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NIFA Update — May 4, 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

  • USDA, DOD Officially Launch Military Extension Partnership
  • USDA Announces Support of Research to Confront Childhood Obesity
  • USDA Awards Grant to the University of Hawaii to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity
  • Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Spurs Production of Bioenergy and Biobased Products
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • USDA Introduces Online Tool for Locating 'Food Deserts'
  • Secretary Vilsack Issues a Call to Action to Combat Hunger in America 
  • FSA Administrator Reminds Affected Farmers and Ranchers of FSA Programs 
  • New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

 

Partners

  • WRDC Seeks Research Abstracts on Place-Based Rural Development

 

Awards and Recognition

  • Chen Receives IFT Fellow
  • NIFA Program Specialist Successfully Defends Dissertation and Wins Award

 

Mailbox

USDA, DOD Officially Launch Military Extension Partnership

CHICAGO, April 27 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) officially launched the Military Extension Partnership to support military service members and their families in their communities. A proclamation announcing the partnership was signed today at the 2011 USDA/DOD Family Resilience Conference in Chicago, IL.

“USDA and DOD have worked together for more than 25 years to serve the needs of military families. This latest expansion will give the established civilian network of extension offices a greater ability to help our service members and their loved ones,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Our extension system is woven into the fabric of communities across the country where our military families live in order to make this partnership with DOD an efficient and effective proposition for everyone involved.”

With the addition of more single parents, longer and multiple deployments, National Guard members and Reserve forces, the U.S. military is changing. Similarly, while once primarily stationed “on base,” service members and their families now live in communities throughout the nation. The Family Resilience Conference is the first joint conference offered by the USDA and DOD to address the needs of today’s service members and their families. Nearly 2,000 military personnel, cooperative extension educators and others serving military families gathered together to identify ways to provide military families with what they need where they live. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to ready USDA, DOD Officially Launch Military Extension Partnership.

USDA Announces Support of Research to Confront Childhood Obesity

WASHINGTON, April 25 – Responding to the growing obesity epidemic that threatens our nation’s health and economic well-being, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced research, education, and extension grants to 24 institutions aimed at reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity across the nation. “We know that for our children to grow up, they need nutritious diets and healthy lifestyles that enable them to reach their fullest potential,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director.

The long-term goal of USDA-sponsored obesity research is to reduce prevalence of the overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. This year’s funding is focused on supporting research programs aimed at obesity in children ages two through eight. Each award decision was made through a competitive selection process based on scientific merit. Projects were funded in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is administered through NIFA. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Announces Support of Research to Confront Childhood Obesity.

USDA Awards Grant to the University of Hawaii to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

WASHINGTON, April 20 – USDA announced a $25 million grant to the University of Hawaii to develop obesity prevention strategies among native populations in the Pacific Region, continuing USDA’s commitment to meet the rising challenge of obesity in the United States, especially in American youth.

The 5-year research project will use a community-based participatory research approach that engages communities to prioritize obesity prevention strategies. Researchers will work with communities to develop community needs assessments and establish sustainable nutrition and health-promoting programs. The project will train 22 specialists in food, nutrition, and public health and develop research and evaluation methods that will help young children maintain healthy weight and prevent obesity. Rachel Novotny at the University of Hawaii will lead the project team, which includes scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; the University of Alaska, Anchorage; Northern Marianas College; the University of Guam; American Samoa Community College; the College of Micronesia; Windward Community College, Kaneohe, Hawaii; and the University of Hawaii Kapiolani Community College.

The grants are awarded through AFRI and administered through NIFA. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA Awards Grant to the University of Hawaii to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity in Minority Populations.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Spurs Production of Bioenergy and Biobased Products

LANSING, Mich., April 20 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Michigan State University to highlight three new research grants awarded to the university to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs. Merrigan joined energy stakeholders and university officials for the announcement and for a tour of the Cellulosic Ethanol Pretreatment research lab and AFEX technology pilot plant.

The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a 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.The funded projects focus on three areas: crop protection for sustainable feedstock production systems, enhanced value co-product development, and carbon sequestration and sustainable bioenergy production. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Spurs Production of Bioenergy and Biobased Products.

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.

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

May 10, 2011

Jermelina Tupas

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program

May 23, 2011

Dennis Kopp

Biomass Research and Development Initiative

Pre-applications
May 31, 2011

Carmela Bailey

Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program

May 31, 2011

James Parochetti

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

June 1, 2011

Irma Lawrence

Renewable Resources Extension Act-National Focus Fund Projects

June 6, 2011

Eric Norland

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

July 1, 2001

Aida Balsano

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.

USDA Introduces Online Tool for Locating ‘Food Deserts’

WASHINGTON, May 2 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced an Internet-based mapping tool that pinpoints the location of "food deserts" around the country and provides data on population characteristics of census tracts where residents have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. The online Food Desert Locator, developed by USDA’s Economic Research Service, is a tool that can be used to assist efforts to expand the availability of nutritious food in food deserts, or low-income communities that lack ready access to healthy food. Expanding the availability of nutritious food is part of First Lady Michele Obama's Let's Move! initiative to address the epidemic of childhood obesity. The site contains an online media kit that provides downloadable images and logos. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Introduces Online Tool for Locating ‘Food Deserts.’

