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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update - November 10, 2011

NIFA Update — November 10, 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

  • Technology Showcase
  • USDA Announces Grants to Support Food and Agricultural Sciences Education at HSIs
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights the 150th Anniversary of USDA
  • Statements by Attorney General Holder and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Approval of Pigford II Settlement Agreement
  • USDA Announces Rural Economic Development Funding for Historically African-American Land-Grant Universities

 

Partners

  • Johnson Named Associate Dean/CES Director at PVAMU
  • Nobles Named Cooperative Extension Associate Administrator 
  • NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Program
  • The National e-Commerce Extension Initiative Releases Online Guide

 

Opportunities

  • Grant Opportunities Announced for Extension Risk Management Education Programs

 

Awards and Recognition

  • NIFA’s SRDC Wins National Diversity Award

 

Mailbox

  • Next Issue Scheduled November 23

Technology Showcase

NIFA’s Mike O’Neill and Agricultural Research Services’ (ARS) Mark Walbridge co-organized a Technology Showcase highlighting six project activities across the nation where university and ARS scientists are creating new technologies for improving water management using cloud computing, smartphone, and tablets. Ann Mills, Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment provided opening comments. Lane Price, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), set the stage for new technology development using NRCS’ Conservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative. John Bartholic, Michigan State University, Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension, and Mazdak Arabi, Colorado State University presented examples of tablet and smartphone technologies for water quality management at the basin, watershed, and farm scale, developed in part through funds provided by NIFA’s National Integrated Water Quality Program. ARS scientists Tamie Veith, Mark Tomer, and Laj Ahuja presented examples of how cloud computing and high resolution geospatial data can be used to address water quality issues in agricultural watersheds.

The Showcase was organized through the efforts of the Partnership Management Team (PMT), collaboration between ARS, NIFA, and NRCS that promotes closer coordination between USDA research and implementation of resource management technologies. A brief report on the Showcase is due in December.

USDA Announces Grants to Support Food and Agricultural Sciences Education at HSIs

WASHINGTON, October 31 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded 20 competitive grants to Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in six states and Puerto Rico to enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to support underserved students and develops a skilled American work force. The grants are administered through NIFA.

The grants totaling $8.8 million will support programs that address critical issues, including: global food security and hunger, climate change, bio-based energy development, childhood obesity and food safety. Some of these grants establish collaborations between 2-year colleges, 4-year institutions, and high schools. They also support collaborations between the HSIs and USDA agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Service, Food and Nutrition Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Food Safety and Inspection Service. Currently, more than 300 HSIs (with at least 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate full-time enrollment) are dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the Hispanic community. 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.

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

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

January 31, 2012

Thomas Bewick

 

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 Highlights the 150th Anniversary of USDA

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., November 2 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Old Illinois State Capitol to announce the year-long celebration of USDA's 150th anniversary in 2012. Secretary Vilsack was in the hometown of USDA's founder – President Abraham Lincoln - who signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862. President Lincoln established USDA because he recognized the potential of America's farmers to find new ways to cultivate the land and that with advances in research and technology, America's farmers and ranchers could provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world. In one of President Lincoln's only speeches on agriculture at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society on September 30, 1859, he said, "…no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture." Throughout 2012, USDA will recognize important events, such as President Lincoln's signing of an Act to establish the Department of Agriculture on May, 15, 1862, and the July signing of the Morrill Act to establish public land-grant universities. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Statements by Attorney General Holder and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Approval of Pigford II Settlement Agreement

USDA Announces Rural Economic Development Funding for Historically African-American Land-Grant Universities

SELMA, Ala., October 28 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding to provide business development assistance to entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and communities in economically challenged rural areas. USDA Rural Development is providing the assistance through cooperative agreements with ten 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. The announcement was made on the Secretary's behalf by Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien while attending a local Farm Bill listening session in Selma, Ala.

