NIFA Update — September 16, 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 Nominations Selected for USDA Hall of Heroes
- NIFA Publishes Interim Rule and Request for Comments
- NIFA Welcomes New NPL
- NIFA Awards Help Colleges and Universities Serve Hispanic Students
- USDA Awards Support Research and Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- NIFA Currently Accepting Applications for Community Food Projects NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Recognizes Work of USDA Experts Who Served in Afghanistan and Iraq
- Secretary Vilsack Launches Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge
- USDA Seeks Applications from Producers to Conduct Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies
- USDA and DOE Partnership Seeks to Develop Better Plants for Bioenergy
- USDA Announces Next Steps on Sugar Beets
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Support for Public Safety, Community Centers, Public Schools and Health Care Facilities
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Statement on Strength of Rural Economy and Growth of Farm Exports/
Awards and Recognition
- Maring Honored as "Practitioner of the Year"
NIFA Nominations Selected for USDA Hall of Heroes
The 2010 USDA Hall of Heroes ceremony was held September 15. The two NIFA-nominated inductees were Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898) and Thomas Monroe Campbell (1882-1956).
Thomas Monroe Campbell (1883-1956) was the nation's first black agricultural extension agent. After receiving his training from Tuskegee Institute, Campbell worked to encourage modern agriculture and land-management methods among the rural farmers of Alabama. Campbell used the outreach tool known as the "Jessup Agricultural Wagon," which served as Tuskegee Institute's Movable School of Agriculture. Campbell used the transportable classroom to demonstrate improved methods of farming, which aided in economic improvement for black farm families. Campbell received awards and drew wide recognition for his service in the field of farming and rural life.
Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898) acted as the driving force behind the College Land-Grant Act, legislation which laid the framework for the highly productive, science-based agricultural systems still in place today. This legislation, known as the Morrill Acts, is complete with two governing principles: the equality of opportunity and the utility of knowledge. The Land-Grant Acts helped set up the nation's system of land-grant colleges, providing public land to each state that financed agricultural education. The second Morrill Act required that no funding be distributed to any state that differentiated education on the basis of race, or that did not issue funds equitably to parallel institutions.
The inductees were represented at the USDA Hall of Heroes induction ceremony by Roger Beachy, NIFA Director; Dennis Kopp, NIFA Assistant Administrator of Program and Analysis; Mervalin Morant, Tuskegee University graduate, NIFA national program leader for Soils and Soil Ecology, in honor of Thomas Monroe Campbell; and Karen Meyer, vice president for federal, state, and community relations, University of Vermont, in honor of Justin Smith Morrill. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the release.
NIFA Publishes Interim Rule and Request for Comments
NIFA has published program-specific administrative provisions in the September 9, Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 174, as an interim rule and asking for comments on the following federal assistance programs: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) as subpart G; the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI); and the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program (406), to supplement the Competitive and Noncompetitive Nonformula Federal Assistance Programs—General Award Administrative Provisions for these programs. Section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA or the ‘‘2008 Farm Bill’’) amended section 2(b) of the Act of August 4, 1965, Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act, to authorize the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences. This interim rule becomes effective on September 9, 2010. The agency must receive comments on or before November 8, 2010. Contact Ellen Danus, NIFA Office of Extramural Programs, Policy and Oversight branch chief, for more information. Additional details can be found in the Federal Register document.
NIFA Welcomes New NPL
Susan Shockey will be joining NIFA on October 12th as the national program leader (NPL) for Family and Consumer Economics. Shockey will provide national leadership to the research, extension, and education functions of the NIFA partnership on family and consumer economics issues. Prior to her NIFA NPL appointment, she served as an associate professor and family and consumer sciences educator at Ohio State University Extension. There she provided leadership in family and consumer sciences and family resource management through collaborations at the local, state, and national level. Shockey holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State College of Human Ecology in Family and Consumer Sciences Education Administration and Public Policy Management. She is certified in Family and Consumer Sciences. Her major research focus is on Individual Development Accounts, Financial Education, and the Trans-Theoretical Model of Behavior Change. She is affiliated with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Ohio Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Phi Upsilon Omicron, and Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. Shockey will be located in Room 4444 at the Waterfront Centre, and can be reached at 202-690-2674 after October 12.
