carry out higher education programs in the food and agricultural sciences. “Nearly one-quarter of the nation’s college-age population will be Hispanic by 2025, but too few Hispanic students are earning college and university degrees, especially in the fields of food and agriculture-related sciences,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. The HSI Education grants program, now in its 13th year of funding, provides support to HSIs to provide educational programs that attract outstanding underrepresented students to pursue careers in agricultural and food science related fields, such as natural resources management, food and nutrition, microbiology, biotechnology and sustainable engineering. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards 20 Education Grants to Strengthen Food and Agriculture Programs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

USDA Awards Grants to Develop Obesity Prevention Programs
Washington, April 13, 2010 – NIFA announced steps to develop and evaluate America’s obesity prevention programs. The goal is to identify the behavioral factors that influence obesity, in order to help prevent it. “The health of our nation depends on the health of our families and it’s imperative that we address the obesity crisis impacting our country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The $11 million in grants are being awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Human Nutrition and Obesity program to develop effective obesity prevention strategies along with behavioral and environmental instruments for measuring progress in obesity prevention efforts.  The program also promotes strategies for preventing weight gain and obesity. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards Grants to Develop Obesity Prevention Programs.

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program

May 6, 2010

James Parochetti

Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program

May 10, 2010

Audrey Trotman

Food Aid Nutrition Enhancement Program (FANEP)

May 13, 2010

Edwin Lewis

Rural Youth Development Grants Program

May 24, 2010

Nancy Valentine

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

June 1, 2010

Shirley Gerrior

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program

June 3, 2010

Dennis Kopp

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Grant Program

June 7, 2010

Audrey Trotman

Renewable Resources Extension Act-National Focus Fund Projects

June 8, 2010

Eric Norland

Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases

June 21, 2010

H.J. Rick Meyer

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using EarthSystem Models (EaSM)

June 25, 2010

Louie Tupas

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

July 28, 2010

Audrey Trotman


NIFA advertises all of its funding opportunities through "Find Grant Opportunities" on the Grants.gov website. 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.

Obama Announces Nominee for USDA Under Secretary For Research, Education and Economics

Washington, April 22, 2010 - President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Dr. Catherine Woteki to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics. She is a distinguished nutritional epidemiologist who has held senior positions in academia, the United States government, and in business.

Woteki currently serves as global director of scientific affairs for Mars, Inc., where she manages the company’s scientific policy and research on matters of health, nutrition, and food safety. From 2002-05, she was dean of agriculture and professor of human nutrition at Iowa State University. She served as the first under secretary for USDA Food Safety from 1997-2001, where she oversaw U.S. government food safety policy development and USDA’s continuity of operations planning. Woteki also served as the deputy under secretary for Research, Education and Economics at USDA in 1996. Prior to going to USDA, she served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as deputy associate director for science from 1994-96. She has also held positions in the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1983-1990), the Human Nutrition Information Service at USDA (1981-83), and as director of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences (1990-93). In 1999, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where she chaired the Food and Nutrition Board (2003-05). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in human nutrition from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1974, and received her B.S. in chemistry from Mary Washington College, in 1969. Visit the White House website for more information.

USDA Announces Initiative to Improve Agricultural Energy Conservation and Efficiency
 
Washington, April 22, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an initiative designed to help agricultural producers transition to more energy efficient operations. This initiative will make funding available for individual on-farm energy audits designed to save both money and energy when fully implemented. Approximately 1,000 on-farm energy audit evaluations in 29 states will be funded by $2 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in fiscal year 2010. The energy audits will be individually tailored to ensure coverage of each farm's primary energy uses such as milk cooling, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production facilities, manure collection and transfer, grain drying, and similar common on-farm activities. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Initiative to Improve Agricultural Energy Conservation and Efficiency.

USDA Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
 
Washington, April 22, 2010 – Marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 69 water and environmental projects will provide critical water and wastewater infrastructure improvements and help protect water quality and the environment in 36 states. "As citizens around the world celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, USDA is especially proud of our role in protecting the environment in rural areas and helping rural citizens gain access to safe and reliable drinking water," said Vilsack.

To protect the environment and improve the health of rural families, USDA Rural Development is providing $268.5 million in funding assistance to 69 water and wastewater infrastructure projects in local communities across the country through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) and other Water and Environmental Program funding. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day; Rural Communities Across America Benefit From Water and Environmental Infrastructure Projects, Improved Water Availability and Quality.

USDA's FSA Reminds Producers to File Annual Report of Acreage

Washington, April 22, 2010 - USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Jonathan Coppess reminds producers to submit their annual report of acreage to their local FSA county office to meet FSA program eligibility requirements. "Producers must file their reports accurately and timely for all crops and land uses, including prevented and failed acreage, to ensure they receive the maximum FSA program benefits possible," said Coppess.

Accurate acreage reports are necessary to determine and maintain eligibility for various programs, such as the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program and newer programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Programs include the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA's Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers to File Annual Report of Acreage to Meet Farm Program Requirements.

