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NIFA Update — June 9, 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

  • REE Mission Area Staff Update
  • AFRI Stakeholder Meeting
  • NIFA News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • USDA Issues Final Rule for Conservation Stewardship Program 
  • Obama Administration Hosts National Rural Summit
  • USDA Provides Funding to Rehabilitate Farmland Damaged by Natural Disasters
  • Vilsack Statement on USDA Forecast for Second-Highest Export Level in History 
  • Rural Communities Benefit From Recovery Act Projects in 26 States 
  • Vilsack Announces Funding to Increase Economic Opportunity in Rural, Native American Communities
  • USDA Announces Availability of Compliance Guide for Mobile Slaughter Units
  • USDA/DOJ Hold Competition Workshop Focused On Issues in the Poultry Industry
  • Vilsack Announces Alabama Grants To Minority Farmers — Also Celebrated New Memorandum with 1890 Universities at Student Roundtable

Partners

  • Ag Grads to See Better Job Opportunities
  • EDEN Provides Support for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Extension Response

Mailbox
 

REE Mission Area Staff Update

Molly Jahn, acting Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE), who has provided interim leadership for the mission area, will return to her position as dean of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated, “On behalf of USDA, this administration and the American people, I want to thank Dr. Jahn for her hard work the last year, and we wish her the very best in her return to the University of Wisconsin.”

Ann Bartuska, Deputy Chief for Research and Development in the USDA Forest Service, will serve as acting Under Secretary for REE until confirmation of Catherine Woteki. Bartuska formerly worked for The Nature Conservancy, where she was executive director of the Invasive Species Initiative from 2001-03. She is an ecosystem ecologist with degrees from Wilkes College, Ohio University, and a Ph.D. from West Virginia University.

AFRI Stakeholder Meeting

NIFA hosted a public meeting on June 2 in Washington, DC, to solicit input from stakeholders regarding the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program.  The meeting drew nearly 75 participants, with more than 30 presentations from stakeholders representing themselves, scientific societies, commodity and trade organizations, and other groups.   

All stakeholder comments received by June 7 will be evaluated by NIFA staff and used in the preparation of the Fiscal Year 2011 Requests for Applications, which NIFA expects to release in December 2010.

NIFA News

NIFA Releases Fiscal Year 2009 AFRI Annual Synopsis

Washington, June 8, 2010 – NIFA released the first Annual Synopsis for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program, which awarded more than $176 million in 470 research, education, and extension grants in fiscal year (FY) 2009.

FY 2009 was the first year that NIFA administered the AFRI program, which was created by the 2008 Farm Bill. AFRI solicited competitive grant applications in 40 programs, addressing the areas of plant and animal health and production; plant and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agricultural systems and technology; and agricultural economics and rural communities. For additional FY 2009 funding highlights, please view the full report.

In March 2010, NIFA released the FY 2010 AFRI request for applications, which made available $262 million that will address five societal issues: global hunger and food security, childhood obesity, food safety, climate change, and sustainable energy. More information is available on the NIFA web site. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to view NIFA Releases Fiscal Year 2009 AFRI Annual Synopsis.

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.

Critical Agricultural Materials

June 14, 2010

Carmela Bailey

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

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Organic Transitions 

July 1, 2010

Mary Monnig Peet

Expert Integrated Pest Management Decision Support System

July 6, 2010

H.J. Rick Meyer

Rangeland Research Program

July 7, 2010

James P Dobrowolski

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

July 28, 2010

Maurice Dorsey

Biomass Research and Development Initiative Competitive Grants Program
(Note: Pre-applications due July 13)

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.

USDA Issues Final Rule for Conservation Stewardship Program

Washington, June 3, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA published the final regulations governing the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP is a voluntary program that offers payments to producers who exercise good land stewardship and want to improve their conservation performance. "Voluntary conservation practices by private landowners and producers are an essential part of our effort to improve soil and water quality," said Vilsack. "Broad and diverse participation in the CSP program will provide producers with many benefits such as enhancing wildlife habitat and helping to mitigate the impact of climate change."

Vilsack also announced that the enrollment period for CSP's second year has been extended, now closing June 25, 2010. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Issues Final Rule for Conservation Stewardship Program.

