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NIFA Update — June 15, 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

  • Message from NIFA’s Acting Director
  • Ven Neralla Heads Congressional Affairs for NIFA and REE
  • Carroll Joins IT Staff
  • Hoffman Joins Director’s Staff as Program and Analysis Specialist
  • Scott Joins Food Safety Division
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • Agriculture Secretary Announces Goal for Smart Grid Investments and Funding to Improve Electric Services to Customers in 10 States
  • Obama Administration Establishes White House Rural Council to Strengthen Rural Communities
  • USDA Report: A Child Born In 2010 Will Cost $226,920 To Raise
  • First Lady, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Surgeon General Benjamin Launch MyPlate Icon as a New Reminder to Help Consumers to Make Healthier Food Choices

 

Partners

  • SRDC Coordinates National e-Commerce Extension Initiative
  • Kilkenney joins NCRCRD as Visiting Extension Specialist WVU’s Miller to Retire

 

Mailbox

Message from NIFA’s Acting Director

In the last issue of the Update I introduced myself as the Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and mentioned that one of my top priorities is to fill key leadership positions within the agency. I am pleased to announce a new addition to NIFA’s senior staff – Ven Neralla. Ven is the Director of Congressional Affairs for NIFA and the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area. He has tremendous experience on Capitol Hill and in the White House and we are extremely fortunate to have him working with us.

After much consideration of our current resources, I, along with our senior leaders in USDA and REE, have decided that at this time it is in the best interest of our agency to not fill the positions of Principal Scientist for NIFA’s four institutes. While these are tough times that require difficult choices, we will move forward with our selection of three other key NIFA leadership positions: Assistant Director for the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition; Budget Director; and Director of Planning, Accountability, and Reporting.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has asked us to think creatively about how we do business. I assure you that NIFA’s leadership team will do all it can to get us through these lean times. There is no doubt that NIFA’s research, education, and extension programs will have real impacts for American agriculture and the American people. I ask for your support as we continue to build a strong Department of Agriculture for the 21st century.

Thank You, 

Chavonda Jacobs-Young
Acting Director
National Institute of Food and Agriculture

 

Ven Neralla Heads Congressional Affairs for NIFA and REE

Ven Neralla became Director of Congressional Affairs for REE and NIFA on June 3. In this position, he serves as NIFA’s liaison with members of Congress and their staffs to communicate NIFA’s legislative agenda and budget priorities. He will also educate lawmakers on the important role NIFA plays in advancing knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs. In addition to his role at NIFA, he will work closely with the Office of the Under Secretary and the Office of Congressional Relations to manage the mission area’s interactions with Congress. Before arriving at USDA, Neralla was the Congressional Priority Placement Director in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. Neralla’s Congressional experience spans 10 years, and includes serving as associate director for Congressional affairs at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), legislative director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and legislative analyst for Congressman Peter DeFazio.

Carroll Joins IT Staff

Felicia Carroll has joined the Operations Division in the Office of Information Technology. Carroll comes to NIFA from the National Archives and Records Administration where she provided secretarial and administrative support for 3 years. You can find her at Waterfront Center, Room 4120.

Hoffman Joins Director’s Staff as Program and Analysis Specialist

William Hoffman is the new program and analysis specialist in the Office of the Director, where his background and experience will contribute to facilities management issues and other staff needs relating to Waterfront Centre. He began his new duties on June 6. Hoffman was the national program leader for Agriculture Homeland Security in NIFA's Institute of Food Production and Sustainability before assuming his new role. Monte Johnson will assume interim leadership for the Extension Master Gardener program and the Consumer Horticulture eXtension communities of practice. Tom Bewick is the new liaison to the People’s Garden Initiative. Pesticide Safety Education program inquiries should be directed to Jim Parochetti and inquiries related to the Methyl Bromide Transition program should go to Kitty Cardwell.

Scott Joins Food Safety Division

William Scott is a new program assistant in the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition’s Food Safety Division. He has been with USDA since 1998. Scott is located at Waterfront Centre, Room 2373.

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.