Merrigan Highlights First Graduating Class of Certified USDA Executive Master Gardener Program Volunteers 

Washington, April 22, 2010 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said that more than 300 gardens have been designated as 'The People's Garden' across the country and urged employees to continue making plans to plant additional gardens. Merrigan made this announcement as she delivered the commencement address to the first graduating class of certified USDA Executive Master Gardener Program volunteers. This commencement marks the beginning of the first ever USDA Department-wide volunteer program for 'The People's Garden' Initiative, which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack established on Feb. 12, 2009.

The USDA Executive Master Gardener Program is a condensed version of the Extension master gardener program and was a joint collaboration between 'The People's Garden' and USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This training program included extension specialists from the University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland, University of Kentucky, Texas A&M, New Mexico State University, and the University of Nevada. Sixty-nine USDA volunteers representing several USDA agencies participated in the intense, 7-week course during March and April. All participants were required to take 16 hours of training and receive a passing score of 75 percent or higher on the final exam. To participate in the program, USDA volunteers were required to commit to 40 hours this calendar year through a combination of training, continuing education, and volunteer service hours. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Merrigan Highlights First Graduating Class of Certified USDA Executive Master Gardener Program Volunteers

United States, Gates Foundation, Partner Nations Announce Proposed Contributions to Global Food Security Trust Fund
 
Washington, April 22, 2010 - A core group of finance ministers from the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Korea, as well as the leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met at the U.S. Department of the Treasury to announce an initial contribution of $880 million for a new fund to tackle global hunger and poverty and to discuss ways to foster additional contributions from the public and private sectors around the world. The new fund, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, will include a U.S. commitment of $475 million, a key element of the Obama Administration's initiative to enhance food security in poor countries. As fellow inaugural fund contributors, Canada pledged $230 million, Spain $95 million, South Korea $50 million, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $30 million.

"With the global number of chronically hungry reaching 1 billion, working together to put an end to the status quo and improve on past efforts is both a moral and economic imperative," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The financial commitments to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program will help address this critical issue in a meaningful and comprehensive way." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release United States, Gates Foundation, Partner Nations Announce Proposed Contributions to Global Food Security Trust Fund.
 
Vilsack Makes Case for Stronger Rural America 
  
Washington, April 21, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified on the status of the current Farm Bill and the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. In his remarks, Vilsack provided a national perspective on the challenges facing rural America based on his travels to rural communities throughout the country. He also discussed the state of agriculture today, the need for a strong farm safety net, and new approaches to create income opportunities and generate wealth in a stronger, more prosperous rural America for generations to come. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release and excerpts from Secretary Vilsack's prepared testimony Vilsack Makes Case for Stronger Rural America

USDA to Update National Farmers Market Directory in 2010

Washington, April 19, 2010 - USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is launching its latest campaign to collect information about farmers markets for the 2010 USDA National Farmers Market Directory, the official count of the nation's farmers markets. Farmers markets can be added to the directory by market managers, representatives of state farmers’ market associations, state departments of agriculture, farmers’ market personnel, and nonprofit organizations. Data collection for the 2010 USDA National Farmers Market Directory will continue through May 14 at: www.ams.usda.gov/2010farmersmarketdirectory. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA to Update National Farmers Market Directory in 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Dedicates Animal Health Research Facility

Ames, IA, April 19, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other USDA officials dedicated the National Centers for Animal Health. The cutting-edge center provides laboratories, offices, animal space, and administrative space for some of the nation's top animal health scientists and researchers. The dedication marks the completion of a long-term project to consolidate three USDA units previously operated separately at Ames, resulting in better cost savings for America's taxpayers and employing about 700 people. The facility includes: the National Animal Disease Center, operated by USDA's Agricultural Research Service, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory and the Center for Veterinary Biologics, operated by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. All branches contribute to the nation's livestock industry by conducting research, diagnostics and training, as well as testing vaccines and evaluating veterinary biological products. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Dedicates Animal Health Research Facility in Ames, IA.

USDA Extends Sign-Up For Emergency Assistance to Eligible Producers

Washington, April 15, 2010 - USDA announced that it will accept applications for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses that took place in calendar years 2008 and 2009. ELAP sign-up ended on December 10, 2009, for 2008 losses, and on February 1, 2010, for 2009 losses. However, because of changes to program eligibility provisions, the Farm Service Agency is accepting late-filed applications for 2008 and 2009 livestock, honeybees, and/or farm-raised fish losses through May 5, 2010. ELAP, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, including losses due to blizzards and wildfires. ELAP assistance is for losses not covered under other Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs established by the 2008 Farm Bill, specifically the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. ELAP is being implemented to fill in the gap and provide assistance under other conditions determined to be appropriate. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Extends Sign-Up For Emergency Assistance to Eligible Producers of Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

USDA Announces Grants to Expand Nutrition Help For Low-Income Seniors

Washington, April 14, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will invest in pilot projects to increase access and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program, among low-income seniors. Award grants totaling approximately $8 million will allow state agencies to pursue innovative outreach and delivery pilot projects. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service is encouraging state agencies to submit grant applications for programs designed to boost SNAP participation among Medicare's Extra Help population. Extra Help, also called the Low Income Subsidy, is a program to help low-income individuals or couples with limited resources pay for their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Grants to Expand Nutrition Help for Low-Income Seniors.

