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NIFA Update — June 29, 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

  • NEW NPL for Vulnerable Populations

  • New 1890 Scholar

  • 2011 Morrill Lecture Nominations

  • USDA-Funded Research Aims to Reduce Food-Borne Illnesses

  • NIFA in the News

  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Appointments to AC21

  • Federal Agencies to Improve Coordination to Support Energy Development and Safeguard Air Quality

  • USDA's Risk Management Agency Reassures Farmers

  • SNAP Reaches Highest Accuracy Rate in Program’s History

  • USDA Announces Projects to Provide Increased Renewable Energy Production 

  • New Research Facility Will Help Safeguard the Supply of Global Wheat Crops

 

Partners

  • UGA Names New Dean for College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Federal Partners Launch Radon Action Plan to Protect People and Families

 

Mailbox

  • Next Issue Scheduled July 20

NEW NPL for Vulnerable Populations

Bonita Williams will join NIFA’s Institute of Youth, Family, and Community’s Division of Youth and 4-H on August 1 as the national program leader (NPL) for vulnerable populations. Williams will oversee leadership for working with vulnerable audiences from the context of poverty, transitions inclusive of behavioral, social and emotional health perspectives, which includes the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk grant program. She earned a B.S. in family and consumer science from East Carolina University, an M.S. from North Carolina State University in adult and community college education, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a concentration in educational research and evaluation in career and technical education.

New 1890 Scholar

Alexandra Alford is NIFA’s 1890 Scholar and will enter her freshman year at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in August. Alford is working for the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences staff in the Institute of Youth, Family, and Community. She is from Nashville, TN, and is interested in a career in family and consumer sciences and nutrition. She is located in Room 4161 at the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-720-1254.

2011 Morrill Lecture Nominations

Each year the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) joins with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to sponsor a lecture presented at the APLU annual meeting.  The lecture honors one of the three most important historical figures of the land-grant university system, William Henry Hatch for research, Seaman A. Knapp for extension, and Justin Smith Morrill for whom the Morrill Act, which created the Land-Grant University system, is named.  In 2011, the normal rotation would honor William Henry Hatch; however, because 2012 marks the 150th anniversary passage of the Morrill Act, both NIFA and APLU agreed to move the Morrill Lecture to the fall of 2011 to serve as the kickoff for the Morrill Act Sesquicentennial Celebration. NIFA and APLU are seeking lecturer nominations to honor Justin Smith Morrill.

The 2011 Justin Smith Morrill Lecture will be presented at the APLU annual meeting in San Francisco, November 13-15. The Lectureship is awarded to honor outstanding contemporary leadership in teaching and significant contributions as an educator. NIFA seeks to identify potential topics and a dynamic speaker who can provoke discussion among meeting participants and prepare a formal lecture. The lecture will be published on the NIFA website for public viewing. Please share this information with colleagues outside of the agricultural research, education, and extension system, including stakeholders, foundations, public interest groups, or international organizations. Nominations are encouraged from all sources.

Nominations should include one-page vitae on the nominee, a description of his or her major accomplishments and how these are pertinent to advancing excellence in higher education in the food and agricultural sciences, and contact information for both the nominee and the nominator. Nominations are due by July 14, 2011, and should be forwarded electronically to Kimberly Whittet, management and policy specialist in NIFA’s Office of the Director. A committee will be appointed to review the submissions and narrow the scope of the recommendations in order to make a final decision.

USDA-Funded Research Aims to Reduce Food-Borne Illnesses

WASHINGTON, June 23 – NIFA awarded research, education, and extension grants to 24 institutions to reduce food-borne illnesses and deaths from microbial contamination. Projects were funded in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The grants are awarded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and administered through NIFA. AFRI food safety grants promote and enhance the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial, chemical, and physical hazards that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read USDA-Funded Research Aims to Reduce Food-Borne Illnesses.

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.

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

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety

Letter of Intent Due Date:  July 5, 2011
Closing Date: October 11, 2011

Jeanette Thurston

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

Critical Issues: Emerging and New Plant and Animal Pests and Diseases

August 1, 2011

H. J. Rick Meyer

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program

August 22, 2011

Ray A. Ali

Water Sustainability and Climate

October 19, 2011

Mary Ann Rozum

Biomass Research and Development Initiative

Invited Full Application Date:
October 4, 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 Vilsack Announces Appointments to AC21

WASHINGTON, June 24 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced appointments to the reactivated Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, or AC21. Appointees will initially serve 1 or 2-year terms, and may be reappointed to serve up to 6 consecutive years. The AC21 is composed of 22 members from 16 states. The members represent the biotechnology industry, the organic food industry, farming communities, the seed industry, food manufacturers, state government, consumer and community development groups, the medical profession, and academic researchers. Russell C. Redding, interim dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Delaware Valley College, in Aspers, PA, will serve as the AC21 chair. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Appointments to AC21.

