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NIFA Update — November 10, 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

  • SCRI External Review – Opportunity for Input

  • NIFA Now Accepting Proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program

  • USDA Announces Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Projects

  • USDA Community Food Projects Work to Build Community Food Systems and Improve Food Security

  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • Secretary Vilsack Announces Conservation Program Payments that are Boosting Natural Resources on Working Lands

  • USDA Announces Planting of Wheat Stem Rust-Resistant Seed in Afghanistan

  • USDA to Re-establish Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

  • Tribal Consultation Sessions to be Held Through December 

  • USDA Announces States That Meet the Trigger for ACRE Program

  • USDA Announces Grant for the National Women in Agriculture Association

 

Partners

  • SRDC Names Interim Associate Director

  • WRDC Rural Prosperity Videos   

  • SRDC Releases Research Brief on Food Assistance and Childhood Obesity

 

Awards and Recognition

  • Larew Receives Legacy Award from Oregon State University

Mailbox
 

SCRI External Review – Opportunity for Input

In September 2007, NIFA published a white paper describing its plan to implement the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). A key component was to conduct an external review of SCRI after 3 years to provide a strategic analysis of the program’s effectiveness and to ensure continued improvement of the SCRI Competitive Grants Program. NIFA is currently organizing that review.  

NIFA is requesting voluntary input from stakeholders as part of the review process. Topics include program administration (project types, size and duration of awards, application evaluation criteria, etc), program priorities, impact of funded projects, and impediments to successful participation in SCRI across the entire spectrum of eligible applicants. Results will be provided to the Specialty Crops Committee of the National Agricultural Research, Education, Economics, and Extension Advisory Board and will also be made available to the public at large.
Comments may be sent via email. To insure that stakeholder input is routed to the proper person, please include the text “SCRI External Review Team” in the subject line of the email. Written comments may be submitted to Policy and Oversight Division, Office of Grants and Financial Management, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, STOP 2299; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-2299. If written comments are sent, indicate in the text that they are in reference to the SCRI External Review. Comments are due November 30.

NIFA Now Accepting Proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2010 – NIFA is accepting grant proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) for projects to provide education, training, mentoring, and internships to beginning farmers and ranchers that will help them run successful and sustainable farms.

Applications are due to NIFA by December 22 and must be submitted through Grants.gov. The request for applications is available on the NIFA website. BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance, and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Under the program, which was established through the 2008 Farm Bill, NIFA makes grants to organizations that implement programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read NIFA Now Accepting Proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program.

USDA Announces Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Projects

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2010 - NIFA awarded 30 grants to enhance the ability of organic producers and processors to grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. NIFA awarded more than $18 million through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Research at USDA increasingly focuses on the science that supports development of sustainable practices in agriculture and forestry, including organic farming, to both reduce negative impacts on the environment and keep U.S. farmers competitive. For more OREI information, visit the OREI website.

Additionally, more than $4 million was awarded through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). In FY 2010, this program focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. ORG addressed practices and systems associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy), and organic systems that integrate plant and animal production. More information on the program is available on the ORG website. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Announces Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Projects.

USDA Community Food Projects Work to Build Community Food Systems and Improve Food Security

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 27 awards to local organizations to build community food systems and fight hunger and food insecurity. These awards were made through NIFA. “Fighting hunger and food insecurity in the United States is a top priority for the Obama administration,” said Vilsack.

Organizations that received awards were selected through NIFA’s Community Food Projects program.  The projects, totaling $4.8 million in funding, will fund food policy council training; urban agriculture; new farmers on preservation farmland; promotion of native food sovereignty; youth, urban and rural food production projects; and community food assessments. Community Food Projects have been funded in approximately 300 communities in 48 states during its 14-year history. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Community Food Projects Work to Build Community Food Systems and Improve Food Security.


