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NIFA Update — May 12, 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/APLU Seeks Nominations for Hatch Memorial Lecture
  • NIFA Soliciting Public Comments
  • New IT Specialist Joins ISTM
  • Nifa News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives
  • Public Review and Comment on Efforts by USDA and DON to Achieve Biofuels and Other Renewable Energy Goals 
  • Secretary Vilsack Reappoints Almanza as FSIS Administrator
  • Obama Administration Announces National Rural Summit 
  • USDA to Conduct First-Ever On-Farm Energy Production Survey
  • EPA/USDA Team Up to Promote Farm Energy Generation
  • USDA Announces Purchases of Commodities for Federal Assistance Programs
  • Secretary Vilsack Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers

Opportunities

  • Agriculture of the Middle
Mailbox
 

NIFA/APLU Seeks Nominations for Hatch Memorial Lecture

Each year NIFA joins with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to sponsor a lecture presented at the APLU annual meeting. The lecture honors one of the three most important historical figures of the Land-Grant University System, William Henry Hatch for research, Seaman A. Knapp for extension, and Justin Smith Morrill for whom the Morrill Act was named and which created the Land-Grant System. In 2010, the normal rotation would honor Justin Smith Morrill, however because 2012 marks the 150th anniversary passage of the Morrill Act, both NIFA/APLU have agreed to move the Morrill lecture to the fall of 2011, as a kickoff for the sesquicentennial celebration. NIFA/APLU seek nominations to honor William Henry Hatch, the Missouri Congressman who promoted federal support for the Agricultural Experiment Station System. The 2010 Hatch Memorial Lecture will be presented at the APLU annual meeting in Dallas, TX, on November 14.

Your help is needed to identify potential topics and a dynamic speaker who can provoke discussion among meeting participants and prepare a formal lecture. The lecture will be available on the NIFA website for public viewing. Please share this information with colleagues in the Land-Grant University System and outside the system, including stakeholders, foundations, public interest groups, or international organizations. Please submit ideas for potential topics and nominees before June 26 so we may complete our review and extend an invitation to the Hatch Lecturer. Submit all recommendations electronically to Jim Spurling, NIFA Public Liaison Officer.

NIFA Soliciting Public Comments

In Fiscal Year 2009, NIFA, formerly known as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), created a new research, education, and extension program called the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The AFRI process has been iterative. Pursuant to the requirements of section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, beginning in September of 2008 CSREES solicited public comment from persons who use or conduct research, extension, or education regarding the implementing regulation to be developed for this new program. In an effort to improve the quality of the AFRI program, NIFA is again holding a public meeting and soliciting public comments for consideration in the development of the FY 2011 AFRI program solicitations.

The meeting is June 2, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at the One Washington Circle Hotel, 1 Washington Circle, NW, Washington, DC, 20037. Notice of the meeting was published in the Federal Register on May 7. Additional meeting and comment procedures can be found in the Federal Register notice. All comments must be received by close of business June 7 to be considered. Contact Terri Joya, administrative officer for Competitive Programs Unit, for more information.

New IT Specialist Joins ISTM

Gidel H. Mendez is an information technology specialist in the Information Systems and Technology Management’s (ISTM) Policy, Planning, and Training branch. In this role, he supports ISTM’s Capital Planning and Investment Control, Enterprise Architecture (Business & Technical Transformation), Paperwork Reduction Act, and ISTM strategic planning activities. Mendez received degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science from the University of Puerto Rico and has over 14 years of experience leading technology operations and initiatives across large-scale, complex organizations. In 2007, he joined the U.S. Department of State where he managed the strategic planning direction and Capital Investment Planning Control supporting Federal Enterprise Architecture processes in Egypt, Philippines, Austria, and the United States. He also served as the chairman of the IT Governance Committee where he actively supported the development and growth of the operations and IT investment portfolio. He can be reached at 202–401-2655 and is located in Room 4142 at the Waterfront Centre.

