NIFA Update — June 24, 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.
- CYFAR Sustainable Community Project Grant Recipients
- NIFA RRDCs Release 2009 Annual Reports
- NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- Solicitation Notice for NAREEEA Board Members
- Membership Solicitation for Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics
- Three Federal Agencies Partner to Provide Work for Youth
- NASS Seeks Public Input on Future Energy Program
- Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar Announce Readiness for Wildfire Season
- Public Comment Period Opens on Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report
- USDA Releases Final Draft Crop Insurance Agreement
- USDA's Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 15
- A Child Born in 2009 Will Cost $222,360 to Raise, According to USDA Report
- USDA Announces Grants to Help End Hunger in America
- USDA Announces Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
- USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases
- USDA's FSIS Announces Public Meetings to Gather Input on New Draft Validation Guidance
- Southern Rural Development Center Releases RFP
Awards and Recognition
- McGirr Receives AIARD Distinguished Service Award
- Kathir Embassy Fellow Attending International Conference
- Building Resilient Communities Program Wins National and Regional Award
2010 CYFAR Sustainable Community Project Grant Recipients Announced
NIFA’s 4-H National Headquarters awarded eight new Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) grants to outstanding youth and family development programs being developed by land-grant universities across the nation. Grants will be funded up to $660,000 over the course of 5 years. Each year CYFAR grants help vulnerable American communities, families, and youth develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary to have fulfilling, contributing lives. The new projects join the 41 other previously funded CYFAR Sustainable Community Projects (SCP).
2010 CYFAR SCP recipients include:
- Angela Taylor, Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, Strengthening Families
- Carol Fink, Kansas State University, Empowering Kansas Youth to Improve Their Physical Health
- Cathleen Love, University of Connecticut, 4-H Teen Urban Gardening Project
- Daniel Weigel, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Literacy First
- Eboni Baugh, University of Florida, Grandfamily Resilience and Sustainability Program
- Kimberly Burgess-Neloms, Alabama A&M University, Teens Making Impact
- Laura Bovitz, Rutgers, Niños Fuertes, Communidades Mas Fuertes (Strong Kids, Stronger Communities) Positive Youth Development in Latino Urban Communities
- Maureen Toomey, University of Idaho, 4-H Afterschool Outreach for Rural or Isolated At-Risk Communities
Visit the Communities at Risk website for more information on NIFA programs.
NIFA RRDCs Release 2009 Annual Reports
The NIFA Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) recently released annual reports for 2009, which can be found on the individual center’s website. RRDCs play a unique role in services to rural America. They link the resources of the nation’s public research and extension universities with communities, decisionmakers, entrepreneurs, families, farmers, and ranchers to help address a wide range of rural development issues across the country. RRDCs bring together the most innovative minds from inside and outside universities to address cutting-edge issues without regard to state boundaries. Although much of their work is national in scope, each center tailors programs to address particular needs in its region. The specific programs and focus areas of each center are described in their annual reports:
Contact Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader, for more information about RRDCs and NIFA’s work in regional science and rural development.
NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
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.
Solicitation Notice for NAREEEA Board Members
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., USDA published in the June 9, Federal Register the notice of solicitation for nominations to fill nine vacancies on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEEA). Appointments will be made for 2- or 3-year terms to maintain the approximate one-third change in membership each year dictated by the original legislation. The nine slots to be filled include:
- National Food Animal Science Society
- National Crop, Soil, Agronomy, Horticulture, or Weed Science Society
- 1862 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities
- 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities
- American Colleges of Veterinary Medicine
- Rural Economic Development
- National Consumer Interest Group
- National Forestry Group
- National Conservation or Natural Resource Groups
Nominations are being solicited from organizations, associations, societies, councils, federations, groups, and companies that represent a wide variety of food and agricultural interests throughout the country. The nominee’s name, resume, completed Form AD–755, and any letters of support must be submitted by July 9 to: USDA/NAREEEA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 321–A, Whitten Building, Washington, DC 20250–0321. Contact David Kelly, Acting Executive Director, NAREEA, telephone: 202–720–4421; fax: 202–720–6199, for more information.
Membership Solicitation for Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics
USDA’s National Agriculture Statistical Service is soliciting nominations for 20 seats on the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. The announcement appeared in the Federal Register (75 FR 34972, June 21, 2010).
The committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on the scope, timing, content, etc., of the periodic censuses and surveys of agriculture, other related surveys, and the types of information to obtain from respondents concerning agriculture. The committee also prepares recommendations regarding the content of agriculture reports and presents the views and needs for data of major suppliers and users of agriculture statistics.
Nominations should include the following information: Name, title, organization, address, telephone number, and email address. Each nominee is required to complete an Advisory Committee Membership Background Information form. This form may be requested by telephone, fax, or email using the information below. Forms will also be available from the NASS website. Nominations must be received by July 9 to be assured of consideration.
Mail nominations to: Joe Reilly, Associate Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 5041A South Building, Washington, DC 20250–2000. In addition, nominations may be mailed electronically to HQ_OA@nass.usda.gov; telephone: 202–720–4333; fax: 202–720–9013.
Three Federal Agencies Partner to Provide Work for Youth
NEW YORK, June 21, 2010 - Leaders from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Interior, and Agriculture joined June 20 in New York City at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit to announce the launch of a $20 million federal grant opportunity and implementation of an initiative designed to help disadvantaged youth prepare for jobs in the outdoors. Through a national grant competition, funds will be awarded to enable ex-offenders ages 18 to 24 to give back to their communities through service and conservation work, while simultaneously acquiring solid employment skills. The grant competition is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2010.
The program was unveiled by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget Rhea Suh; and U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman. The three agencies will begin their partnership by implementing a pilot program this summer to increase outdoor employment opportunities for youth. The pilot will target local workforce areas to place youth in Youth Conservation Corps and other summer employment opportunities on public lands. Some of those opportunities will include working at national parks and forests, conservation areas, historic sites, and tribal lands. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Three Federal Agencies Partner to Provide Work for Youth in the Great Outdoors.
NASS Seeks Public Input on Future Energy Program
WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 - The Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is seeking stakeholder input as it develops an annual program to collect and publish data about agriculture's production and use of renewable energy. "With growing national interest in energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, there is a need for solid data about how the agriculture sector is generating and using renewable energy," said NASS Associate Administrator Joseph T. Reilly.
A notice in the June 21 Federal Register includes details about the opportunity for interested individuals and organizations to provide input to NASS. Additional information, including an online comment form, is available on the NASS website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release NASS Seeks Public Input on Future Energy Program.
Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar Announce Readiness for Wildfire Season
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar outlined the federal government's readiness for the wild land fire season to ensure protection for communities and restoration of forests and grasslands across the country. The Secretaries described federal capability to respond to wildfires that are becoming more complex and extreme due to forest and rangeland health conditions, climate change, and population growth near wild lands.
From now to October, federal firefighters, aircraft, and ground equipment are strategically assigned as the fire season shifts across the country. Firefighting experts will continuously monitor conditions and move these assets as necessary to be best positioned for when large fires break out. Federal land managers are also helping communities prepare for wildfire. Federal partnerships with tribal, state, and local agencies strengthen preparedness programs, such as Firewise and Ready Set Go!, that help families and communities prepare for and survive wildfire. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar Announce Readiness for Wildfire Season.
Public Comment Period Opens on Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that public comments are now being accepted on the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 (Advisory Report). Individuals and organizations are encouraged to view the advisory report now posted along with public comments at the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion website. Written comments will be accepted from June 15 to July 15. Oral testimony may be provided at a public meeting to be held in Washington, DC, on July 8. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Public Comment Period Opens on Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.
USDA Releases Final Draft Crop Insurance Agreement
WASHINGTON, June 10, 2010 - As part of the administration's continuing efforts to reform the federal crop insurance program, reduce the federal deficit, and maximize taxpayer dollars, USDA released the final draft of a new crop insurance agreement and announced that $6 billion in savings has been created through this action. Two-thirds of this savings will go toward paying down the federal deficit, and the remaining one-third will support high-priority risk management and conservation programs. By containing program costs, these changes will also ensure the sustainability of the crop insurance program for America's farmers and ranchers for years to come.
USDA's Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, released the final draft version of the new Standard Reinsurance Agreement, detailing the new terms, roles, and responsibilities for both the USDA and insurance companies that participate in the federal crop insurance program. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Releases Final Draft Crop Insurance Agreement.