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.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program

November 17, 2010

Elizabeth Tuckermanty

Biomass Research and Development Initiative Competitive Grants Program (BRDI)

November 17, 2010

Carmela Bailey

Robotics Technology Development and Deployment [RTD2] (R43)

Letter of Intent Due
November 20, 2010

Daniel Schmoldt

Regional Integrated Pest Mgt. – North Central

November 22, 2010

Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Mgt. – Northeastern

November 22, 2010

Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Mgt. – Southern

November 22, 2010

Michael Fitzner

Regional Integrated Pest Mgt. – Western

November 22, 2010

Michael Fitzner

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

Letter of Intent Due
November 30, 2010

 

Thomas Bewick

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

December 22, 2011

Siva Sureshwaran

Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program

January 18, 2011

Gregory Smith


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 Announces Conservation Program Payments that are Boosting Natural Resources on Working Lands

WASHINGTON, November 5, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will begin issuing Conservation Stewardship and Conservation Security Program payments this month to thousands of farmers and ranchers in all 50 states to help maintain and improve the natural resources on their land. The yearly contract payments totaling $500 million are authorized under the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. "By taking steps to enhance the quality of their land, farmers and ranchers are helping to preserve their land and their way of life for generations to come," Vilsack said. "These landowners should be commended for their commitment to environmental stewardship."

A total of $320 million in payments is associated with 20,500 new Conservation Stewardship Program contracts initiated in FY 2010. In addition to the Stewardship Program payments, a total of $180 million in payments will also be issued to honor the 15,000 older Conservation Security Program contracts for payments due in FY 2011. The majority of farmers and ranchers will receive their payments by mid-December. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Announces Conservation Program Payments that are Boosting Natural Resources on Working Lands.

USDA Announces Planting of Wheat Stem Rust-Resistant Seed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that 150 tons of wheat stem rust-resistant wheat seed was safely planted in Afghanistan. The seed, which originated from Egypt's Agricultural Research Center as part of a joint effort with USDA and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, is designed to help halt the spread of wheat stem rust that could threaten Afghanistan's most vital staple crop.

USDA obtained the seed under a cooperative agreement with Egypt's Agriculture Research Center and, in turn, donated it to Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) for use in a seed multiplication program led by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Recognizing wheat stem rust Ug99 as a threat to the security and stability of the Afghan people, the U.S. Department of Defense transported the seed across the Asian continent in a safe and secure manner. Once the seed is multiplied, MAIL will work to make it available in 2011 to over 60,000 Afghan family farmers. USDA scientists say that the donation will provide Afghanistan with 65 percent of its rust-resistant wheat seed stocks for the 2011 planting season. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Planting of Wheat Stem Rust-Resistant Seed in Afghanistan.

USDA to Re-establish Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

WASHINGTON, November 3, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting nominations to re-establish the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC) and six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees for Trade (ATAC). "USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative rely heavily on the individuals who serve on these committees to provide their expert advice on U.S. trade policy and priorities," said Vilsack."They will be an invaluable asset as we work to deliver economic and strategic trade benefits and opportunities to America's farmers and ranchers as we work toward doubling U.S. exports as part of the President's National Export Initiative."

The private sector advisory system was established by Congress in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and negotiation objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The system's three tiers consist of the President's Advisory Committee on Trade and Policy Negotiations, five general policy advisory committees (including APAC), and 22 technical advisory committees (including six ATACs). Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. on December 17, in the Office of Negotiations and Agreements, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Room 4133-S, Mail Stop 1040, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-1040. Visit the USDA Newsroom for more details and to read the full release USDA to Re-establish Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees.

Tribal Consultation Sessions to be Held Through December 

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2010 - USDA is marking National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month with a series of regional events intended to consult with members of tribes on a government-to-government basis. At each of the consultation events, senior USDA officials will provide attendees with an overview of their programs and participate in discussions with tribal leaders. "USDA is taking aggressive steps to conduct consultation sessions throughout the country and in a variety of ways in support of the 'Memorandum on Tribal Consultation' signed by President Obama last year," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Six USDA agencies are conducting consultation meetings on a variety of 2008 Farm Bill rules and emerging rules. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency, Food and Nutrition Service, Grain Inspectors Packers and Stockyards Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development have coordinated their consultation efforts. Agency officials will also be available to discuss other functions, topics, and program-related issues at the consultation events. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Tribal Consultation Sessions to be Held Through December.  