NIFA News

USDA/NIFA, DOE Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 – NIFA and Department of Energy (DOE) jointly announced up to $33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. NIFA and DOE are issuing this joint funding announcement for several types of projects aimed at increasing the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products. The projects will aim to create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass. Advanced biofuels produced from these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50 percent, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Section 9008(e) (3) of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 provides direction and guidance on the technical areas addressed by the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). The technical areas are: feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis. BRDI requires that each proposed project integrate all three of the technical areas. The funding opportunity is available online at www.grants.gov. Pre-applications are due July 13 and must be submitted electronically. Applicants who are encouraged to submit full applications will be notified by September 9. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release USDA/NIFA, DOE Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative.

NIFA Accepting Applications for Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that NIFA, starting April 30, is accepting applications from veterinarians wishing to participate in the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which addresses veterinary shortages in rural America by repaying the student loans of qualified veterinarians in return for their services in areas suffering from a lack of veterinarians. “The lack of adequate veterinary services, especially in the area of food animal medicine, creates hardships for producers and endangers livestock throughout rural America,” said Vilsack. In return for a 3-year commitment of veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area, NIFA may repay up to $25,000 of student loan debt per year. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for the attendance at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or the equivalent. NIFA applications will be due June 30, and offers will be made by September 30. Application forms can be found on the NIFA website. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Accepting Applications for Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program.

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.

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

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program

June 15, 2010

Patricia Hipple

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

June 21, 2010

H.J. Rick Meyer

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using Earth System Models (EaSM)

June 25, 2010

Louie Tupas

Rangeland Research Program

July 7, 2010

James P Dobrowolski

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

July 28, 2010

Audrey Trotman

Biomass Research and Development Initiative Competitive Grants Program

November 15, 2010

Carmela Bailey


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.

Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting grant applications to assist small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas. Approximately $3.5 million in grants are available with funding being awarded through USDA Rural Development's Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program, which was authorized by Congress in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. It is part of the Department's ongoing effort to expand outreach to rural residents to ensure that all communities have equal access to USDA programs and services. Funding is available to cooperatives or associations of cooperatives where at least 75 percent of the governing board or membership has annual gross agricultural product sales of $250,000 or less in the last 3 years. Grants can be used for product improvements, business plan development, or economic development activities. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives to Become More Profitable and Efficient.

Public Review and Comment on Efforts by USDA and the Navy to Achieve Biofuels and Other Renewable Energy Goals

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have invited public comments on efforts by USDA and the Department of the Navy (DON) to reduce reliance on foreign oil, fossil fuels, and develop renewable energy sources that can be used to help power the U.S. naval fleet. "During our recently-concluded forums in Hawaii, our respective departments agreed that there should be a review and comment period to allow the American public the opportunity to explore and discuss the work and activities surrounding efforts by USDA and DON to develop renewable energy sources and systems," Vilsack said." The public is invited to visit the USDA website and offer their comments. Upon entering the site, please select "Hawaii USDA/Navy Energy Conference 2010" to view presentations, speeches, and other public materials from these forums. Comments will be accepted until June 4, and may be emailed to the address listed at the end of the webpage.

Secretary Vilsack Reappoints Almanza as FSIS Administrator

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Alfred V. Almanza as Administrator of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), overseeing the regulation of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. He has been in a limited-term appointment as Administrator of FSIS since July 2007. Almanza's FSIS career began in 1978 as a food inspector in a small slaughter plant in Dalhart, TX. Since that time he has served in a variety of positions throughout the agency, including deputy district manager, labor management relations specialist, and processing inspector. Prior to accepting the administrator position he was the district manager for the Dallas District, where he provided leadership and direction to more than 600 employees located in more than 350 federally-inspected establishments. The appointment is subject to final approval from the Office of Personnel Management. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Reappoints Almanza as FSIS Administrator.

Obama Administration Announces National Rural Summit

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2010 - The Obama Administration announced that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a National Summit of Rural America: A Dialogue for Renewing Promise. The day-long event will take place June 3 in Hillsboro, MO, on the campus of Jefferson College, near St. Louis. “This Summit will be an opportunity for rural Americans to share their vision for creating a more prosperous and promising future for rural America," said Vilsack. Summit participants will take part in plenary and breakout sessions on a multitude of issues that include rebuilding and revitalizing rural America, creating new jobs, improving infrastructure, improving farm competitiveness, and encouraging innovation in renewable energy. National policymakers will take the invaluable opinions and ideas from participants at the summit back to Washington for implementation into future program and policy discussions. Register to attend the National Summit of Rural America: A Dialogue for Renewing Promise by visiting the event website. Early registration is recommended as attendance will be limited to capacity constraints of the venue and breakout sessions. Members of the media should RSVP. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Obama Administration Announces National Rural Summit.