USDA's Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 15
WASHINGTON, June 10, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that farmer and rancher candidate nominations will begin June 15 for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. The nomination period continues through August 2, with the election taking place between November 5 and the close of business on December 6.
To be eligible to serve on a FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election, and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. The form and other valuable information about FSA county committee elections are available on FSA’s website. Nomination forms for the 2010 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on August 2. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA's Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 15.
A Child Born in 2009 Will Cost $222,360 to Raise According to USDA Report
WASHINGTON, June 9, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released USDA's new annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, which finds that a middle-income family with a child born in 2009 can expect to spend about $222,360 ($286,050, if inflation is factored in) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next 17 years. This represents less than a 1 percent increase from 2008, the smallest increase this decade, which likely reflects the state of the economy. Expenses for child care, education, and health care saw the largest percentage increases related to child rearing from 2008, whereas expenses on transportation actually declined. This decline in transportation expenses on a child mitigated the increases in the other expenses.
The report by USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, issued annually since 1960, is a valuable resource to courts and state governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments. The report also states that family income affects child rearing costs. A family earning less than $56,670 per year can expect to spend a total of $160,410 (in 2009 dollars) on a child from birth through high school. The report notes geographic variations in the cost of raising a child, with expenses the highest for families living in the urban Northeast, followed by the urban West, and urban Midwest. Families living in the urban South and rural areas have the lowest child-rearing expenses. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release A Child Born in 2009 Will Cost $222,360 to Raise According to USDA Report.
USDA Announces Grants to Help End Hunger in America
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will invest in research, planning, and various hunger relief activities to help end hunger in America. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill, authorizes $5 million in funding under the new Hunger-Free Communities grants to deliver help to Americans in need. “Through these new Hunger-Free Community grants, our strong partnerships at the national, state, and local levels will be pivotal in providing better access to food and a more healthful diet for our Nation's most vulnerable," said Secretary Vilsack. Through the grants, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service seeks strategies that support the creation of Hunger-Free Communities by funding activities including food distribution, community outreach, resource development and other methods to make food more accessible to those most in need.
One million dollars will fund Planning and Assessment Grants to evaluate food insecurity in communities and develop strategies to become hunger-free. The remaining $4 million will support Implementation Grants for communities that already have a plan to end hunger and need resources for program implementation. The grants are available to public and not-for-profit organizations and require collaboration with one or more community partners. Grant applications may be submitted by email or through Grants.gov website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Grants to Help End Hunger in America.
USDA Announces Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is awarding funds to tribes, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations throughout the country to conduct training, outreach, and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. The awards are being made through the Outreach Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program, known as the "2501 program." "USDA and the Obama administration is committed to creating opportunities for Americans from all backgrounds," said Vilsack. "These grants will help develop programs to ensure that minority landowners have access to a full range of USDA programs, helping them increase their profitability and stay on the farm."
The primary purpose of 2501 program grants is to enhance the coordination of outreach, technical assistance, and education efforts to reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. These grants enable organizations to help farmers and ranchers successfully acquire, own, operate, and retain farms and ranches and to assure equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs. Local and regional impacts include participants setting up production and marketing cooperatives, improving environmental quality, and improving their profitability and sustainability. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.
USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the beginning of a 13-state survey of honey bee pests and diseases to be conducted cooperatively by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Penn State University (PSU). The survey will help USDA scientists to determine the prevalence of parasites and disease-causing microorganisms that may be contributing to the decline of honey bee colonies nationwide. "There has been a disturbing drop in the number of U.S. bee colonies over the last few years, while the demand for commercial bee pollination services continues to grow. This survey will help us to better understand the factors threatening our honey bees so we can take effective action to protect them and the crops that they pollinate," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The voluntary survey includes 350 apiaries across 13 states and will last through the end of the year. APHIS developed the survey protocol jointly with ARS and PSU and allocated $550,000, provided by Section 10201 of the 2008 Farm Bill, for the survey. Survey kits have been mailed to state apiary specialists, who will collect samples of bees and debris from the apiaries in their states. ARS and PSU scientists will test the samples for specific pests and pathogens. APHIS is particularly interested to know whether foreign mites of the genus Tropilaelaps have entered the United States. The survey will take place in Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Once all the samples have been analyzed, APHIS will summarize the results and post the summary on its website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases.