Secretary Vilsack Issues a Call to Action to Combat Hunger in America 

WASHINGTON, April 29 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined hunger advocates to issue a call to action to end hunger in America. Vilsack announced a series of new online tools and volunteer initiatives to increase the number of individuals, organizations, and governments actively working to end hunger across the country. More than 50 million Americans are at risk of hunger, including 17 million children. Although USDA's nutrition programs provide assistance to 1 in 4 Americans and have kept the levels of food insecurity at bay during the recession, many eligible children and families do not participate. Working together, government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, and the public can make sure that no one goes hungry in the United States.

During his remarks, Vilsack was joined by the Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick A. Corvington at Bread for the City, a local food pantry, to highlight the new initiatives that are available at the Food and Nutrition Service website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Secretary Vilsack Issues a Call to Action to Combat Hunger in America.

FSA Administrator Reminds Affected Farmers and Ranchers of FSA Programs 

WASHINGTON, April 28 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Val Dolcini reminded crop and livestock producers throughout states that have recently experienced severe damage from flooding, wildfires, and tornadoes that FSA programs may be available to assist with recovery.

FSA administers several important programs that help producers recover from disaster damage and livestock deaths. Among the key programs available to address impacts from disasters are the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Fact sheets for all of these programs are available on the FSA website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release FSA Administrator Reminds Affected Farmers and Ranchers of FSA Programs

New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

WASHINGTON, April 26 – Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced that USDA's child nutrition programs are implementing new rules designed to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. The final rule, published in the Federal Register, will let schools and other providers give preference to unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products as they purchase food for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama and one of the key provisions to bolster farm to school programs across the country.

The rule supports USDA's “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, which emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs in an effort to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” is helping to break down barriers that keep local food systems from thriving, create new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural communities, and expand access to healthy food throughout the country. USDA expects consumer demand for locally grown food in the United States to rise from an estimated $4 billion in 2002 to as much as $7 billion by 2012. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs.

 

WRDC Seeks Research Abstracts on Place-Based Rural Development

The Western Rural Development Center (WRDC) is seeking abstracts for its publication, Rural Connections, which will focus on place-based economic development in its September 2011 edition. In the 21st century economy, there are economic development opportunities that simply did not exist in the past. With computers, the Internet, and cell phones, it is now possible for individuals and firms to be connected to the global economy while enjoying the benefits of rural living. However, a significant obstacle in many rural communities involves inadequate infrastructure. Obstacles for achieving better service include great geographic distances between communities, which increase costs; mountain ranges that make connections more challenging; and right-of-way issues on public land unique to the Western United States. The WRDC is interested in sharing with its stakeholders the research and community and economic development activities that are underway in the region to address these issues and how these changes bring economic opportunities and/or challenges to the West's rural communities. The topic of place-based rural development allows for submissions from a wide range of sub-topics, including but not limited to, and listed in no particular order of priority: building entrepreneurial-friendly communities; addressing the need for rural broadband and cellular connectivity; promoting the community to potential new residents; and value-added and regional development. Visit the WRDC website for more detailed information. The deadline is May 20. Contact Betsy Newman, WDRC publications specialist, for more information. Contact Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader, for more information on the regional rural development centers.


Chen Receives IFT Fellow

Hongda Chen, NIFA national program leader for bioprocessing engineering and nanotechnology in the Division of Food Safety, was named an Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Fellow. Chen is recognized for his leadership and achievement in bringing nanoscale science and nanotechnology to the forefront of research, development, education, and outreach of food and agricultural systems. 

The award was announced in the April 15 issue of IFT Express Connect. The Fellows will be publically recognized at the IFT 2011 Annual Meeting and Food Expo award ceremony on June 11 in New Orleans, LA. IFT is the largest food science professional society in the world with a membership of more than 25,000.

Election as an IFT Fellow is a unique professional distinction conferred for outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of food science and technology. The IFT Fellow designation is an honor bestowed upon an IFT member by their peers. In a given year, no more than 0.3 percent of the professional membership is eligible, and even fewer than that will earn this honor.

NIFA Program Specialist Successfully Defends Dissertation and Wins Award

Ahlishia Shipley, NIFA program specialist in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, successfully defended her dissertation on April 13, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Shipley completed her doctoral program in the Department of Family Studies. Her dissertation was titled “An Exploratory Study of Intimate Relationship Socialization among Black Collegiate Women.” She will participate in the commencement ceremony on May 8 at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Shipley was also selected for recognition at the 2011 School of Human Environmental Sciences Awards Ceremony held on April 29, and was honored for her contributions and accomplishments as a graduate student.

 

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for May 18. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by May 11 to 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

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