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NIFA Update — July 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.


  • NIFA Awards Grants to Help Agriculture Producers Adapt to Global Climate Change Effects
  • NIFA Welcomes Visiting Scholars
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications


  • USDA Launches Fresh Produce Program for Florida, Michigan Schools
  • USDA Strengthens Efforts to Address Citrus Greening
  • Over 2,000 Organizations Join Partnership to Support MyPlate Food Icon
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives



  • Bonanno Named Interim CES Director



  • CIP Presents Webinar on Nutrition Safety Net for Vulnerable Children

Awards and Recognition

  • Crosby eXtension Champion
  • CITY Project Receives National Recognition


NIFA Awards Grants to Help Agriculture Producers Adapt to Global Climate Change Effects

WASHINGTON, June 30 - NIFA has awarded 13 grants to research possibilities for agriculture and forestry producers to adapt to climate change and to best take advantage of variable climate patterns. “Anticipating and adjusting to long-term climate patterns is vital for successful agricultural production,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, acting NIFA director.

This represents an investment of more than $53 million to study how climate patterns and variability affect agricultural production. These long-term projects will help the nation’s agricultural and forestry sectors prepare for unpredictable global climate effects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase carbon sequestration. Fiscal Year 2010 projects were funded in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Visit the NIFA website to view the list of awardees. These grants were awarded through the highly competitive Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and administered through NIFA. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read NIFA Awards Grants to Help Agriculture Producers Adapt to Global Climate Change Effects.

NIFA Welcomes Visiting Scholars

Since 2008, the NIFA Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Visiting Scholars Program has fostered collaboration between NIFA and our land-grant university partners. The program provides an opportunity for FCS faculty and administrators to enhance their professional growth while cultivating their interests at the federal level. The Division of Family and Consumer Sciences (DFCS) welcomes new FCS Visiting Scholars Siew Sun Wong and Paula Scott.

Over the next several weeks, Wong and Scott will work with NIFA national program leaders, Agricultural Research Service nutrition scientists, and other federal agencies to research ethnic food trends in the United States. They are interested in understanding the relationship between the frequency of ethnic food consumption and obesity among minority populations in the United States.

Siew Sun Wong is an assistant professor/extension specialist at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, UT. She also serves as state director for the Utah Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Wong completed her doctorate degree in nutrition and food sciences with an emphasis in community nutrition and epidemiology at USU. She is a member on the NIFA Nutrition Program Planning and Guidance evaluation subcommittee and participates on several multi-state programs (W-2003, NC-1169, and W-1005). Her research interests include childhood obesity prevention, preadolescent calcium intake, nutrition education, education games development, and dietary assessments.
Paula Scott has worked for USU extension for 18 years. Scott completed her graduate work in public administration with an emphasis in human resources. She is an extension associate professor and EFNEP regional director. Scott has been a leader for Utah EFNEP and served as county director. She is a co-author of the Giving Your Body the Best adult EFNEP curriculum, currently used in Utah and 14 other states.
Wong and Scott are located in Room 4160 in the Waterfront Centre and both can be reached on 202-720-5654. Contact Caroline Crocoll, DFCS director, for more information about the Visiting Scholars Program.

NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

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

Biomass Research and Development Initiative

October 4, 2011

Carmela Bailey

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety

October 11, 2011

Jeanette Thurston

Water Sustainability and Climate

October 19, 2011

Mary Ann Rozum

National Robotics Initiative: The Realization of Co-Robots Acting in Direct Support of Individuals and Groups

November 3, 2011

Daniel Schmoldt

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 Launches Fresh Produce Program for Florida, Michigan Schools

WASHINGTON, July 12 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service will conduct a pilot program for acquiring fresh fruits and vegetables to build on farm-to-school programs in Florida and Michigan. The pilot will use commercial distribution models already in place and allow schools to obtain locally grown produce. AMS will review growers' eligibility to participate in the program to ensure they meet good agricultural practices and good handling practices. A Request for Proposal for various domestic fresh fruits and vegetables delivered in quantities that are usable by recipients will be issued by AMS. Florida and Michigan will use their entitlement funds to purchase the commodities from a list of various foods purchased by USDA and offered through the school lunch program. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Launches Fresh Produce Program for Florida, Michigan Schools.

USDA Strengthens Efforts to Address Citrus Greening

WASHINGTON, July 11 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it seeks to establish a Citrus Disease Research and Development Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from both the citrus producer and scientific communities. The Advisory Committee would report to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and provide leadership to citrus disease scientists. Citrus greening is one of the most devastating diseases affecting any commercial agricultural crop, according to the National Academy of Sciences. More than 250,000 jobs representing key sectors of the U.S. economy are at risk, including harvesting, packaging, processing, transportation, marketing, retail sales, and nursery production.