Obama Administration Hosts National Rural Summit

Hillsboro, MO, June 3, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack held the Obama administration's National Summit of Rural America at Jefferson College with agricultural leaders, farmers, ranchers, community leaders, and rural residents who shared their visions and ideas to rebuild and revitalize rural America. This summit culminates the Rural Tour that Vilsack led last year to 22 states. Vilsack discussed many of the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities throughout the country and he encouraged participants to think boldly about the future. "A strong American economy depends on a prosperous rural America," said Vilsack.

Vilsack continued to outline the framework for building a strong, revitalized rural economy for the 21st century. He also detailed the Obama administration's commitment to job creation in rural communities and made several announcements to support rural businesses and cooperatives. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Obama Administration Hosts National Rural Summit.

USDA Provides Funding to Rehabilitate Farmland Damaged by Natural Disasters

Washington, June 1, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds are available to farmers and ranchers in 14 states to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters in 2010. "These funds will help producers recover from several potentially devastating events and further USDA's ongoing efforts to maintain a healthy agricultural economy that conserves our environment," said Vilsack. Eligible producers in 11 states will use the more than $12 million of ECP funds to remove farmland debris, restore fences, grade and shape land, and repair conservation structures that were damaged by floods, tornadoes, or wildfires and to carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Provides Funding to Rehabilitate Farmland Damaged by Natural Disasters.

Vilsack Statement on USDA Forecast for Second-Highest Export Level in History 

Washington, May 28, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the most recent U.S. Agricultural Trade Outlook Forecast for fiscal year 2010: "Today's strong economic report is good news for communities across the country, not only because of the increasing opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers to sell their products overseas, but also because of the importance of agricultural exports to the American economy. With each $1 billion in exports supporting 8,000 to 9,000 jobs at home, efforts to increase trade are an important part of the administration's effort to strengthen our economy here at home.” The report can be seen on FAS website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Statement on USDA Forecast for Second-Highest Export Level in History.

Rural Communities Benefit From Recovery Act Projects in 26 States

Washington, May 26, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that rural communities across 26 states will benefit from enhanced public safety services through the construction of facilities and purchase of equipment funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). "President Obama's highest priority is to keep the American people safe and the public safety projects demonstrate the administration's continued efforts to protect and save lives while also providing necessary infrastructure and creating jobs for rural residents throughout the country," Vilsack said.

USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities program is providing $33 million in funding assistance to 74 community facility public safety projects. These facilities include child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings, and transportation. USDA ensures through this program that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Indian tribes. More information can be found on the USDA Rural Development website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Rural Communities Benefit From Recovery Act Projects in 26 States.

Vilsack Announces Funding to Increase Economic Opportunity in Rural, Native American Communities

Washington, May 26, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has selected 27 projects to receive grants to help fund rural businesses, start new businesses, save and create jobs, and train workers in Native American communities in 12 states. "USDA is working to ensure that members of tribes have the tools they need to create a livelihood, expand economic opportunity, and improve their quality of life," Vilsack said. "The grants announced represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen tribes and support sustainable business opportunities."

The $3.4 million in grants is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs. More information about this program can be found on the Rural Development website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Announces Funding to Increase Economic Opportunity in Rural, Native American Communities.

USDA Announces Availability of Compliance Guide for Mobile Slaughter Units

Washington, May 24, 2010 - As part of the USDA’s 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the availability of the compliance guide for mobile slaughter units. This document presents recommendations and is not a regulatory requirement. FSIS will post this compliance guide on its Significant Guidance Documents webpage. "USDA is excited to offer this help to small producers and encourages establishments who own or manage mobile slaughter units to use this guidance document to help meet food safety regulatory requirements," said Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande. "Food must be safe, regardless of where it is produced, and FSIS has worked with mobile unit operators to develop inspection procedures tailored to their needs."

The Mobile Slaughter Use Compliance Guide is intended for owners and managers of a new or existing red meat or poultry mobile slaughter unit who want their establishment to come under federal inspection and continue operations in accordance with FSIS regulations. Mobile slaughter unit operators are subject to the same regulatory requirements that apply to a fixed ("brick and mortar") facility. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Availability of Compliance Guide for Mobile Slaughter Units.