Federal Agencies to Improve Coordination to Support Energy Development and Safeguard Air Quality

WASHINGTON, June 24 – In keeping with President Obama's strategy to expand domestic oil and gas production safely and responsibly, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an interagency approach to address air quality issues associated with onshore oil and gas development on public lands.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes a common process for the agencies to follow in analyzing the potential air quality impacts of proposed oil and gas activities on federally managed public lands. The collaborative approach established in the MOU will increase efficiency, certainty, and transparency in the process — benefitting industry, federal agencies, states, and Tribes. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Federal Agencies to Improve Coordination to Support Energy Development and Safeguard Air Quality.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency Reassures Farmers

WASHINGTON, June 23 – Heavy rainfall, snow melt, and flood conditions along the Missouri River have added to an already wet spring and affected farmers in the Midwest and Northern Plains. The Risk Management Agency (RMA), which administers the federal crop insurance program, reminds farmers and ranchers in flooded areas that they should contact their crop insurance companies at the first sign of damage to insured acreage.

Some farmers have voiced concerns that the flooded lands may not be covered by crop insurance if there was breach of a water-supporting structure near their land, such as the collapse of a levee, but actions taken by the Army Corps of Engineers to lessen property damage have not affected the coverage farmers have paid for with their crop insurance premiums. Go to the RMA website for more information. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA’s Risk Management Agency Reassures Farmers.

SNAP Reaches Highest Accuracy Rate in Program’s History

WASHINGTON, June 16 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with state partners, has improved payment accuracy and program integrity in the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. Vilsack commended selected states for their excellence in administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. The national average level of program payment accuracy for FY 2010 is 96.19 percent, the fourth consecutive year the program has achieved a historically high rate. The accuracy rate for FY 2010 is at an all time high and underscores the administration's ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.

Under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, each state agency is responsible for monitoring and improving its administration of SNAP. The SNAP Quality Control System determines the accuracy of the benefits authorized. The national payment error rate was 3.81 percent in FY 2010, a record low. Without this improvement FY 2010 improper payments would have been $356 million higher. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release SNAP Reaches Highest Accuracy Rate in History of the Program

USDA Announces Projects to Provide Increased Renewable Energy Production

WASHINGTON, June 15 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of four additional Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas to promote the cultivation of crops that can be processed into renewable energy. Acreage in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will be designated to grow giant miscanthus, a sterile hybrid warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and biobased products.

It is estimated that each of the four project areas and conversion facilities would earn about $50 million per year. According to industry estimates, a large number of biorefinery, agriculture, and support jobs will be created in each area. The estimates are: Ashtabula, OH - 1,210 jobs added; Paragould, AK - 750 jobs added; Aurora, MO - 960 jobs added; and Columbia, MO - 980 jobs added. These numbers are estimated based on an economic impact study that measures the amount of jobs the projects will generate at full production levels. There is also the possibility of establishing “green hubs” in the project areas leading to other green industries, including green industrial parks. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release “USDA Announces Projects to Provide Increased Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Reliance on Foreign Oil.”

New Research Facility Will Help Safeguard the Supply of Global Wheat Crops

ST. PAUL, MN, June 13 – USDA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) broke ground on a state-of-the-art greenhouse that will play a key role in helping scientists combat a growing global disease threat to the world's wheat and barley supplies. The 2,880-square-foot greenhouse will be operated by scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

The greenhouse will increase controlled growing space at ARS’ Cereal Disease Laboratory on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul, and boost the laboratory's analytic capacity five-fold. The construction of the greenhouse is being funded through a $4.5 million cooperative agreement between USAID and USDA through Feed the Future, the U.S. government's global hunger and food security initiative. Feed the Future is a Presidential Initiative to improve agricultural productivity, promote market development, facilitate trade expansion, invest in global innovation and research, promote equitable rural economic growth, and address child malnutrition in 20 food-insecure countries. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release New Research Facility Will Help Safeguard the Supply of Global Wheat Crops.

 

UGA Names New Dean for College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Linda Kirk Fox, associate dean and professor of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University (WSU), and associate director of WSU Extension, was named the new dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia (UGA). As dean, she also will serve as associate director of Georgia Cooperative Extension and associate director of the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations. She will begin her new position in early July.

Randy Baldree was named the interim associate director of WSU Extension until a permanent leader is identified and on board. Baldree will continue serving in his role as extension agriculture program director, with assistance provided by other members of the extension administrative team. Baldree can be reached at 509-335-8744.

Federal Partners Launch Radon Action Plan to Protect People and Families

Nine agencies across the federal government announced the release of a Radon Action Plan, pledging to help save lives and create healthier home and school environments for America’s families. Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, and odorless radioactive gas. Nearly one in 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Radon exposure causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

This federal commitment marks an historic interagency collaboration aimed at addressing exposure to radon, a serious public health risk. This commitment was made by Environment Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs to focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, schools, and daycare facilities. Through the launch of the Radon Action Plan, the federal government will help significantly reduce radon risk, including for individuals and families that do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their families. For more information on the Federal Radon Action Plan visit the EPA Radon website. Contact Beverly Samuel, national program leader for Housing and Community Living in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, for more information on the action plan.

Next Issue Scheduled July 20

The next NIFA issue is planned for July 20. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by July 13. If you have questions about Update, please contact, the editor: Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude.

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.