Citrus greening threatens to destroy over 1 million commercial citrus acres that have an annual production value of approximately $3 billion across the nation. Yearly losses could reach $10 billion if citrus greening is left unchecked. Citrus greening disease obstructs the flow of nutrients in citrus trees and leads many fruits to remain green, grow lopsided and taste bitter. The disease is present in Florida and portions of South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. The Asian Citrus Psyllid, the insect that spreads citrus greening, has been detected in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and areas of Southern California and Arizona. This broad distribution increases the concern that, should citrus greening be introduced into new states, the insect would rapidly spread the disease. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Strengthens Efforts to Address Citrus Greening.

Over 2,000 Organizations Join Partnership to Support MyPlate Food Icon

WASHINGTON, July 11 – The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) announced that the recently launched Nutrition Communicators Network has reached an important milestone of over 2,000 organizations. The network is comprised of organizations actively committed to promoting healthy eating in accordance with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as symbolized by MyPlate. Community partners range from public and private businesses to nonprofit organizations that represent a diverse cross-section of stakeholders and partners. The launch of this partnership program coincided with the June 2 unveiling of the new MyPlate food icon.

The new MyPlate food icon has resulted in broad public support and engagement. The new Nutrition Communicators Network eclipsed the former CNPP MyPyramid Alliance that was comprised of approximately 250 organizations. Two categories of partnerships are now available, Community Partners and National Strategic Partners. Both partnership categories are committed to promoting and extending the nutrition messages and "how-tos" that support the MyPlate icon, based on the recommendations found in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Over 2,000 Organizations Join Partnership to Support MyPlate Food Icon.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives

WASHINGTON, June 29 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting grant applications to assist small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas to spur job creation. Almost $3.5 million in grants are available through USDA Rural Development's Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program, which was authorized in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). It is part of the Department's ongoing effort to expand outreach to rural residents to ensure that all communities have equal access to USDA programs and services. Funding is available to cooperatives or associations of cooperatives where at least 75 percent of the governing board or membership are small, socially disadvantaged producers. Grants can be used for product improvements, business plan development or economic development activities. The maximum grant award per applicant is $200,000. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives.

Bonanno Named Interim CES Director

Steven C. Bonanno, a long-time employee within West Virginia University’s (WVU) Extension Service, has been named interim director on July 1, upon the retirement of Dave Miller. Bonanno holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture education from WVU and has been director of the WVU Extension Service’s Community, Economic, and Workforce Development unit since 2005. He served from 1982–2005 as Pleasants County WVU extension agent, with responsibilities in agriculture, community development, and 4-H. Bonanno’s contact information is: 817 Knapp Hall – P.O. Box 6031, Morgantown, WV  26506-6031; phone 304-293-5691; and fax 304-293-7163.

CIP Presents Webinar on Nutrition Safety Net for Vulnerable Children

The NIFA Center for International Programs (CIP) will present Yibo Wood, global initiative coordinator of USDA’S Food and Nutrition Service, in a webinar on July 20 from noon to 1 p.m. She will talk about how scalable and sustainable food and nutrition assistance programs (e.g., school feeding and food voucher systems) in developing countries can serve as a nutrition safety net and improve school enrollment for vulnerable children. Wood will also look at lessons that can be learned from U.S. experience in this field.

The presentation will be held at 800 9th Street, SW, Washington, DC, in Room 3455 of the Waterfront Centre. Click here to access the webinar.

Crosby eXtension Champion

eXtension recognized Greg Crosby, national program leader for NIFA’s Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment, as one of four eXtension Champions. The Champions were deemed “instrumental in the creation and development of eXtension.” Crosby has served as the agency’s liaison to eXtension and instrumental in developing the initiative from the beginning. He helped organize and produce the 2004 eXtension Pre-Select Business Case, the plan CES directors and administrators used to base their decision to develop eXtension. Since then, he has contributed to all other eXtension implementation and strategic planning efforts. He actively serves as a member of the eXtension Governing Committee, Directors’ Council, and Finance Task Force and his efforts have led to a significant integration of eXtension into NIFA. The Champion Award is determined by the eXtension Governing Committee. The awards were presented on June 29 during the National eXtension CoP Workshop in Louisville, KY.

CITY Project Receives National Recognition

The Community Improvement Through Youth (CITY) project, a recently completed Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Program, received national recognition. A video filmed, produced, and edited by the CITY teen leaders working with the CITY project staff at Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County is featured on the FindYouthInfo.gov's new YouTube channel. 

FindYouthInfo.gov's YouTube channel features videos from federal agencies, which show the broad range of work that agencies do to promote positive, healthy outcomes for youth. FindYouthInfo.gov was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, a collaboration of 12 federal agencies that support programs and services for youth. The CITY Project is a CYFAR Sustainable Community Project, supported by Smith Lever funds, 4-H National Headquarters, NIFA.

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for August 3. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by July 27 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.

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.