Interim CES Director at VPI

Alan L. Grant is the new Interim Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, effective April 10. Grant received his Ph.D. and M.S. from Michigan State University in animal science and B.S. in animal science from Cornell University. He has served as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean since October 2009. His contact information is: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, College of Agriculture,104 Hutcheson Hall (0402), Blacksburg, VA 24061; telephone: 540-231-4152, and fax: 540-231-4370.
                                     
America Saves

America Saves is an ongoing nationwide campaign to encourage savings by low- to moderate- income households. Cooperative Extension and other government, business, and nonprofit groups offer America Saves locally. A component of this ongoing America Saves campaign was the 2010 America Saves Week when Americans were encouraged to assess their savings and participate in activities focused on savings needs, debt repayment, emergency savings, homeownership, education, and retirement. NIFA is a national partner in this activity. Through local efforts in 25 states, Extension encouraged citizens nationwide to catch the savings habit during America Saves Week. The America Saves Impact Report highlights the successes of this effort.

ISU Names Interim Director of Leopold Center

An Iowa State University sociology professor, Lois Wright Morton, was named interim director of ISU's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, following a nationwide search that ended without a candidate being selected. Her appointment begins on July 1. She will fill the position currently held by Jerry DeWitt, who served 5 years as director and is retiring after 38 years of service.

A rural sociologist, Morton has been an ISU faculty member for 11 years. She conducts research in areas such as farmer decision making; social connections of people and organizations; leadership development; and how people and communities work together to solve shared problems of natural resource management. With an appointment in ISU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension, her research is integrated into Extension programs. She teaches a course on sociology of environment to undergraduate and graduate students. Morton is project director for the Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative, an effort to build capacities in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska to respond to water quality problems and to improve understanding on the need for watershed-based planning approaches. The initiative is supported by USDA with more than $2.2 million. Morton also directs a program on developing farmer-led watershed groups in Iowa, also funded by the USDA. The program aims to develop local leaders for performance-driven management of water quality issues.

NERCRD Sponsors Webinar Series

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) is sponsoring a three-part webinar series: Local and Regional Food Systems:  Research and Extension Opportunities in the Northeast.” The series builds out from the NERCRD May 2009 conference “Enhancing Local and Regional Food Systems:  Exploring the Research, What Works, and What We Need to Learn.” The series will provide participants with an overview of the current research on local and regional food systems. It will also address in-depth issues and opportunities of particular interest to the Northeast. Webinars are set for the second Friday of the month, April–June, 10:30 a.m. – Noon EST. The webinars demonstrate new web-based learning methods that help scientists disseminate their most current research and thereby helping NIFA achieve its strategic goals related to children and adult nutrition, sustainable agriculture production, and new economic opportunities. Contact Stephan Goetz, NERCRD director, or Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader, for more information.

New WAAESD Website

The Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (WAAESD) has a new website. The former website should redirect users to the new site. Please change your favorite links for the association to: http://www.waaesd.org/.

NIFA Employees Certified Executive Master Gardeners

Four NIFA employees received graduation certificates from the USDA’s Executive Master Gardener program. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan presented the commencement address to the first graduating class of volunteers which included NIFA employees:  Ann Marie Thro, national program leader for Plant and Animal Systems (PAS), Jacqueline Harris-Wheeler, Office of the Director secretary, Lawrence Rutledge, information technology specialist for Information Systems and Technology Management, and Peter Arbuckle, program specialist for PAS. Sixty-five other enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and dedicated USDA employees completed the training requirements to become the inaugural class of Executive Master Gardener volunteers for the Secretary's People’s Garden Initiative here at USDA Headquarters. Volunteers will provide hundreds of hours this summer to make People’s Gardens possible. For more information about the Secretary’s People’s Garden Initiative visit the website.

NIFA is responsible for arranging technical training for the program, which was an abbreviated version of what the 95,000 Extension Master Gardeners undertook before graduation. Visit the web link for more information about cooperative extension's role in the Secretary's People's Garden Initiative.

F4HN Staff Receives DOA Certificate

Brent Elrod, Families, NIFA 4-H and nutrition program specialist, accepted a Department of the Army Certificate of Achievement authorized by Reuben D. Jones, Major General, U.S. Army, Commanding, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Elrod was recognized for serving in a developmental assignment to the Family Program Directorate, where he “extended the arm of support to survivors, wounded, ill and injured, exceptional family members, and those affected by deployment into the of cooperative extension universities. His strategic leadership has welded the best of our two agencies.”

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for May12, 2010. Submit news items to mailto:newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by May 5, 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.