USDA to Conduct First-Ever On-Farm Energy Production Survey 

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2010 - USDA began the first national On-Farm Energy Production Survey on May 3. The most recent agriculture census counted more than 20,000 farms and ranches that were producing renewable energy via solar panels, wind turbines, and methane digesters. This survey will further explore how this energy is generated and used. "This survey is a chance for farmers and ranchers to highlight the steps they are taking to produce renewable energy within their operations, which is helping to reduce our dependence on energy from foreign sources," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is mailing the survey forms nationwide to farm and ranch operators who indicated on the 2007 Census of Agriculture that they were generating renewable energy. Recipients are required to respond by May 24 and NASS will publish the survey results in February 2011. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA to Conduct First-Ever On-Farm Energy Production Survey This Spring.

EPA/USDA Team Up to Promote Farm Energy Generation

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a new interagency agreement promoting renewable energy generation and slashing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations. The agreement expands the work of the AgSTAR program, a joint EPA-USDA effort that helps livestock producers reduce methane emissions from their operations. EPA and USDA's enhanced collaboration will provide up to $3.9 million over the next 5 years to help the farms overcome obstacles that prevent them from recovering and using biogas. The collaboration will expand technical assistance efforts, improve technical standards and guidance for the construction and evaluation of biogas recovery systems, and expand outreach to livestock producers and assist them with pre-feasibility studies. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release EPA Administrator and Agriculture Secretary Team Up to Promote Farm Energy Generation.
 
USDA Announces Purchases of Commodities for Federal Assistance Programs 
  
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA's plan to purchase $161.4 million worth of a wide variety of foods for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. The purchases will be for up to $40 million of beef products; $2 million of lamb products; $5 million of catfish; $32 million of fresh and processed apple products; $1.1 million of blackberries; $21 million of red tart cherries; $18 million of cranberry products; $5 million of dried figs; $9.3 million of dried plums; $18 million of potatoes; $7 million of strawberries; and $3 million of fresh and canned pears. A number of economic factors have led to surpluses, so these purchases will help alleviate the stress caused by higher inventories and low prices that farmers and ranchers are receiving for their commodities. In addition, these food purchases will help support local food banks and other national nutrition programs by providing a wide variety of products. Products include 100% fruit juices, fresh and processed apple products, and lean meat products. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Upcoming Purchases of Commodities for Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs

Secretary Vilsack Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is asking for nominations to the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. This committee will advise on how to provide outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, methods to maximize participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs and civil rights activities related to program participation. The committee, which was established by the 2008 Farm Bill, will be composed of not more than 15 members. Nominations should describe and document the proposed member's qualifications and must be received at USDA by May 24. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers.

Agriculture of the Middle

NIFA is hosting the Agriculture of the Middle webinar on May 26 at 2 p.m. (Eastern). G. W. (Steve) Stevenson, senior scientist emeritus with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Lucas Knowles, assistant to the USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, will present for discussion information on the decreasing mid-size farm trends. This is the fifth webinar in the agency’s Family Farm Forum series, which seeks to enhance discussion on important topics affecting small- and medium-sized family farms; highlight successful programs; identify relevant funding opportunities; and support research, teaching, and outreach activities that focus on America’s family farms and ranches.

To participate, go to the webinar site and sign on. There is a limit of 100 attendees. Previous webinars are available on the NIFA website. The Family Farm Forum newsletter highlights issues related to the topic as well as examples of research and outreach throughout the system. Contact Patricia McAleer, program specialist for Economics and Community Systems Unit, for more information.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for May 26, 2010. Submit news items to mailto:newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by May 19, 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 website.

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 SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call 800-795-3272 (voice) or 202-720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.