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NIFA Update — February 9, 2011

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

  • NIFA Announces Assistant Director Position
  • NIFA Welcomes Nutrition and Health NPL
  • USDA (Through NIFA) Strengthens Commitment to Military Families
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • USDA Study Shows States Providing Critical Nutrition Benefits to Those in Need
  • USDA, HHS Announce New Dietary Guidelines to Help Americans Make Healthier Food Choices and Confront Obesity Epidemic
  • USDA Announces Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa
  • USDA Names Winners of 2011 Ag Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program
  • Agriculture Secretary Signs MOU with National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation, and National Council for Agricultural Education
  • Agriculture Secretary Outlines Progress on Effort to Advance Renewable Energy Production in America

Opportunities

  • Building Partnerships for Sustainability in Higher Education

Mailbox

NIFA Announces Assistant Director Position

NIFA recently reorganized to a structure with four institutes. Each of the institutes is co-led by an Assistant Director and a Principal Scientist. The Assistant Director provides leadership for the administration of programs that comprise the institute. The Principal Scientist provides the scientific leadership to programs assigned to the institute. More NIFA information can be found on the NIFA website.

NIFA is seeking to fill the position of Assistant Director of the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (NIFA: SES: 10-14).This is a Senior Executive Service (SES) position. The salary ranges from $119,554 to $179,700, commensurate with experience.

A copy of the job announcement is located on the Office of Personnel Management website. As specified in the job announcement, applicants must meet mandatory qualifications and address specific executive core and technical qualifications. Veterans’ preference applies.

All applications must be received by February 28, 2011. Contact Deborah Crump (301–504–1448) for information about the application process. Contact Betty Lou Gilliland (202–720–5506) to learn more about NIFA.

NIFA Welcomes Nutrition and Health NPL

Cynthia Reeves Tuttle is the NIFA national program leader (NPL) for Nutrition and Health. She is located in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences within NIFA’s Institute of Youth, Family, and Community. She served as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service director of Nutrition and Family Sciences in the Families, 4-H, and Nutrition unit. Tuttle has more than a decade of experience working in higher education, first on the nutrition faculty of the University of Otago in New Zealand and, more recently, as an extension nutrition specialist at the University of Maryland. She has worked with a variety of immigrant and indigenous populations in Maryland, California, Hawaii, Alaska, and New Zealand and brings a unique perspective from working for many years in leadership positions within the nonprofit sector.

She spent her career working on issues of nutrition, food security, and public health, particularly among vulnerable populations in the United States and globally.She earned her B.S. degree in biology and nutrition from the University of Nevada, Reno; her M.S. in public health from the University of Hawaii; and her Ph.D. in community and international nutrition from the University of California, Davis. Tuttle is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 4432, and can be reached at 202–720–0742.

USDA (Through NIFA) Strengthens Commitment to Military Families

To enhance the well-being of military families, USDA is partnering with the White House to address the concerns and challenges that these families often face. President Obama announced this government-wide initiative and released the report, “Strengthening the Military Family: An Interagency Review” on January 24. The report highlights the enduring partnership between USDA and the Department of Defense on family and youth development programs. Included in the report are commitments NIFA has made to enhance the partnership with active duty, Guard, and Reserve military service branches to support 4–H clubs and activities for military children and youth. In addition, NIFA will collaborate with the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Education to increase the availability of child care spaces available through the country for Guard and Reserve families. These commitments bring the expertise and resources of the land-grant university and Cooperative Extension Systems to the child and youth programs of the military. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Strengthens Commitment to Military Families.

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity Closing Date Contact

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

February 10, 2011

Mary Monnig Peet

Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program

February 23, 2011

Tim Grosser

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program

February 23, 2011

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy: A Joint Research Solicitation - USDA, DOE

February 25, 2011

Ed Kaleikau

Special Research Grants Program: Potato Breeding Research

March 1, 2011

James Parochetti

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program

March 2, 2011

Shing F. Kwok

Special Research Grants Program: Pest Management Alternatives Program

March 3, 2011

Monte Johnson

Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

March 3, 2011

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities

March 4, 2011

Siva Sureshwaran

Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities: State and Regional AgrAbility Projects

March 10, 2011

Bradley Rein

1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants (CBG) Program

March 15, 2011

Ali I Mohamed

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

See Grant Program

Irma Lawrence

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (formerly Extension Indian Reservation Program)

March 31, 2011

Tim Grosser

Distance Education Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas (DEG)

April 8, 2011

Gregory Smith

Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas

April 8, 2011

Gregory Smith

New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grants Program (RTP)

April 15, 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.