USDA/DOJ Hold Competition Workshop Focused On Issues in the Poultry Industry

Washington, May 21, 2010 - USDA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) held the second of five joint public workshops on competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The workshop, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, focused on issues in the poultry industry, and featured panel discussions on poultry grower issues and trends in poultry production. It also included opportunities for public comments. "Secretary Vilsack and I are committed to improving our understanding of how particular agricultural markets function," said Holder.

The series of workshops will continue over the next several months. The workshops are the first-ever to be held by the DOJ and USDA to discuss competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. The goals of the workshops are to promote dialogue and foster learning, as well as to listen to and learn from people involved in agriculture. Additional information about the workshops can be found on the DOJ website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA/DOJ Hold Competition Workshop Focused on Issues in the Poultry Industry.

Vilsack Announces Alabama Grants To Minority Farmers — Also Celebrated New Memorandum with 1890 Universities at Student Roundtable

Normal, AL, May 21, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced, at a student roundtable on the campus of Alabama A&M University, that USDA is awarding $1.1 million in grants to three Alabama institutions through USDA's Outreach and Technical Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, or '2501,' program.

The primary purpose of the 2501 program is to enhance the coordination of outreach, technical assistance, and education efforts to reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and to improve their participation in the full range of USDA programs. Vilsack also highlighted USDA's long history of working with the 1890 land-grant universities to ensure they succeed in educating the next generation of leaders in food and agriculture. The secretary announced that a week earlier he signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the USDA and the 1890s Council of Presidents. The MOU reaffirms, engages, and sustains the partnership between the 1890 land-grant universities, Tuskegee University, and USDA. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Vilsack Announces Alabama Grants To Minority Farmers — Also Celebrated New Memorandum with 1890 Universities at Student Roundtable.

Ag Grads to See Better Job Opportunities

College graduates in agriculture and related academic fields are expected to find better employment opportunities over the next 5 years compared to available jobs in 2005-10, according to a recent report by Purdue University and NIFA.

The agricultural, food, and renewable natural resources sectors of the U.S. economy will generate an estimated 54,400 jobs each year for individuals with bachelors or higher degrees in food, renewable energy, and environmental specialties between 2010 and 2015, the report shows. The majority of the new jobs, 74 percent, will be in business and science occupations; 15 percent in agriculture and forestry production; and 11 percent in education, communication, and governmental services.

During the next 5 years, 5 percent more college graduates with expertise in agricultural and food systems, renewable energy, and the environment will be needed than in 2005-10, according to the report. More than enough graduates will likely be available during the next 2 years in some occupations; however, a shortfall of new graduates with preparation in science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) specialties is forecasted. The strongest demand is for graduates with college degrees and related work experiences in STEM areas in agriculture, forestry, and environmental science from 2010-2015. Annually, an average of 29,300 graduates is expected from colleges of agriculture and life sciences, forestry and natural resources, and veterinary medicine. These individuals will compete for positions with approximately 24,200 qualified graduates each year from allied fields, including biological sciences, engineering, health sciences, business, and communication. Visit the Purdue University website to read the full report.

EDEN Provides Support for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Extension Response

The Cooperative Extension System, working through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), has been addressing the needs of Gulf Coast citizens and affected communities in regard to the damage and impending risks resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. EDEN has been part of the picture since early on. The Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant directors in the Gulf Coast region recognized the strategic nature of the EDEN website and the EDEN network of state extension workers, and immediately designated the website as the central location for extension multistate task force work regarding this disaster.

Extension directors in the Gulf States have organized several multistate task forces to address oil spill issues, composed of extension and Sea Grant subject matter specialists. These taskforces were organized around three general topic areas of: 1) damage assessments and disaster assistance; 2) family and community educational needs; and 3) human health, food safety, and environmental quality. A fourth task force, communications, was given the charge to help coordinate and distribute messages that are released to the public. In addition to providing educational content for extension and community educators, content is also being developed for the public and posted to the EDEN website.

To extend its outreach to the public, extension specialists are establishing an Oil Spill community of practice on eXtension. In addition to news articles for release on this website, extension specialists and land-grant university scientists are also developing feature articles, fact sheets/articles, and FAQs with answers to populate the growing body of information on the EDEN and eXtension websites.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for June 23. Submit news items to mailto:newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by June 16.

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.