USDA's FSIS Announces Public Meetings to Gather Input on New Draft Validation Guidance
Comments on the preliminary draft are due June 19. FSIS will review the public comments on the preliminary guidance, and then announce an updated draft document in the Federal Register in July for a second round of comments. As part of the second comment period, FSIS will hold two additional public meetings. Each meeting will include presentations, a question and answer period, and a public comment period. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA's FSIS Announces Public Meetings to Gather Input on New Draft Validation Guidance.
WASHINGTON, June 4, 2010 - USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced it will hold a series of public meetings to discuss and receive public input on the agency's draft proposed guidance concerning Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Validation. FSIS made a preliminary draft of the validation guidance available in March in order to hear from the public earlier in the guidance development process, as requested by a number of stakeholders. The guidance does not create any new requirements on establishments, but rather clarifies existing requirements and provides direction on how processors, especially small processors, can meet them. "USDA is deeply committed to enhancing food safety in a way that supports small processors," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
SRDC Heads New Center
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has named NIFA’s Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) as its new Center for Targeted Food and Nutrition Assistance Research. Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, SRDC director and rural sociology professor at Mississippi State University, will serve as the center’s new director. The center will focus on the food and nutrition challenges of rural America’s racial and ethnic minorities, poor residents, obesity, and “food deserts” (places where residents have limited access to healthy, nutritious foods).
SRDC is one of two new centers ERS has established under its Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) program. The second is the Center for National Food and Nutrition Assistance Research at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin. It will sponsor research on such key programs as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the National School Lunch Program; and the School Breakfast Program.
Southern Rural Development Center Releases RFP
A Request for Proposals (RFP) by the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) for Targeted Studies was recently released with a July 15 deadline. Grants of up to $35,000 will be awarded. A webinar on the new center and the RFP will be offered June 23 at noon, central time. The 2010 geographic focus will be on the Southern region, but other areas are acceptable if compared with the South, its counties, and/or communities. Visit the SRDC website or contact Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader in Economic and Community Systems, for more information.
McGirr Receives AIARD Distinguished Service Award
Mike McGirr, NIFA national program leader for International Programs, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) at the 45th Annual Conference and 2009 Leaders Forum held in Washington, DC. The award honors individuals who have significantly contributed to AIARD's goals and objectives. The award was presented by Albert Ayeni, awards committee chair, who cited McGirr for his public service and innovative leadership in helping with AIARD's student programs, his work to promote international extension at home and abroad, and his overall effectiveness in linking NIFA's international programs with those of the land-grants universities.
Kathir Embassy Fellow Attending International Conference
Pushpa Kathir, NIFA program specialist in Competitive Programs and an Embassy Science Fellow, with the U.S. Embassy in Iceland, is representing the United States on the Advisory Board for the Atlantic Conference on Eyjafjallajökull and Aviation in Kefelavik, Iceland, September 15-16.This international conference will look at the effects of the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull on aviation and other issues. It is organized by Keilir Aviation Academy in cooperation with Keilir-Atlantic Center of Excellence, Iceland Ministry of Transportation, Iceland Aviation Administration, Icelandic Meteorological Office, Icelandair, the Association of European Airline, and the U.S. Embassy in Iceland.
Building Resilient Communities Program Wins National and Regional Award
The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) presented the “Building Resilient Communities” program its national award for excellence in community development work. NIFA National Program Leader Sally Maggard was also honored for her role in developing and advancing the program. Focused on building the capacity of low-wealth neighborhoods and rural communities to become more resilient when disaster strikes, this program uses diverse educational efforts to facilitate social interaction among stakeholders across all walks of life. Developed collaboratively by the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) and Cooperative Extension partners in five states (Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma), the program was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and NIFA. Roundtable and “bridging” meetings were organized in 10 community pilot sites chosen on the basis of disaster history and socioeconomic vulnerability. The objective was to cross lines of diversity and economic station that divide members of communities and hamper work on disaster awareness, preparation for disasters, and responses among diverse members of communities. NACDEP also awarded this program its Southern Regional Award for Excellence in Community Development Work, recognizing the role of the SRDC, SRDC Director Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, and Cooperative Extension in the pilot, Southern states in launching, coordinating, and evaluating the program’s impacts.
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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.