USDA Study Shows States Providing Critical Nutrition Benefits to Those in Need

WASHINGTON, February 2, 2011 – USDA released the latest report that measures each state's success in reaching children and families eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While the national SNAP participation rate was 66 percent, Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2008, reports state rates varied from an estimated low of 46 percent to a high of 94 percent.

SNAP puts healthy food on the table for over 43 million people each month, half of whom are children. Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP is the largest of the domestic food and nutrition assistance programs administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Serving about 1 in 7 Americans over the course of a year, SNAP is the cornerstone of America's safety net against hunger. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Study Shows States Providing Critical Nutrition Benefits to Those in Need.

USDA, HHS Announce New Dietary Guidelines to Help Americans Make Healthier Food Choices and Confront Obesity Epidemic

Watch the Video

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 focuses on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourages Americans to consume more healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA/HHS Announce New Dietary Guidelines to Help Americans Make Healthier Food Choices and Confront Obesity Epidemic.

USDA Announces Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa

WASHINGTON, January 27, 2011 – USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its decision to grant nonregulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide commercially known as Roundup.

After releasing a final environmental impact statement in December 2010, USDA took another step to ensure that this issue received the broadest examination before making its final decision. USDA brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss feasible strategies for coexistence between genetically engineered (GE), organic, and other non-GE sectors. The stakeholders helped to identify areas of consensus, issues where the group disagreed and opportunities for further dialogue exist, and areas where USDA could – or should – play an important and helpful role. USDA is taking a number of additional steps in response to the request for support from its stakeholders. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

USDA Names Winners of 2011 Ag Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 24 university students who will attend USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. The forum, titled “Today’s Strategies & Tomorrow’s Opportunities,” is USDA’s largest annual event and will be held February 24-25 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA.

“USDA’s Outlook Forum gives these students the opportunity to hear leaders describe their vision for the direction of agriculture's future,” said Vilsack. “USDA in turn welcomes the next generation to learn so they might excel to even greater heights in their careers.” The 24 university juniors and seniors majoring in agricultural-related studies were selected based on their essays, “Agriculture as a Career,” and recommendations from their deans.

This year’s sponsoring corporations and USDA agencies include CHS, Inc.; the Farm Credit System; Deere & Company; and USDA's Economic Research Service. USDA's Office of the Chief Economist and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture launched the program in 2007 to help provide students with unique insight into their agricultural studies. The University of Maryland – Eastern Shore partners with USDA to make the program possible. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Names Winners of 2011 Ag Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program.

Agriculture Secretary Signs MOU with National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation, and National Council for Agricultural Education

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National FFA Organization that furthers a commitment to educate and prepare America's young people to pursue careers in agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources systems. The MOU was signed by the Secretary following a meeting in Washington with representatives of the National FFA Organization, the National FFA Foundation, and the National Council for Agricultural Education. “This MOU is aimed at preparing and motivating the youth of America to undertake the challenges and reap the rewards associated with life in rural areas,” said Vilsack.

Vilsack noted that USDA continues to work closely with the National FFA Organization through a number of agencies, including the National Institute for Food and Agriculture on school-based agricultural literacy programs and vocational education. Other USDA agencies providing support include the Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency. The MOU more closely links the agricultural educational community and USDA. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Signs MOU with National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation and National Council for Agricultural Education.

Agriculture Secretary Outlines Progress on Effort to Advance Renewable Energy Production in America

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that biofuels and biomass energy projects across America were selected for funding to continue the administration's support for the development of renewable fuels. Vilsack highlighted the various investments USDA made since he laid out a broad vision to spur rural revitalization through renewable energy production in a speech at the National Press Club in October 2010. The Biorefinery Assistance Program (Section 9003 of the 2008 Farm Bill) provides loan guarantees to entrepreneurs eager to take advantage of the growing opportunities in renewable energy provided by advanced biofuels. The announcement includes three projects totaling $405 million in guarantee loans. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Outlines Progress on Effort to Advance Renewable Energy Production in America.

Building Partnerships for Sustainability in Higher Education

Colleges and universities face unprecedented challenges during this period of shrinking state resources. Their future success will depend greatly on how well they can adapt to the new economic environment that is shaping the ways in which institutions of higher learning will operate in the 21st century.

Soyeon Shim, NIFA visiting Family and Consumer Science Scholar, professor, and director of the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, will share in a webinar presentation how she and her faculty built partnerships with the private sectors, nonprofit organizations, and individuals over the past decade. They were able to build a new facility with $25 million raised from 2,000 individuals and corporations, establish three named institutes/centers that support the Norton School’s program, and improve their school’s national reputation for excellent education, research, and outreach. Shim will explain how she was able to overcome initial barriers, learn valuable lessons, and nurture relationships with potential donors by creating a shared vision.

The webinar is scheduled for March 1, 2-3 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Registration is limited to the first 75 pre-registered participants.

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