NIFA Update — April 20, 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.
- Swanson Joins IYFC
- Benesh Becomes New NIFA 4-H Military Partnership Program Manager
- Tengey Joins DAS as Program Assistant
- REEIS Published on Data.gov
- USDA Awards Grants to Improve Cattle Production and Health
- USDA and DOE Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative
- USDA Grants Support Sustainable Bioenergy Production
- USDA Awards the University of Wisconsin a Grant to Study Community and Regional Food Systems
- 100,000 4-H Members Expected to Complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge
- NIFA in the News
- NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- USDA Seeks Public Comment to Improve Access to Critical USDA Programs
- Annual Update for USDA National Farmers Market Directory Begins
- Center of Excellence Aims to Improve Food Safety for Child Nutrition
- USDA Provides Emergency Assistance to Producers of Honeybees, Livestock, and Farm-Raised Fish for 2010 Losses
- USDA Announces Proposed Test and Hold Requirement for Meat and Poultry Products
- SRDC Announces Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants
- SRDC Announces Grants on Rural Food and Nutrition Assistance Challenges
- First NHPI Youth Health and Fitness Day
- Community and Economic Development Experts Hold National Meeting
- NCRCRD Board Learns About Urban Agriculture
Awards and Recognition
- University of Arizona Extension Faculty of the Year Award
Swanson Joins IYFC
Doug Swanson joined the Institute of Youth, Family, and Community’s (IYFC) Division of Youth and 4-H as a national program leader, responsible for professional development for staff and volunteers. Swanson most recently served as in Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) position for professional development within 4-H National Headquarters. He brings extensive experiences and knowledge of positive youth development, volunteer, and professional development having had roles as an IPA and national coordinator. Swanson planned, facilitated, and recently taught a seminar on volunteer management and delivery systems for family readiness officers with the U.S. Marine Corps. Swanson is located in Room 4336 at the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-690-1227.
Benesh Becomes New NIFA 4-H Military Partnership Program Manager
Carol Benesh joins IYFC’s Division of Youth and 4-H as the 4-H Military Partnership program manager. Benesh brings extensive experiences and knowledge of positive youth development. She has served as a state 4-H program leader and as curriculum development specialist with responsibilities in grant program management and budget management with policy, procedures, and strategic programmatic oversight. She has also worked with various service branches in Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. As a 4-H military liaison, she worked with Operations Military Kids program management and had special contractual assignment with the U.S. Air Force. Benesh served on an interagency agreement between USDA and the U.S Army and was assigned to the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center offices. Her assignment was to work directly with school districts and military installations to ease school transitions. She was responsible for establishing reciprocal policies and practices among school districts. In that assignment, she also developed 4-H partnerships with the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. In addition, Benesh served as a teen technical specialist to provide training and technical assistance to 16 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command installations in 13 states through the Army School-Age and Teen Project. Benesh is located in Room 4405 in the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-401-6861.
Tengey Joins DAS as Program Assistant
Davida Tengey joined NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability’s Division of Animal Systems as a program assistant. Tengey is not new to NIFA, having worked with NIFA’s Competitive Programs since 2009. As part of NIFA reorganization, she was assigned to the Division of Agricultural Systems. In addition to her significant experience and familiarity with our NIFA programs, Tengey brings expertise in the areas of global business and public policy. She received her B.S. in global business and public policy from the University of Maryland University College and is working on her MBA in international management and trade. Tengey has 10 years experience in international development work with International Development Center of the National Council of Negro Women. Tengey is located in Room 3354 in the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-401-6069.
REEIS Published on Data.gov
The Research, Education, and Economics Information System (REEIS) is now available through Data.gov. REEIS is an information source on the research, education, and extension programs, projects and activities of NIFA, Forest Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Census Bureau, and the National Science Foundation. The system enables users to measure the impact and effectiveness of research, extension, and education programs based on data related to agricultural research; forestry research; students, faculty, and degrees related to agriculture; USDA partner institution snapshots; food and nutrition research; 4-H programs; and agricultural snapshots of each state. Internet links to related agencies, institutions, and data bases are included.
Data.gov, a component of the Open Government Initiative, increases the ability of the public to easily find tools and download and use datasets generated by the federal government. Data.gov provides descriptions of the federal datasets, information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. Data catalogs will continue to grow as datasets are added. Nearly 380,000 datasets are currently available. REEIS is among the 1,000 tools or applications available through Data.gov.
USDA Awards Grants to Improve Cattle Production and Health
COLUMBIA, Mo., April 15 – Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), announced two grant awards to the University of Missouri and Texas A&M University to support research, education, and outreach on cattle production to increase global food security.
