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NIFA Update — April 6, 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

  • Brosh Joins NIFA
  • NIFA Sponsors Graduate School Program Detail
  • Young Leaves NIFA for the IRS
  • NIFA to Host 4th Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Webinar
  • NIFA Hosts Financial Literacy Webinar
  • USDA Awards Grant to University of California-Riverside to Explore Management of Late Blight Disease
  • USDA Awards Grant to Virginia Tech to Improve Soybean Production and Sustainability
  • 4-H National Headquarters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Louisiana Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • Label Will Help Boost Demand for Products Made From Renewable Commodities and Support Rural Jobs 
  • Secretary Vilsack Appoints an Advisory Committee to Improve Minority Participation in USDA Programs
  • USDA and USTR Announce U.S. Beef and Beef Products Gain Greater Access to Chile
  • USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Requests Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture

Opportunities

  • Rural Wealth Creation National Conference and Livelihoods
  • Integrated Pest Management Training
  • eXtension Announces New Webinar Series to Spur Economic Recovery

Partners

  • Donald Appointed Interim CES Administrator
  • Kress Named Vice President for Extension and Outreach
  • Interim CES Associate Director Appointed at South Dakota
  • UPR Appoints New Dean and AES Director

Awards and Recognition

  • NIFA and Land-grant Partners Receive Special Recognition

 

Mailbox

Brosh Joins NIFA

Joanne Brosh recently joined NIFA as an education program specialist within the Institute of Youth, Family, and Community. She received her B.S. in psychology from Ursinus College and her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. In graduate school, she studied adolescent risk behavior, particularly as it relates to Cooperative Extension programming efforts and evaluation. Her thesis research focused on identifying sources and types of support pregnant teens found most helpful in achieving their educational goals. Brosh was a project coordinator for a cost-effectiveness analysis of youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs, under an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Childhood Obesity Prevention grant in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise at Virginia Tech. Brosh is located in Room 4412 at the Waterfront Centre and can be reached on 202-720-3842.

NIFA Sponsors Graduate School Program Detail

Mariellen (Emy) Pfeil joined NIFA’s Institute of Bioenergy, Climate Change, and Environment on a 2-month detail under the Graduate School Executive Leadership Program with the goal of moving her career to program management. She has been the lab research director for the National IR-4 Minor Use Pesticide Registration Program with the Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, MD, for 20 years, and coordinated six universities and USDA IR-4 residue laboratories. She has expertise in problem-solving, program organization and analysis, project planning and implementation, and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory compliance protocols. Pfeil taught analytical chemistry techniques and set up and managed several EPA Good Laboratory Practices compliant laboratories. She graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in plant science. Pfeil is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 3179 and can be reached at 202-401-6020. 

Young Leaves NIFA for the IRS

Ronald Young, equal opportunity employment specialist on the NIFA Equal Opportunity Staff announced he is stepping down from his position to accept a position as director of EEO and Diversity with the Taxpayer Advocate Service of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington, DC. Young served in his position with NIFA for 6 years. His teaching and a distinctive blend of wisdom, compassion, and practical experience have been beneficial to the equal opportunity mission of NIFA and the department. His sustained commitment to listening to all customers and colleagues and exemplifying NIFA’s goal to treat everyone with fairness, equality, and respect, will be missed. His efforts included education and outreach to ensure civil rights are protected, EEO laws are enforced, and discrimination in any form is avoided or eliminated. His work in civil rights met the basic tests of sufficiency, competence, and relevance. Young can be reached at: 202-622-6100

NIFA to Host 4th Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Webinar

NIFA will hold the 4th Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program stakeholder webinar on April 19. Approximately $18 million is expected to be available to support training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers in FY 2012. The purpose of this workshop is to obtain stakeholder feedback to help develop the FY 2012 Request for Application (RFA). NIFA anticipates releasing the FY 2012 RFA in the summer of 2011, with a 60-day open period. More information about the program and recordings of previous stakeholder workshops are available on the NIFA website. Contact Suresh Sureshwaran, NIFA national program leader for the Division of Agricultural Systems, for more information about the webinar or if you cannot access the webinar information.