The institutions will use funding from USDA Rural Development to deliver entrepreneurial training, business start-up assistance, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, website development training, and other programs designed to cultivate new business opportunities and create jobs. Langston University, the only historically African-American university in Oklahoma, will also receive $75,000. It will deliver one-on-one business management assistance, promote local and regional food systems, teach digital technology applications, and provide entrepreneurship training to youth in rural communities plagued by severe poverty and unemployment.  Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

Johnson Named Associate Dean/CES Director at PVAMU

Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) and the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences announced the appointment of Dr. Alton B. Johnson, as Associate Dean and Director of the Cooperative Extension Service. Johnson assumed the post on October 1. A native of Monrovia, Liberia, Johnson has a wealth of experience in management, administration, and academia. He most recently served as the interim assistant dean of research in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences at Alcorn State University (ASU) in Mississippi. While at ASU, Johnson served as principal investigator or co-investigator in securing close to $5 million in federal funds to conduct natural resources work. He was also the director of the Mississippi River Research Center that was established to conduct research and public service activities to aid in improving Mississippi water resources.

He received his B.S. in general agriculture from the University of Liberia, and a M.S. in agronomy with a concentration in soil and water management and conservation from Mississippi State University. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy focusing on soil physics from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Johnson can be reached at: Cooperative Extension Program Headquarters, Prairie View A&M University, P.O. Box 519, Mail Stop 2001, Prairie View, TX 7446-0519; telephone: 936-261-5125.

Nobles Named Cooperative Extension Associate Administrator 

Dr. Carolyn J. Nobles was named the Cooperative Extension Associate Administrator for Prairie View A&M University. Nobles previously served as Cooperative Extension’s interim associate administrator and program leader – Family and Consumer Sciences. Nobles experience in Texas’ land-grant university Extension programs started with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service where she served as a home economics county extension agent in Gregg, Cass, and San Jacinto counties. She was also the home economics county agent and Family and Consumer Sciences program leader in Brazos County prior to joining Prairie View Cooperative Extension in 1997. A native of Palestine, TX, Nobles received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Prairie View A&M University in home economics education and her Ph.D. in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. Nobles can be reached at:  Cooperative Extension Program Headquarters, Prairie View A&M University, P.O. Box 519, Mail Stop 2001, Prairie View, TX 7446-0519; telephone:  936-261-5122.

NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Program

The Earth Science November issue features a story on rice/switchgrass biomass research funded by NIFA/DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Program. Jan Leach, plant pathology professor and collaborators from Colorado State University are translating basic information from rice to increase the biomass of the potential energy crop switchgrass. A video titled ‘Grass O’line’: The Fuel of the Future - Plant Pathologists Consider Switch Grass for Biofuel Crop, Manipulate Genes for More Effective Yield” is available on the American Institute of Physics website.

The National e-Commerce Extension Initiative Releases Online Guide

Connecting the community and its members to the world through the Internet can be a challenge in rural areas. Connecting Communities, a new curriculum in the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative, is designed to help rural communities conquer challenge. This guide is designed to enhance the use and adoption of information technology tools and infrastructure in rural communities. The National E-Commerce Extension Initiative addresses factors that dictate the adoption and diffusion of e-commerce innovations in rural areas. The program provides education to enhance e-commerce strategies by small business, entrepreneurs, farmers/farm managers, retailers, artisans, and communities across the nation. This initiative is administered through the Southern Rural Development Center in partnership with NIFA.

 

Grant Opportunities Announced for Extension Risk Management Education Programs

The Western Center for Risk Management Education, in conjunction with the Northeast, North Central, and Southern Centers, funded by NIFA, has announced a funding opportunity for projects that help farm and ranch families succeed through targeted risk management strategies. Awards will fund projects conducted between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013. Grant awards are generally between $5,000 and $50,000, however there is no absolute upper or lower limit on the funds provided to a single project. Pre-proposals are being accepted through December 8, 2011. This year the Western Center's Request For Applications will include regional risk management priorities in three risk topic areas, which include:  managing risks associated with the increased volatility of input costs and market prices; managing the risks associated with pests and diseases and other natural disasters such as drought, floods and fire that affect the economic viability of farms and ranches, and managing counterparty risk of default.

 

NIFA’s SRDC Wins National Diversity Award

The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) was awarded the Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award by the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences at their annual conference. This honor is given annually to recognize outstanding efforts and accomplishments of individuals and/or teams in diversity and pluralism in Extension education programming. The SRDC was recognized for their work with Turning the Tide on Poverty, a regional initiative that has been successful at involving a wide range of community members in seeking a “place-based” solution to poverty grounded in local talents and concerns, and led by local voices.

 

The next NIFA issue is planned for November 23. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by November 16 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: 12/09/2011