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NIFA Update — August 18, 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 Soliciting Comments on Revised Administrative Guidance and Teleconference Information

  • NIFA Solicitation Published in Federal Register

  • NIFA Signs IRW MOU

  • NIFA NPLs Brief White House Council

  • New AIC National Program Leader

  • EOS Welcomes New Program Specialist

  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members to Beginning Farmer Committee

  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Statement on Passage of the Health Hunger-Free Kids Act


  • SDSU Appoints Interim AES Associate Dean/Director

  • VSU Names New President

  • AgrAbility — A Program That Works


  • NIFA NHCPPG Creates eXtension Wiki

Awards and Recognition

  • Welsh Receives SNE President’s Award

  • Food Safety Team Receives Honor Award

  • NIFA Staff Receives ASABE President’s Citation


NIFA Soliciting Comments on Revised Administrative Guidance and Teleconference Information

NIFA has issued a revised Administrative Guidance for Multistate Extension Activities and Integrated Research and Extension Activities as interim with a 60-day comment period in the August 12, Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 155. The Administrative Guidance was revised to address the findings and recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General Audit Report no. 13001–3–Te: “Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service’s Implementation of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA),” and to clarify policies and procedures associated with these requirements. Section 105 of AREERA amended the Smith-Lever Act to require that a specified amount of agricultural extension formula funds be expended on multistate extension activities. Section 204 of AREERA amended the Hatch Act and Smith-Lever Act to require that a specified amount of agricultural research and extension formula funds be expended on integrated research and extension activities. The interim Administrative Guidance is effective August 12, 2010. The agency must receive comments by October 12, 2010, for them to be considered in the final Administrative Guidance.

Ellen Danus, NIFA Office of Extramural Programs, Policy and Oversight branch chief, is hosting a teleconference to answer questions and provide information on the revised Administrative Guidance. The teleconference is September 1, 2010, from 1-3 p.m. EDT. Call in number: 800-988-9752; Pass code: 1983687. Questions may also be directed to AdministrativeGuidance@nifa.usda.gov. Additional details can be found in the Federal Register document.

NIFA Solicitation Published in Federal Register

NIFA published in the August 4, Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 149, a request for input from the public regarding (1) the assessment of methods and tools used by non-governmental organizations and international agencies to measure, characterize and describe nutritional gaps among populations served by U.S. humanitarian food assistance programs, including recommendations on how to improve such programs in the field at the lowest possible cost, and (2) the assessment of the most cost-effective technologies for the purification and supply of safe water which could be implemented in the field to benefit highly vulnerable populations, including recommendations on the most cost-effective and commercially available systems that require priority research assistance. All comments must be received by close of business (5 p.m. EST) September 3, 2010, to be considered. Additional information can be found in the Federal Register notification.


An interagency agreement between NIFA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR) was recently signed by Ralph A. Otto, NIFA deputy director and Robert A. Pietrowsky, director of IWR. The agreement provides a framework for collaboration in the fields of integrated natural resources and watershed management in support of the USACE IWR missions. The agreement is part of IWR’s efforts to strengthen collaboration with other federal agencies and universities for addressing water resource management issues, both domestically and internationally, and will enable IWR to work with researchers from land-grant universities and all NIFA partner organizations.

NIFA NPLs Brief White House Council

NIFA national program leaders (NPL), members of the USDA Women and Working Lands (WWL) group, recently briefed the White House Council on Women and Girls at their request. The briefing was based on the department’s report to the council and several activities WWL sponsored, which includes two department-wide brown bag seminars and a special forum on “Women and Working Lands: Past, Present, Future.” Christy Vilsack, wife of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, was the keynote speaker and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan was the moderator. 

WWL’s mission is to foster better coordination, partnership, and communication among the various USDA program areas and agencies reaching women who work the land (ranches, farms, woodlands), ultimately leading to increases in knowledge of USDA programs and increased participation and access to those programs. The WWL is chaired by Kitty Smith, Economic Research Service administrator, and co-chaired by Eric Norland, NIFA NPL in the Natural Resources and Environment Unit, and Lana Cusick, Risk Management Agency. Other NIFA NPL members of WWL are Jim Dobrowolski, Natural Resources and Environment Unit, and Caroline Crocoll, Families, 4-H, and Nutrition Unit.

New AIC National Program Leader

Ray Ali joins the Science and Education Resources Development (SERD) unit as the new national program leader for Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC). Ali received a B.S. in biology (minors in chemistry, history, and philosophy of science) and a M.A. in teaching - secondary science education from the University of Pittsburgh. He obtained an Ed.D. in higher education leadership (minors in elementary and middle school science education) from Marshall University. He was the inaugural science and financial affairs teacher at the first public K-12 charter school in Pittsburgh, PA. With the re-designation of West Virginia State University as an 1890 land-grant institution, Ali joined the Cooperative Extension Program as an associate director and department head, where he led 4-H, youth, family, adult, and community education initiatives. Most recently, he served as the associate director for field operations of Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech, where Ali was also the diversity coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

EOS Welcomes New Program Specialist

The NIFA Equal Opportunity Staff (EOS) welcomes Nancy Corley, national equal opportunity program specialist. Corley joins staff members in planning, coordinating, and evaluating the overall NIFA equal opportunity programs, and providing operational accountability and compliance assurances for the agency. She will provide civil rights consulting support and training to land-grant universities and other recipient institutional partners.