NIFA Hosts Financial Literacy Webinar

The Division of Family and Consumer Sciences in the Institute for Youth, Family, and Community will host its monthly webinar, April 7 from 2-3 p.m. Susan Shockey, national program leader for Family and Consumer Economics, will present “NIFA’s Response to the 2011 National Strategy for Financial Capability.” Shockey will discuss NIFA’s role and response to the 2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy. This national strategy, developed by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, is comprised of several departments and agencies, including USDA. The National Strategy report outlines outreach and education goals for the public and private sectors aimed to help Americans improve their understanding of financial issues, such as credit management, savings, and homeownership. The webinar is intended to facilitate discussion among partners to identify educational and research opportunities to be implemented. Registration is limited to the first 75 participants. The webinar will also be available to view online.

USDA Awards Grant to University of California-Riverside to Explore Management of Late Blight Disease

RIVERSIDE, California, March 30 – Cathie Woteki, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, announced a grant to University of California–Riverside to research methods to better manage late blight disease in tomatoes and potatoes. The $9 million project, funded by NIFA, will develop ways to better manage late blight disease. The disease-resistant genes and the appearance of fungicide-insensitive strains have raised new challenges to combat this devastating organism. The researchers will survey important pathogen traits to identify the best ways to control the disease.

The team will also deploy a national late blight reporting and alert system with an integrated decision support system to help growers make sound, science-based decisions via the Internet. They will also employ new understandings of oomycete pathogens to breed tomato cultivars with enhanced disease resistance. To help alleviate an anticipated shortage of skilled plant pathologists, the project will host a 10-week summer research program for undergraduate students. The grant was awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI is NIFA’s flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Awards Grant to University of California-Riverside to Explore Management of Late Blight Disease.

USDA Awards Grant to Virginia Tech to Improve Soybean Production and Sustainability

WASHINGTON, March 28 – NIFA announced a grant to Virginia Tech to address global food security concerns though improved soybean production. NIFA awarded the $9.2 million grant to Brett Tyler and scientists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The team will use new diagnostic tools and genetic information to identify genes that restrict the potential for pathogens to cause disease. These new disease management technologies are aimed at improving soybean yields. The team, which includes extension specialists, economists, and biologists, will work with soybean farmers and consultants to ensure the new technologies meet their needs and measure potential economic value.

The research activities will focus specifically on oomycete pathogens of soybean including Phytophthora sojae — a deadly, soilborne plant pathogen that causes root and stem rot in soybean. Soybean production in the United States totals approximately 3.3 billion bushels annually with a value of almost $32 billion. However, damage to soybean crops caused by root and stem rot diseases cause an estimated $300 million in annual yield loss for U.S. farmers. The grant was awarded through NIFA’s AFRI. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Awards Grant to Virginia Tech to Improve Soybean Production and Sustainability.

4-H National Headquarters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Louisiana Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program

KANSAS CITY, March 23 – The 4-H National Headquarters and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented the 2011 Connecting Youth with Nature through Natural Resources Conservation Education Award to the Louisiana State University AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Wetlands Program at the 76th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Kansas City, MO, on March 16.

The 4-H Youth Wetlands Program includes approximately 85,000 students who enrolled in state-wide educational and outreach programs. Since January 2010, youth participants have planted approximately 50,000 wetland plants across Louisiana to combat wetland loss. By developing and distributing wetland education curriculum and teaching materials at no cost to participating educators, this program strives to implement wetlands education in the classroom as well as in the field. Students learn about water quality, invasive species, biodiversity, recreation, adaptations, losses of wetlands and other pressing wetland topics. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release 4-H National Headquarters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Louisiana Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program.

NIFA in the News

 

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.

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

See Grant Program

Irma Lawrence

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

Critical Issues: Emerging and New Animal Pests and Diseases Program

April 25, 2011

Gary B. Sherman

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Grant Program

May 10, 2011

Jermelina Tupas

Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program

June 1, 2011

Irma Lawrence

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

July 14, 2011

Rob Hedberg


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.

Label Will Help Boost Demand for Products Made From Renewable Commodities and Support Rural Jobs 
  
GLENWILLOW, Ohio, March 31 – Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan unveiled the first 60 products that consumers will soon see in stores throughout the country bearing the new USDA BioPreferred product label for certified biobased products. The new BioPreferred label designates biobased products that are composed wholly or significantly of agricultural ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine, or forestry materials. This new label indicates that the product has been independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for biobased content. Biobased products help add value to commodities, create jobs in rural communities, increase U.S. energy independence by reducing the use of petroleum in manufactured products, and may also reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere, thus mitigating potential climate change impacts. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Label Will Help Boost Demand for Products Made From Renewable Commodities and Support Rural Jobs.  