NIFA awarded $4.9 million to the University of Missouri in support of a 5-year research project led by Jeremy Taylor to discover methods to improve feed efficiency in beef cattle. Feed efficiency is defined as the amount of milk, meat, or eggs produced per unit of feed consumed. Increased feed efficiency leads to more food produced with fewer resources and less waste, thereby reducing the environmental impact of farms. Taylor’s team includes scientists from the University of Illinois, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Texas A&M University, Washington State University, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
NIFA also awarded a $9.75 million grant to Texas A&M University to support research led by James Womack to reduce the prevalence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in beef and dairy cattle. BRD is the leading natural cause of death in beef and dairy cattle, causing annual losses of more than a million animals valued at nearly $700 million. Womack’s team includes scientists from the University of California-Davis, Colorado State University, University of Missouri, New Mexico State University, Washington State University, and ARS. The grants were awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Visit the NIFA newsroom to read USDA Awards Grants to Improve Cattle Production and Health.
USDA and DOE Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative
WASHINGTON, April 15 – To support President Obama’s goal of reducing America’s oil imports by one-third by 2025, USDA and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly announced up to $30 million over 3 to 4 years that will support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The projects, funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), will help create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products.
Subject to annual appropriations, USDA plans to invest up to $25 million, with DOE contributing up to $5 million, for this year’s BRDI. This funding is expected to support 5 to 10 projects. A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions are available on the FedConnect website, and the Grants.gov website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000510. Pre-applications are due on May 31, 2011, and must be submitted electronically. It is anticipated that applicants who are encouraged to submit full applications will be notified by August 3, 2011. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA and DOE Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative.
USDA Grants Support Sustainable Bioenergy Production
WASHINGTON, April 12 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced research grants awarded to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs. NIFA Director Roger Beachy made the announcement on behalf of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during the 16th 1890 Biennial Research Symposium in Atlanta, GA.
The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a highly competitive process, is to implement sustainable regional systems that materially deliver liquid transportation biofuels to help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022. Projects were funded in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The grants are awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. A full list of awardees is available online. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Grants Support Sustainable Bioenergy Production.
USDA Awards the University of Wisconsin a Grant to Study Community and Regional Food Systems
WASHINGTON, April 11 – NIFA has awarded a research grant to the University of Wisconsin to lead a study on how changes to community and regional foods systems can promote healthy eating in urban communities. NIFA made the $4.9 million award to support the work of Stephen Ventura, who will partner with Growing Power, Inc., Michigan State University, Iowa State University, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and 10 community-based organizations involved with local and regional food systems. They will work together to examine existing food systems and identify barriers to increasing local access to food. The team will then recommend sustainable food production, processing, and distribution solutions that are responsive to local needs and conditions and help open access to nutritious food to those who need it most.
The grant was awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI’s global food security challenge area focuses on two intertwined issues: food availability and food accessibility. The long-term goal of this program is to increase global food availability through increased and sustainable food production. AFRI is NIFA’s flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards the University of Wisconsin a Grant to Study Community and Regional Food Systems.
100,000 4-H Members Expected to Complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge
WASHINGTON, April 5 – USDA is making a significant commitment to participating in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge, aiming to have 100,000 4-H members complete the challenge by September 2011. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke to 300 children and adults at the 2011 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, MD. He recognized the positive influence 4-H membership and programs have in communities throughout the country and encouraged all attendees to make healthy choices.
4-H strives to equip young people with the knowledge and skills for healthy living that will prepare them physically, emotionally, and socially to meet the challenges of the 21st century. 4-H initially committed to this goal during the November 29, 2010, roll-out of the Let’s Move! Faith and Communities Initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read 100,000 4-H Members Expected to Complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge.
NIFA in the News
NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program
See individual grant program.
See individual grant program.
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
Smith-Lever Special Needs Program
May 23, 2011
Biomass Research and Development Initiative
May 31, 2011
Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program
June 1, 2011
Renewable Resources Extension Act-National Focus Fund Projects
June 6, 2011
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
July 14, 2011
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 Seeks Public Comment to Improve Access to Critical USDA Programs
WASHINGTON, April 19 – USDA is asking for public comment as it reviews existing program rules to determine whether any should be modified, streamlined, clarified, or repealed to improve access to USDA programs. The intent is to minimize burdens on individuals, businesses, and communities attempting to access programs that promote economic growth, create jobs, and protect the health and safety of the American people. The review was directed by President Obama in Executive Order 13563, which he signed January 18, 2011.
