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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update - October 26, 2011

NIFA Update — October 26, 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 Supports Research and Marketing of Organic Agriculture
  • USDA Announces the First Class of NIFA Fellows
  • NIFA Invests in America's Specialty Crops with Research and Extension Activities
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • USDA Invests in Research on Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs
  • Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Signing into Law of Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • USDA Announces Proposed Rules to Improve the Quality of Life and Foster Economic Opportunity for Tribal Communities
  • USDA Reminds Native American Farmers and Ranchers that Keepseagle Settlement Claims Filing Period Open Through December 27

 

Partners

  • 1890 Land-Grant Institutions Form Alliance for McIntire-Stennis Participation

 

Opportunities

  • Building a 21st Century Bioeconomy 
  • BioPreferred Program Launches New Online Seminar Series
  • 6th National Small Farm Conference -- Save the Date

 

Mailbox

  • Next Issue Scheduled November 9

USDA Supports Research and Marketing of Organic Agriculture

WASHINGTON, October 25 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced 23 new grants to research and extension programs working to help organic producers and processors grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. The grants, totaling $19 million in all, are funded by the NIFA through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Transitions Program (ORG).

The 2011 OREI grants include more than $15 million. Supporting the development of sustainable agricultural and forestry practices, including organic farming, to both reduce negative impacts on the environment and keep U.S. farmers competitive is a priority of USDA research. Visit the OREI webpage for more information.

In addition, the ORG grants announced include nearly $4 million. In FY 2011, ORG focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and systems to be addressed include those associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy), and organic systems integrating plant and animal production. Visit the ORG webpage for more program information. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces the First Class of NIFA Fellows

WASHINGTON, October 20 – NIFA has awarded 54 fellowships to pre- and post-doctoral students in the first class of NIFA Fellows, to train and develop the next generation of agricultural, forestry, and food scientists. NIFA funds the NIFA Fellows program through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

The program supports the intellectual talent needed to meet the challenges facing the nation’s agriculture, natural resource, and food systems, which requires innovative approaches in research, education, and extension. In this first year of funding, $6 million was awarded to 54 students from 32 universities. The awards will help pre- and post-doctoral students develop their careers as researchers and educators. Projects span the five AFRI challenge areas (global food security, climate change, food safety, childhood obesity prevention, and sustainable energy.) Fellowships were awarded to students in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA Invests in America's Specialty Crops with Research and Extension Activities

WASHINGTON, October 14 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced 29 grants across 19 states to develop and share science-based information to address the needs of America's specialty crop industry. NIFA awarded the grants, totaling $46 million, through its Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Specialty crops are defined in law as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Projects were funded in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

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

November 3, 2011

Daniel Schmoldt

Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program

November 17, 2011

Elizabeth Tuckermanty

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

November 22, 2011

Siva Sureshwaran

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Sustainable Community Projects

December 1, 2011

Bonita Williams

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases

December 7, 2011

Peter Johnson

Secondary Education, 2-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program

January 20, 2012

Gregory Smith

 

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 Invests in Research on Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs
 
WASHINGTON, October 21 – Agriculture Under Secretary Dr. Catherine Woteki announced new research grants and cooperative agreement awards in eight states and the District of Columbia designed to examine, evaluate, and enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) nutrition assistance programs. The research projects are competitively awarded by USDA's Economic Research Service through a publicly announced and peer-reviewed process.

USDA continues to enhance nutrition program integrity and delivery even as demand has increased in response to national economic conditions. This year, USDA is investing in process improvement efforts that examine local office processes and identify and implement efficiencies. The department is also interested in funding projects that use technology to achieve procedural changes, such as document imaging, telephone interviews, or web-based access to case status information. The grants and cooperative agreements will fund projects in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. The projects will examine a number of program-related issues. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Signing into Law of Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance

USDA Announces Proposed Rules to Improve the Quality of Life and Foster Economic Opportunity for Tribal Communities 

WASHINGTON, October 14 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the publication of new proposed rules that will significantly increase access to USDA's utilities programs and funding opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders located in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA).