New Technologies for Ag Extension, Smith-Lever 3B, 3C, and 3D Programs

June 17, 2011

Gregory Crosby

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: Methyl Bromide Transitions Program

June 22, 2011

Kitty Cardwell

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Food Safety Initiative

June 27, 2011

Jan Singleton

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Organic Transitions (ORG)

June 30, 2011

Mary Monnig Peet

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

July 1, 2011

Aida Balsano

Rangeland Research Program

July 6, 2011

James P. Dobrowolski

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

July 14, 2011

Rob Hedberg

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program: National Integrated Water Quality Program

July 15, 2011

Michael P. O'Neill

Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Project

July 15, 2011

Michael McGirr

Biomass Research and Development Initiative

Invited Full Application Date
October 31, 2011

Carmela Bailey


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.

Agriculture Secretary Announces Goal for Smart Grid Investments and Funding to Improve Electric Services to Customers in 10 States

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Administration officials today to announce initiatives aimed at modernizing the nation's electric grid, including USDA's goal to invest $250 million in smart grid equipment deployment in rural America over the next 12 months.

Smart grid technologies give consumers more control over their electric costs and help utilities better manage the electric grid to improve operational efficiency. Smart grid investments make it possible to increase the use of renewable energy by balancing intermittent sources of power—like wind and solar—with other fuels. A smart grid also enables greater use of demand side management tools to save energy.

Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.
 
Obama Administration Establishes White House Rural Council to Strengthen Rural Communities

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2011 – The White House today announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. To address these challenges, build on the administration's rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council.

The White House Rural Council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide. Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the council will be responsible for providing recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments.

Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.

USDA Report: A Child Born In 2010 Will Cost $226,920 To Raise

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2011 – The Department of Agriculture today released its annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, finding that a middle-income family with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend about $226,920 ($286,860 if projected inflation costs are factored in) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next 17 years. This represents a 2 percent increase from 2009. Expenses for transportation, child care, education, and health care saw the largest percentage increases related to child rearing from 2009. There were very small changes in housing, food, clothing, and miscellaneous expenses on a child since 2009.

The report, issued annually since 1960, is a valuable resource to courts and state governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments. It is based on data from the Federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey, the most comprehensive source of information available on household expenditures. For the year 2010, per child annual child-rearing expenses for a middle-income, two-parent family range from $11,880 to $13,830, depending on the age of the child.

Visit the USDA Newsroom to view the entire release.

First Lady, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Surgeon General Benjamin Launch MyPlate Icon as a New Reminder to Help Consumers to Make Healthier Food Choices

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2011 – First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin today unveiled the federal government's new food icon, MyPlate, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups.

ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information. As Americans are experiencing epidemic rates of overweight and obesity, the online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children. Later this year, USDA will unveil an exciting “go-to” online tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.

 

SRDC Coordinates National eCommerce Extension Intiative

The Southern Regional Development Center (SRDC) is coordinating the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative, a web-based resource where small business owners can find the tools that will help them launch, sustain, and expand their enterprises—including opportunities to reach global markets. Topics in the May eNews edition include: the best industries for starting a business in 2011, essential steps for starting a business, and keys for running a business successfully. For more information, contact the SRDC or Sally Maggard, national program leader for Regional Rural Development in NIFA’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Kilkenney joins NCRCRD as Visiting Extension Specialist

Maureen Kilkenney has joined the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development as a visiting extension specialist. Kilkenney will direct a project on technology transfer activities and capacity in the 12 university campuses of the region. Specifically, she will survey intellectual property offices, tech transfer offices, small business development centers, university industrial parks, business incubators, university extension, and other related university activities. She will also sample private and public entities and virtual fairs or Internet networks involved in technology transfer. For more information on its work on technology transfer enhancement, see NCRCRD or contact Sally Maggard, national program leader for Regional Rural Development in NIFA’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences.

WVU’s Miller to Retire

Dave Miller, West Virginia University’s (WVU) assistant provost and director of public service and extension will retire at the end of June. Miller has also been WVU’s liaison to the state legislature since 2001. Before joining WVU, Miller had been the state’s deputy commissioner of agriculture as well as a senator and delegate in the West Virginia Legislature.


For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for March 9. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by March 2.

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.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting 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.