Secretary Vilsack Appoints an Advisory Committee to Improve Minority Participation in USDA Programs
 
WASHINGTON, March 24 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of members to the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee to advise him on implementation of outreach and assistance efforts to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The advisory committee also will promote the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs and support civil rights activities with USDA. Appointment of the committee is authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

Members of the committee are appointed for 2-year terms by the Secretary. The nominees include socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers; representatives of nonprofit organizations that work with minority farmers and ranchers; civil rights professionals; representatives from institutions of higher learning; and other persons the Secretary deems appropriate. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA is addressing civil rights concerns that go back decades, and this announcement of the appointment of an advisory committee is another step towards achieving that goal. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Appoints an Advisory Committee to Improve Minority Participation in USDA Programs.

USDA and USTR Announce U.S. Beef and Beef Products Gain Greater Access to Chile
 
WASHINGTON, March 23 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that U.S. producers are now eligible to ship a larger array of U.S. beef and beef products to Chile. The market opening in Chile follows months of bilateral meetings between officials from the Chilean government, USDA, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. President Obama recently visited Chile to meet with Chilean leaders to discuss how the United States can create jobs in America by deepening our economic relationship and expanding exports to South America.

The United States exported approximately $6.2 million in beef and beef products to Chile in 2010. Worldwide, the United States exported nearly $4.1 billion of beef and beef products in calendar year 2010, up 32 percent from 2009. The value of U.S. beef exports for 2010 was on par with beef trade figures preceding 2004, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in December 2003 in a cow that had been exported from Canada to Washington State. Since that time, USDA has worked hard to regain market access for U.S. beef and beef products around the world. Currently, more than 100 markets are open to U.S. beef. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read USDA and USTR Announce U.S. Beef and Beef Products Gain Greater Access to Chile.

USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools
  
WASHINGTON, March 23 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration's efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue their work to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program authorized and funded under Section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and expanded in recent years as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill, operates in selected low-income elementary schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This year, USDA plans to provide $158 million in assistance to state agencies. States then select schools to participate based on criteria in the law, including the requirement that each student receives between $50 and $75 worth of fresh produce over the school year. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Requests Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture
 
WASHINGTON, March 22 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a request for nominations of qualified persons to serve as members of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). This committee will provide information and advice on issues related to agricultural biotechnology. Written nominations must be received by fax or postmarked on or before April 17.

This discretionary committee, which was originally established in 2003 and recently renewed by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, is composed of 20 to 25 members and will include up to seven ex officio members from federal and/or state government agencies outside of USDA. Under its charter, AC21 helps USDA maintain an intensive and broad-based dialogue to explore and understand the wide array of issues related to agricultural biotechnology. Nominations for membership must be submitted in writing and provide the appropriate background documents as described in the Federal Register. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Requests Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture

 

Rural Wealth Creation National Conference and Livelihoods

With financial support from NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the Farm Foundation and the Economic Research Service are co-convening a national conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods on October 3–5 in Washington, DC. “Wealth” can be considered to include a broad range of assets that contribute to human well-being, including physical, natural, financial, human, intellectual, social, political, and cultural capital. Fostering wealth creation that leads to improved livelihoods in rural America is a top priority for USDA and for many regional, state, and local research and development initiatives. The conference will bring together researchers, rural development practitioners, and policymakers who are working on regional and rural development issues. All those interested in attending the conference are requested to apply by responding to the Call for Participation: www.aspencsg.org/rdp/resources/ERS11/WealthCreationConferenceCall.pdf. Contact John Pender or Alex Marré, for more conference information.

Integrated Pest Management Training

The IPM3 Training Consortium (IPM3) will offer six distance education integrated pest management (IPM) modules starting April 15. These include IPM Core Concepts, Pest Biology Plant Pathology, Pest Biology Weeds, and an Invasive Species Specialty Module. Two new stand-alone courses are being offered for the first time. IPM for Managers and Supervisors is a unique 10-week, interactive specialty course designed for facility managers and supervisors who are tasked with supervising the day-to day operations of a building or set of buildings. The Imported Fire Ant IPM course was developed by faculty in the Southern Region of the United States. Full course descriptions and registration information are available on the University of Minnesota website. IPM3 is a consortium of federal agencies and land-grant institutions dedicated to the efficient and timely delivery of practical integrated pest information to people responsible for developing and implementing integrated pest management.