To develop the propose rule, USDA Rural Development consulted with tribal leaders and native communities throughout the United States and in trust areas in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. They also hosted Internet and teleconference-based webinars to solicit further implementation recommendations for the SUTA initiative. Additionally USDA convened several meetings with other federal agencies to determine how best to implement the SUTA provision. The public may submit comments on the proposed rule by December 13, 2011. See the October 14, 2011, issue of the Federal Register. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Reminds Native American Farmers and Ranchers that Keepseagle Settlement Claims Filing Period Open Through December 27
 
WASHINGTON, October 13 – Janie Hipp, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s senior advisor for Tribal Relations, reminded Native American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Keepseagle class action settlement remains open through December 27, 2011. Keepseagle v. Vilsack was a lawsuit alleging that USDA discriminated against Native American farmers and ranchers in the way it operated its farm loan program. The lawsuit was settled late last year and the settlement has been approved by the court. The filing period opened June 29, 2011, and continues for 180 days.

Keepseagle class counsel is holding a number of meetings in the coming months throughout Indian Country and they will provide assistance to help Track A claimants fill out a claims package at those meetings. The dates and times of the meetings are posted on the Keepseagle claims website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

1890 Land-Grant Institutions Form Alliance for McIntire-Stennis Participation

Thirteen 1890 land-grant institutions have formed the 1890 McIntire-Stennis Research Coordinating Council (MSRCC) in order to participate in NIFA’s McIntire-Stennis (M-S) Cooperative Forestry Research Grant Program and in other forestry opportunities. The council will coordinate all activities in the M-S program; work as a team to compete for grants; identify a research niche based on research strengths, thus avoiding duplication and showing how the activities complement each other; increase collaboration to develop and successfully implement multi-institutional projects that address the needs of minority landowners; and strengthen forestry research impacts.

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the institutions to take part in M-S grant programs.
Participation in the program began in 2009 with four institutions: Alabama A&M, Kentucky State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University. The $32.9 million M-S grant is administered through NIFA’s Environmental Systems Division of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment.

The MSRCC met October 24–25, in Atlanta, GA, to define its strategic research direction for the next 5 years. Andy Mason, director of the U.S. Forest Service’s National Agroforestry Center, briefed the group on the newly unveiled USDA Agroforestry Strategic Framework. Ali Mohamed, director, Division of Environmental Systems and Catalino Blanche, national program leader for forestry and research programs in the Division of Environmental Systems, represented NIFA at this meeting.

Building a 21st Century Bioeconomy

President Obama announced on September 16 the development of a National Bioeconomy Blueprint, to be completed by January 2012. The Blueprint will detail a new, administration-wide effort to harness biological research innovations to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment while growing the economy. By better leveraging America’s national investments in biological research and development, the administration aims to stimulate the growth of high-wage, high-skill jobs while improving the lives of all Americans. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a Request for Information (RFI) on October 7 to solicit input for the development of the Blueprint. You can view the RFI here and send comments to OSTP at bioeconomy@ostp.gov.

BioPreferred Program Launches New Online Seminar Series

USDA’s BioPreferred program manager, Ron Buckhalt, announced a series of seminars to educate those who are responsible for determining purchasing needs and requirements for biobased products, materials, and services. The free online seminars—via streaming video or via satellite downlink—will be ideal for educators and students; faculty and staff interested in accelerating new markets for agricultural research; and purchasing and facility managers who want to “green” their campuses. Seminar topics will cover the identification and selection of biobased products, tools and resources available to facilitate best practices, and strategies to remove barriers to integrate new biobased products into organizations. The live discussion format will allow for audience Q&As. Upcoming seminars will be held November 1 and December 6 from 1:30–2:30 p.m. EST.  To register or learn more about the series, visit the BioPreferred website.

6th National Small Farm Conference — Save the Date

The 6th National Small Farm Conference will be held September 18-20, 2012, in the Memphis Convention Center, Memphis, TN. Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee, NIFA, and other USDA agencies will host the event. Calls for oral and poster paper presentations, exhibits, and information about educational tours will be released in early January 2012. For more information about past national small farm conferences, visit the National Small Farm Conferences web page. Contact Linda Buchanan, Tennessee State University, at 615-963-1827 for more information.

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

Questions? Comments? Last Updated: 10/26/2011