NIFA Awards Help Colleges and Universities Serve Hispanic Students
WASHINGTON, September 15, 2010 - NIFA awarded 31 grants to Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSI) to enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to serve underserved students and develop a skilled work force. In FY 2010, NIFA’s HSI Education Grants program awarded approximately $8.8 million to HSIs spanning 6 states and Puerto Rico. More than $800,000 of the total funding will go directly to student scholarships to help them complete their chosen degrees. These institutions have an average Hispanic undergraduate enrollment of 49 percent and are located in areas with the largest growing Hispanic communities in the country. This is NIFA’s 14th year of funding, with more than $52 million awarded to 224 projects at 80 institutions since the program’s inception. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Awards Help Colleges and Universities Serve Hispanic Students.
USDA Awards Support Research and Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
WASHINGTON, September 9, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has awarded grants to strengthen the research, teaching, and extension capabilities at 18 historically black land-grant colleges and universities in an effort to recruit and train students for careers in agriculture.
“Our 1890 historically black land-grant universities play a critical role teaching students to meet the high quality, innovative research needs that are vital to the wellbeing of our nation’s food, fuel and fiber,” Vilsack said. “These awards mark a substantial investment in addressing the robust and varied research challenges facing American agriculture today, but more importantly it is also an investment in our future scientists and engineers, farmers and foresters.”
NIFA provides support to historically black colleges and universities that were designated as land-grant universities in the Second Morrill Act in 1890. Grants to these 1890 universities support research, extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of these schools. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the release USDA Awards Support Research and Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
NIFA Currently Accepting Applications for Community Food Projects
WASHINGTON, September 3, 2010 – NIFA announced the availability of nearly $5 million in funds for community-based food and agriculture projects through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program.
The primary goals of the Community Food Projects program are to (1) meet the food needs of low-income individuals; (2) increase the food self-reliance of low-income communities; (3) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm and nutrition issues; and (4) meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs, including needs relating to infrastructure improvement and development, planning for long-term solutions and the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers. Community Food Projects unite the entire food system, assessing strengths, establishing linkages, and creating systems that improve self-reliance over food needs. Applications are being solicited for Community Food Projects and Planning Projects until November 17, 2010. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Currently Accepting Applications for Community Food Projects.
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.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Recognizes Work of USDA Experts Who Served in Afghanistan and Iraq
WASHINGTON, September 8, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recognized the efforts of more than 20 USDA employees who served as civilian agricultural experts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The agricultural experts were part of the Obama Administration's commitment to provide civilian assistance abroad to help promote long-term economic development.
USDA agricultural experts began serving in Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2006 and work alongside civilians from the departments of State, Justice, and Interior, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Army National Guard. Currently, USDA has more than 90 personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. While the majority of agricultural and ministry experts have come from a dozen USDA agencies and offices from around the United States, others have come from a number of U.S. land-grant universities and State Departments of Agriculture.
The following individuals were recognized for their outstanding service in Afghanistan: Ryan Brewster, Nebraska; Ray Lehn, Iowa; Tim Powers, Virginia; Jeff Sanders, Tennessee; Greg Schlenz, Washington; and Pedro Torres, California.
The following individuals were recognized for their outstanding service in Iraq: Travis Auxier, Georgia; William Baker, Washington, D.C.; Glenn Brown, Missouri; Michael Clayton, Kentucky; Eric Dolbeare, Illinois; Mike Gangwer, Michigan; David Greaser, Pennsylvania; Franklin Johnson, Washington, D.C.; Jon Melhus, Washington, D.C.; Michael Neruda, Maryland; David Nisbet, Texas; Charles Russell, Ohio; Samuel Tabler, Arkansas; Justin Whitmore, Oklahoma; Fred Woehl, Arkansas; Floyd Wood, Virginia; Fred Kessel, Montana; and Chris Rittgers, Iowa. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Recognizes Work of USDA Experts Who Served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Secretary Vilsack Launches Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge
WASHINGTON, September 7, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge to improve school meals and the health of children across the nation through the creation of exciting new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus. The competition - part of the First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative - will draw on the talents of chefs, students, food service professionals, and parents or other community members working together to develop tasty, nutritious, kid-approved foods.
Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge teams will have the opportunity to submit original recipes that meet nutritional requirements in three categories: whole grain foods, dark green and/or orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas (legumes). Submissions must be taste tested by at least 30 students who participate in the National School Lunch Program. There will be a grand prize chosen by the judging panel as well as a Popular Choice winner based on public voting. The judges will also choose award winners for the top two recipes in each category. Winning teams will be invited to prepare their nutrition-packed meals alongside White House chefs. To recognize and share the culinary creativity nationwide the top ten recipes in each category will be published in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook to share with students and families. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Launches Recipes for Healthy Kids
USDA Seeks Applications from Producers to Conduct Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies
WASHINGTON, September 7, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of funding under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems for agriculture producers and rural small businesses. "Renewable energy production represents a promising revenue source for America's producers while meeting the nation's need for new sources of renewable energy," Vilsack said. "These grants will help encourage the development of viable renewable energy projects across the nation and help small business owners, farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers conduct feasibility studies that identify renewable energy opportunities."
Eligible feasibility studies for renewable energy systems include projects that will produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power, and hydrogen-based sources. The energy to be produced includes heat, electricity, or fuel. For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area, must be technically feasible, and must be owned by the applicant. More information is available on the REAP webpage. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Seeks Applications from Producers to Conduct Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies.
USDA and DOE Partnership Seeks to Develop Better Plants for Bioenergy
WASHINGTON, September 2, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced research awards under a joint DOE-USDA program aimed at improving and accelerating genetic breeding programs to create plants better suited for bioenergy production. The $8.9 million investment is part of the Obama Administration's broader effort to diversify the nation's energy portfolio and to accelerate the development of new energy technologies designed to decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil.
The research grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program focused on fundamental investigations of biomass genomics, with the aim of harnessing lignocellulosic materials--i.e., nonfood plant fiber--for biofuels production. Emphasis is on perennials, including trees and other nonfood plants that can be used as dedicated biofuel crops. Since such crops tend to require less intensive production practices and can grow on somewhat poorer quality land than food crops, they will be a critical element in a strategy of sustainable biofuels production that avoids competition with crops grown for food. Combining DOE's leadership in genome-scale technologies with USDA's long experience in crop improvement will help accelerate development of such specialized crops and improve their effectiveness as feedstocks for biofuels production. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA and DOE Partnership Seeks to Develop Better Plants for Bioenergy.
USDA Announces Next Steps on Sugar Beets
WASHINGTON, September 1, 2010 – The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the agency's next steps in response to a recent court decision on Roundup Ready sugar beets. "APHIS must chart a course for compliance with its statutory authorities and environmental statutes, such as National Environmental Policy Act, while USDA works to create the environment where all types of producers can and do produce all types of crops," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The steps we have outlined today not only respond to the concerns of producers while complying with the court's ruling, but also further USDA's continuing efforts to enable coexistence among conventional, organic, and biotechnology production systems." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Next Steps on Sugar Beets.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Support for Public Safety, Community Centers, Public Schools, and Health Care Facilities
WASHINGTON, September 1, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced investments in 28 states that will create jobs and improve needed infrastructure in rural communities across the nation. The projects are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). "These Recovery Act projects not only provide needed infrastructure in rural communities, they contribute to the Obama administration's continued efforts to create quality jobs," Vilsack said. "The Recovery Act is working. These projects, and others like them, are contributing to restore the American economy while improving the quality of life in towns and small cities throughout the country." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Support for Public Safety, Community Centers, Public Schools, and Health Care Facilities.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Statement on Strength of Rural Economy and Growth of Farm Exports
WASHINGTON, August 31, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement in response to two USDA reports that show the strength of the overall rural economy and growth in agricultural exports: "These reports are encouraging news. They show that while American agriculture has struggled through difficult economic times, the 2008 Farm Bill, the efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – and the hard work and resilience of America's farmers and ranchers have helped put American agriculture on the road to recovery. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read Secretary Vilsack’s full statement on Strength of Rural Economy and Growth of Farm Exports.
Maring Honored as "Practitioner of the Year"
Elisabeth Maring, faculty research associate and University of Maryland (UMD) extension specialist received the George F. Kramer "Practitioner of the Year" award. The award recognizes her outstanding job of putting theory and research into practice in community settings around the state of Maryland to make the home environment healthier both socially and physically for families. In addition, Maring developed multiple new initiatives to coordinate UMD Extension educators' involvement throughout the state to seek funding for research and programming for military families. She served as the evaluator for the Maryland New Communities Project, funded by the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk program. The award is given annually in honor of Dr. George Kramer for his involvement with the University of Maryland and the College of Health and Human Performance from 1950 through 1988.
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Roger Beachy, Director
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