USDA initially intends to focus on Rural Development, Risk Management Agency, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Food Safety and Inspection Service. USDA is seeking input from the public through May 20, 2011. Those interested in offering comments are asked to provide them at Regulations.gov, a web-based portal that makes it easy for citizens to participate in the federal rulemaking process. All comments will be considered. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Seeks Public Comment to Improve Access to Critical USDA Programs.
Annual Update for USDA National Farmers Market Directory Begins
WASHINGTON, April 18 – USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is updating the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, the official count of the nation’s farmers markets. This year’s directory will also track farmers markets with multiple locations and operating days.
“The USDA National Farmers Market Directory not only counts, lists, and maps the country’s more than 6,100 farmers markets, it is also a fantastic resource for those interested in local food production, small producer success, and public policy about regional food systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In addition to helping people find the closest farmers market, the farmers markets listed in this directory are included in maps, mobile apps, and other stats. We hope that all managers ensure their markets are included so that no farmer’s market misses out on this opportunity.”
All of the information in the directory relies on input from farmers market managers. USDA urges all market managers to update their listings in time for the summer farmers market season. The National Farmers Market Directory will be updated periodically over the summer as farmers market managers continue to submit their listings to USDA’s database. Farmers market managers who are able to update their listing by May 1 will find their markets in the directory by mid-July. The complete directory will be released in time for National Farmers Market Week, August 7-13. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Annual Update for USDA National Farmers Market Directory Begins.
Center of Excellence Aims to Improve Food Safety for Child Nutrition
WASHINGTON, April 14 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Kansas State University was selected to establish the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs. The center will provide science-based support to improve the safety of foods provided through USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) nutrition assistance programs, particularly those served in schools and child care settings.
The Center of Excellence will provide a new and holistic research approach to determine how new initiatives, such as farm-to-school purchasing and school gardens, and emerging science affect food safety in FNS school and child care programs. A multidisciplinary approach, including both basic and applied research, will draw expertise from fields such as foodservice management, food safety, food microbiology, agricultural production, education, and the social sciences. The center will be funded with a 2-year, $1.6 million grant and will open as soon as the grant is awarded. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Center of Excellence Aims to Improve Food Safety for Child Nutrition.
USDA Provides Emergency Assistance to Producers of Honeybees, Livestock, and Farm-Raised Fish for 2010 Losses
WASHINGTON, April 6 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than $8 million in disaster assistance will be issued, starting immediately, to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who suffered losses in 2010 because of disease, adverse weather, or other conditions. The aid will come from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).
Included in the $8 million is more than $5 million to compensate beekeepers for 2010 losses. Under ELAP, producers are compensated for losses that are not covered through other disaster assistance programs established by the 2008 Farm Bill, specifically the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Livestock Indemnity Program, and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Producers with 2011 losses must file an ELAP application no later than January 30, 2012. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Provides Emergency Assistance to Producers of Honeybees, Livestock, and Farm-Raised Fish for 2010 Losses.
USDA Announces Proposed Test and Hold Requirement for Meat and Poultry Products
WASHINGTON, April 5 – USDA is proposing a new requirement for the meat and poultry industry that, once enacted, will reduce the amount of unsafe food that reaches store shelves. With the proposed requirement, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would be able to hold products from commerce until FSIS test results for harmful substances are received. Currently, when FSIS collects a sample for testing, the sampled products are requested but not required to be held until test results are known. FSIS believes that this requirement will substantially reduce serious recalls for meat and poultry products. FSIS inspects billions of pounds of meat, poultry, and processed egg products annually. FSIS believes that 44 of the most serious recalls between 2007 and 2009 could have been prevented if this procedure had been in place. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read USDA Announces Proposed Test and Hold Requirement for Meat and Poultry Products.
SRDC Announces Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants
The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies at the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), in partnership with USDA’s Economic Research Service, announces the availability of a 2011 competitive grant program for doctoral dissertation research that aligns with the center’s priority topics. These include child nutrition; food security; household economic instability and food assistance participation; food choices; food and nutrition a program use; place-based factors affecting food access or choices; or other related topics. For details about the grant program click Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program. Students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education are eligible to apply if they have completed all formal work related to his/her area of study and be at the “All But Dissertation” (ABD) stage of the doctoral program. The deadline for proposals is May 15, 2011.