USDA Announces States That Meet the Trigger for ACRE Program

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the states that have met the revenue triggers allowing farmers to earn Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program payments on planted acres of corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, peanuts, lentils, dry peas, and upland cotton if the farms also met the revenue trigger. These ACRE crops are in addition to wheat, barley, and oats, which have been previously announced as meeting the revenue triggers in certain states.

"The ACRE program provides financial and risk management advantages to producers, and those who signed up for ACRE in 2009 will receive payments if state and farm revenue criteria are met," Vilsack said. Congress established ACRE as part of the 2008 Farm Bill to protect producers from farm market revenue declines. In order for producers to receive ACRE payments, revenue triggers for a commodity must be met on both a state and farm basis. A listing of the states that meet the revenue triggers for the 2009 crops of corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, peanuts, lentils, dry peas and upland cotton is available on the USDA website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces ACRE Program States That Meet the Trigger for Corn, Grain Sorghum, Soybeans, Peanuts, Lentils, Dry Peas, and Upland Cotton.

USDA Announces Grant for the National Women in Agriculture Association

OKLAHOMA CITY, October 26, 2010 – Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Victor Vasquez announced that USDA is awarding $101,981 in grant funding to the National Women in Agriculture Association to conduct training, outreach, and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. 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 Official Visits Oklahoma, Announces Grant for the National Women in Agriculture Association.

 

SRDC Names Interim Associate Director

The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) has announced Al Myles, economist and extension professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, as their interim associate director. Myles has served 26 years as an extension community development specialist, providing educational programs and technical help to residents, organizations, governments, and small businesses within the state and region. He specializes in the areas of feasibility and impact analysis, business development, retail development, tourism development, and facilities and services. At the SRDC, Myles is working on a Walton Foundation project looking at the economic impact of a charter school in Arkansas and on a wage and benefits survey in the Mississippi Delta. Myles received his B.S. in agricultural economics from Alcorn State University, M.A. in food and resource economics from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University. The SRDC is funded by NIFA and leverages this base funding with grants from other government agencies, private foundations, and nonprofit entities. Contact NIFA National Program Leader Sally Maggard for additional information on the SRDC and NIFA’s four regional rural development centers.

WRDC Rural Prosperity Videos   

The Western Rural Development Center (WRDC) presents a new series of videos on the current challenges and opportunities facing the rural West. Experts in diverse fields who serve on the WRDC Board of Directors are featured, including Dan Dooley, senior vice president of external relations and vice president of agriculture and natural resources at the University of California. Video segments include comments from Mike Harrington, executive director of the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, who discusses research to enhance the quality of life for Westerners; Sheldon Jones, Farm Foundation vice president, who discusses impacts from a growing world on agricultural communities; Kent Briggs, executive director of the Council of State Governments-WEST, who shares his views on issues facing the West; and Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader, who shares her views on big issues the West is facing that will shape rural development now and into the future. Visit the WRDC on You Tube to view the videos.  WRDC is funded by NIFA and is hosted by Utah State University.

SRDC Releases Research Brief on Food Assistance and Childhood Obesity

The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) announces a new research brief on federal food assistance and early childhood obesity. Amid growing concern over childhood obesity, policymakers wonder what role federal food programs can play in combating obesity in children. Approximately one-third of U.S. children are overweight and 16 percent are obese. Low-income children are at particular risk, as income has long been associated with obesity. In the new RIDGE Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series brief, "The High Price of Food Exacts a High Price on Low-Income Children's Weight," researchers Elizabeth Rigby, The George Washington University, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Rice University, discuss the impact of cost of living on childhood obesity. The report, which is part of the RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC, can be located on the SRDC website. The SRDC is funded by NIFA and leverages this base funding with grants from other government agencies, private foundations, and non-profit entities. Contact NIFA National Program Leader Sally Maggard for additional information.

 

Larew Receives Legacy Award from Oregon State University

Hiram Larew, director of NIFA’s Center for International Programs, was among alumni receiving awards from Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Larew received the Legacy Award for lifetime achievement for his accomplishments in international development. He was cited for overseeing programs in sustainable development in Asia and Africa and guiding extension and food aid research projects in Iraq. Larew earned his master’s degree in botany from OSU in 1977 and a doctorate in entomology from the university in 1981. 

 

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for November 21. Submit news items to newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by November 17, or 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.