eXtension Announces New Webinar Series to Spur Economic Recovery

The eXtension Community of Practice (COP) on “Entrepreneurs and Their Communities” announces a new webinar series focusing on economic development. The three-part series is designed to help communities and entrepreneurs make decisions that can lead to economic innovation and growth. The series schedule includes:

  • April 14 - Steve Deller, University of Wisconsin, will open the series with a webinar on economic clusters and what they tell us about development opportunities. The session will cover relevant concepts, tools and approaches, and the significance of economic clusters.
  • May 12 - Tom Harris, University of Nevada, will introduce community business matching (CBM) and explore CBM as a process for identifying development opportunities based on the assets and existing resources of communities. An example of how CBM was used successfully in Montana will be included.
  • June 9 - Sam Cordes, Purdue University, closes the series with a webinar introducing data-rich sites that educators and others can use to access data, compile information, and assemble the knowledge needed to better inform economic development decisionmaking. This webinar will showcase new web-based tools and analytics, including industry and occupational clusters and an innovation index.  

 

All webinars begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and last for 1 hour. About 10 minutes prior to the start time, go to the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room.  Newcomers to online learning are welcome. The webinars will be recorded and available for on-demand viewing at ETC Webinar Archive. Contact Mary Peabody, associate director, Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, or Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader for Regional Rural Development, for more information about the series and COP.

 

Donald Appointed Interim CES Administrator

Samuel Donald was appointed interim administrator, Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Tallahassee, effective March 7.

Donald earned a B.S. from Southern University and A&M College; an M.S. in marketing from University of Hawaii; and his Ph.D. with an emphasis on production economics from Louisiana State University. He is a retired educator with 28 years of experience as a college professor, researcher, extension worker, and administrator. For the past 35 years, Donald is a partner in a small “Truck Crops Farming Group” in Rayville, LA, that produces and markets vegetable crops, and builds farm facilities and resident housing.

Kress Named Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Cathann Kress will become Iowa State's next vice president for extension and outreach. She succeeds Jack Payne, who accepted a position at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Gerald "Jerry" Miller, longtime faculty member and administrator at Iowa State, has served as interim vice president for extension and outreach since June 1, 2010.

Kress was senior policy analyst and program lead for Military Community and Family Policy at the Department of Defense (DOD). Prior to join DOD in 2008, she was director of youth development for USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) in Washington, DC, for 6 years. Kress will begin her new role on July 1.

A native of Sharon Center, IA, Kress taught psychology at Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) in the late 1980s and served as a youth development specialist and a youth and family violence specialist for Iowa State University Extension from 1992 to 2000. She earned a bachelor of science in social work from Iowa State in 1983, a master's degree in counseling 1986, and her doctorate in education from the University of Iowa in 1990.

Interim CES Associate Director Appointed at South Dakota

Barry H. Dunn was appointed interim associate director of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University. Dunn also serves as the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. His contact information is: Dean, College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, South Dakota State University, Box 2207, Brookings, SD 57007, Telephone 605-688-4148, fax 605-688-6320, email barry.dunn@sdstate.edu.

UPR Appoints New Dean and AES Director  

Héctor Santiago-Anadón, University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez, was named dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and in that capacity he is also the Agricultural Experiment Station director. His contact information is Agricultural Sciences Director/Dean Office, University of Puerto Rico, Call Box 9000, Mayaguez, PR 00681-9000.

 

NIFA and Land-grant Partners Receive Special Recognition

NIFA and several land-grant partners received special recognition for their work to promote America Saves Week, an initiative designed to increase financial literacy and effective money management practices among individuals and families. At the National Forum to Encourage Lower-Income Household Savings held March 30 in Washington, DC, representatives from the Consumer Federation of America reported that Cooperative Extension System (CES) had 29 states involved with the initiative. Susan Shockey, national program leader for Family and Consumer Economics in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, was recognized for her leadership role in coordinating efforts among CES state partners around America Saves Week. Two extension specialists, Barbara O’Neill from Rutgers University and Ann House of Utah State University, were asked to present results to the national forum audience on innovative approaches they used to increase awareness of America Saves Week and also impact personal financial habits. Nationwide, 55,000 people participated in educational activities related to America Saves Week and media contacts were able to reach 5 million people.

 

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for April 20. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by April 13. 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.