Corley worked 7 years as coordinator of diversity programs and training at the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland. She developed Maryland Cooperative Extension’s first Limited English Proficiency Policy and has a special interest in intercultural issues. Her work experience focused on a broad spectrum of topics in the civil rights and equal opportunity area, including compliance reviews, training programs, program complaint, workforce diversity, personal leadership styles, and strategic planning as a response to meeting civil rights requirements. She received her undergraduate degree in anthropology/psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her M.A. in Human Resources Development from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. She can be reached at 202-720-8070, and is located in the Waterfront Centre Room 1210.


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.

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk 4-H Military Partnership

September 1, 2010

Lisa A Lauxman

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.


Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members to Beginning Farmer Committee

WASHINGTON, August 12, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. The Committee will advise the Secretary on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. They will also work to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers. “Beginning farmers are a key to 21st-century agriculture and I look forward to working with this committee to help ensure that,” Vilsack said. “These new agricultural entrepreneurs are the cornerstone to a vibrant rural America and to the future of all of agriculture. I will look to this committee to provide guidance to me as we prepare recommendations for the 2012 Farm bill.” Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members to Beginning Farmer Committee.


SDSU Appoints Interim AES Associate Dean/Director

South Dakota State University (SDSU) appoints Thomas M. Cheesbrough as interim associate dean/director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at SDSU, effective August 2.

Cheesbrough served as professor and head of the Biology and Microbiology Department prior to his appointment. He has a B.S. and M.S. degrees in botany from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue University. His contact information is: Agriculture & Biological Sciences College, South Dakota State University, SAG 135, Box 2207, Brookings, SD 57007; telephone 605-688-4149; fax 605-688-6065.

VSU Names New President

Keith T. Miller is the 13th president of Virginia State University (VSU) as of July 1. He is also authorized representative for VSU for all proposal submissions. Miller brings a wealth of knowledge in academics and business from the public and private sector to the position. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. His contact information is: Virginia State University, Office of the President, Box 9001, Petersburg, VA 23806; telephone: 804-524-5000.

AgrAbility — A Program That Works

A new paper documenting the success of the AgrAbility Program was recently released by the National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University’s Breaking New Ground Resource Center, Colorado AgrAbility Project, and Goodwill Industries International. Farmers and ranchers rank second among laborers with disabilities related to work injuries. The paper provides new statistics and data that evaluates results and impacts of the national, state, and regional AgrAbility programs. Farmers, ranchers, and their families have increased ability to manage their ranches and farms successfully, complete chores, and operate machinery. They also reported being able to live on their farms or ranches independently and have better access to their workplace after receiving help from AgrAbility programs. NIFA provides federal funding under the AgrAbility programs.


NIFA NHCPPG Creates eXtension Wiki

The NIFA Nutrition and Health Committee for Program Planning and Guidance (NHCPPG) created a Wiki collaboration page to share nutrition and health resources with program specialists and others. This one-stop web page is found on the eXtension website. To view currently posted resources visit the eXtension website. To submit a resource for the collection, go to the online submission form and send in a form for each resource submitted. Contact Susan Welsh, NIFA national program leader for nutrition, for more information.


Welsh Receives SNE President’s Award

Susan Welsh, NIFA national program leader for nutrition in the Families, 4-H, and Nutrition Unit, received the distinguished President’s Award from Geoff Greene, president of the Society of Nutrition Education at their Annual Conference in Reno, NV. She received the award for her dedicated service to nutrition education and the society. The society, which began in 1968, is the premier professional association for nutrition education researchers and practitioners.

Food Safety Team Receives Honor Award

The Food Safety Education Conference Team (FSECT) lead by Robert T. Tuverson, director of the Food Safety and Inspection Services’ Food Safety Education Staff, received on the team’s behalf an Honor Award from the Secretary of Agriculture at the Annual Awards Ceremony, August 3. The team was cited “for extraordinary dedication and accomplishment in protecting public health through development, planning, and execution of the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference – Advancements in Food Safety Education: Trends, Tools, and Technologies.” Jan Singleton, NIFA national program leader for the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative and food science and technology in the Plant and Animal Systems Unit, represents NIFA on the Food Safety Team.

NIFA Staff Receives ASABE President’s Citation

Hongda Chen, NIFA national program leader for bioprocessing engineering/nanotechnology, Richard Hegg, NIFA national program leader for manure & nutrient management, and Bradley Rein, NIFA director - processing, engineering & technology, all with the Plant and Animal Systems Unit, were recently awarded the President’s Citation during the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. They were recognized for their support of ASABE within USDA and other federal 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 September 1. Submit news items to mailto:newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by August 25.

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.