SRDC Announces Grants on Rural Food and Nutrition Assistance Challenges
The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies at the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), in partnership with USDA’s Economic Research Service, announces the availability of a 2011 competitive grant program for innovative social sciences-based research that explores the dimensions of the food and nutrition assistance challenges impacting rural residents or communities. The program includes key populations such as Native Americans, immigrants, other racial/ethnic minorities, single parents, youth, the persistently poor, and others. For more information on the 2011 research priorities and details of the application process, visit the SRDC web site. Proposal deadline is April 29, 2011.
First NHPI Youth Health and Fitness Day
More than 1,500 youth, parents, and families participated in the first Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) Youth Health and Fitness Day on April 2 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. Organized and initiated by members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the event featured professional athletes, a celebrity fitness trainer, and a TV personality who encouraged the youth to stay fit and eat healthy. Government officials and California congressional representatives also joined in and supported the event. The event also answers to the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative.
The NHPI Youth Health and Fitness Day drew attention to the increasing rate of childhood obesity among NHPIs. One out of five NHPI high school youth is obese, one of the highest percentages among all racial groups in the country. Research data also shows that obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and chronic heart diseases, plague NHPIs in the states and territories. Saleia Afele-Faamuli, NIFA national program leader in the Division of Community and Education and member of the USDA White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Task Force (WHIAAPI), was an invited participant in the event and focused on nutrition and physical activity for improved health. The event was a great opportunity to educate and inform the community about the Commissions on the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and to develop a partnership with NIFA’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant Program. A Pacific Islander physician in California and Afele-Faamuli are already working on a collaboration to develop an island-wide obesity prevention intervention for Samoans. Contact Saleia Afele-Faamuli, for more information.
Community and Economic Development Experts Hold National Meeting
Community and economic development researchers and extension educators from land-grant universities in the Midwest and the South met April 13-15 at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Headquarters in Washington, DC. The meeting was sponsored by NIFA. Participants had the opportunity to meet with senior APLU staff, NIFA leadership, USDA-Rural Development leaders, and selected partner organizations working on rural development. A group of panelists addressed work now underway toward a new national Farm Bill. The panel included Brandon McBride, senior professional staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Ian Maw, APLU vice president for Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources; Erik Johnston, associate legislative director at the National Association of Counties; and Ferd Hoefner, policy director of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Coalition. They group was moderated by Ralph Otto, NIFA deputy director.
Senior USDA officials reviewed policy priorities of the Obama Administration and strategies being used to achieve them. Doug O’Brien, acting undersecretary for Rural Development, described the administration’s emphasis on place-based development that rests on collaboration among diverse rural development partners. Regionally-focused innovation is connecting communities to the global economy and equipping them for long-term planning and sustainable rural prosperity. Stacey Brayboy, director of USDA’s Office of Community and Economic Development, described strong partnerships that have developed amongst the NFIA Regional Rural Development Centers and USDA’s state rural development directors. Attendees also met with NIFA national program leaders to discuss priorities and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Contact Sally Maggard, NIFA Division of Family and Consumer Sciences national program leader for Regional Rural Development, for more information.
NCRCRD Board Learns About Urban Agriculture
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) held its Board of Directors Annual Meeting April 6-7, in Detroit, MI. Detroit lost one-quarter of its population during the past decade, and new directions in urban agriculture hold promise for efforts to revitalize the region’s economy by linking agriculture and emerging urban markets. Board members learned about specific urban agriculture initiatives being led by Michigan State University Extension Agents Christine Hahn and Frank Gublo, and about the eastern market hub for regional food system expansion and entrepreneurship growth. The NCRCRD Board is chaired by Chuck Hassebrook, director of the Center for Rural Affairs and member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Other members of the board represent land-grant institutions in the North Central region, including the directors of the Cooperative Extension Service and of the Agricultural Experiment Stations. Also serving on the board are Randall Eberts, president of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and Sheldon Jones, vice president of the Farm Foundation. NCRCRD Director Scott Loveridge indicated that he relies on the board to take the pulse of the region and the nation to identify rural development issues. USDA’s Research, Economics, and Education Mission Area is represented by Mary Ahearn of the Economic Research Service, and Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader for Regional Rural Development and program officer for the four Regional Rural Development Centers.
University of Arizona Extension Faculty of the Year Award
Lynne M. Borden is the University of Arizona Extension’s Faculty of the Year for 2010. Borden is an extension specialist and professor at the University of Arizona’s John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, where she administers a key Department of Defense – USDA NIFA Extension Military Partnership initiative. Selected by a committee composed of the elected head of the departments/schools, the elected head of the County Extension Directors and the 2009 award winner, Borden was recognized for her career contributions to the field of youth development and her focus on disadvantaged and ethnically diverse youth groups.
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Roger Beachy, Director
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