NIFA Update — December 9, 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.
- Message from Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young
- NIFA Awards Grants to Universities in 13 States to Improve Food Safety through Research, Education and Extension
- NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
- Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Announce Largest Ever Government Purchase of Biofuel
- USDA Announces New Insurance Pilot Program for Biofuel-Friendly Oilseed Crop with Potential to Create Jobs, Stimulate Rural Economies
- Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Strong 2011 Farm Income Forecast, Continued Strength of American Agriculture
- Pigford Settlement Claims Filing Period Opens for African American Farmers and Ranchers
- The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Announces Call for Small Grants Competition
- Extension Educator Presents Rural Community Development Work to Global Audience
- Community Development Society Announces Call for Abstracts
- Journal of Rural Social Sciences Seeks Papers on Rural Health
- NCRCRD Hosts Webinar on Facilitating Technology Transfer
Awards and Recognition
- Two Extension Specialists Recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Family Life Extension Work
- First Issue for 2012 Scheduled January 11
Message from Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young
As 2011 nears its end, we here in NIFA are reflecting on the past year. With the support of you, our partners, NIFA rose to meet the many challenges that we faced as an agency and continued to experience many successes. I have been honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Acting Director of NIFA, and I have been delighted to work alongside the NIFA team, serving customers and stakeholders in the food and agricultural research, education, and extension communities. I want to thank the NIFA employees for their work and service to make the world a better place to live. I also want to thank our customers and stakeholders for their continued support of NIFA. I value the contributions all of you make to NIFA’s mission of leading food and agriculture science to create a better future for the nation and the world.
At the end of 2011, approximately 20 of our NIFA colleagues will retire. We will miss them and their vast knowledge and experience. However, we wish them all the best as they pursue new opportunities and enjoy their well-deserved Federal retirements.
In 2012, NIFA will continue moving forward with the vision to advance the goals of the Department through a renewed commitment to excellence in the agricultural sciences. We will focus on critical national needs and enhance the overall quality, relevancy, and performance of NIFA programs.
I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and another rewarding year in 2012.
Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Ph.D.
Acting NIFA Director
NIFA Awards Grants to Universities in 13 States to Improve Food Safety through Research, Education and Extension
EAST LANSING, Michigan, Dec. 7, 2011–Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Michigan State University today to announce that USDA has awarded 17 grants to improve the safety of the food supply in the United States through research, education and extension. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants, totaling $10.4 million, to universities in 13 states to help address a broad spectrum of food safety issues. Michigan State University was awarded three grants in total.
NIFA made the awards through the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (NIFSI), which addresses a broad spectrum of food safety concerns, from on-farm production, post-harvest processing and distribution, to food selection, preparation and consumption. Focused on integrated approaches to food safety, NIFSI projects combine research at colleges and universities, education in the classroom, and outreach to a variety of groups, including consumers, foodservice workers, teachers, federal agencies, and farmers. Visit the NIFA website to view the entire release.
NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications
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.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Announce Largest Ever Government Purchase of Biofuel
WASHINGTON, December 5, 2011 —Today, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced drop-in biofuel, the single largest purchase of biofuel in government history. This purchase is significant because it accelerates the development and demonstration of a homegrown fuel source that can reduce America's, and our military's, dependence on foreign oil.
The Defense Department will purchase biofuel made from a blend of non-food waste (used cooking oil) and algae. The fuel will be used in the U.S. Navy's demonstration of a Green Strike Group in the summer of 2012 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world's largest international maritime exercise.
DLA will pay half the price for the Green Strike Group biofuel than it paid for biofuel for testing in 2009. Increased demand will likely continue this trend toward more cost-effective biofuel. Renewable jet fuel produced by Dynamic Fuels has already been used in regularly scheduled commercial airline flights by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Finnair, Thomson Airways, and Alaska Airlines. Visit the USDA website to view the entire release.
USDA Announces New Insurance Pilot Program for Biofuel-Friendly Oilseed Crop with Potential to Create Jobs, Stimulate Rural Economies
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2011—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced a new pilot program of insurance for camelina beginning with the 2012 crop year. Camelina is an oilseed crop with the potential to create new renewable energy markets in the United States, generate rural jobs here at home, and decrease America's dependence on foreign oil. The new pilot program will be available in selected counties in Montana and North Dakota for the 2012 crop year, with a sales closing date of February 1, 2012.
The camelina plan of insurance is Actual Production History, which insures a grower's yield. Only spring-planted camelina grown under contract with a processor will be eligible for coverage. Insurable causes of loss will include: adverse weather, fire, wildlife, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and insect and plant disease but not damage due to insufficient or improper application of pest or disease control measures. Visit the USDA website view the entire release.
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Strong 2011 Farm Income Forecast, Continued Strength of American Agriculture
Pigford Settlement Claims Filing Period Opens for African-American Farmers and Ranchers
WASHINGTON, November 28, 2011- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded African-American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Pigford II settlement has opened.
In February, USDA and Department of Justice announced an agreement with African-American farmers to settle the Pigford II litigation for $1.25 billion. Congress passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 that funded the settlement in November 2010, and the bill was signed by President Obama in December 2010.
The settlement arises from a class action lawsuit against USDA that alleges the Department discriminated against African-Americans who applied for or attempted to apply for farm loans or other farm benefits between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996. The settlement applies only to African-American farmers who meet specific eligibility requirements, including the requirement that they previously submitted a request to file a late claim in the 1999 Pigford I class action Consent Decree.
The filing period opened November 14, 2011, and continues for 180 days, until May 11, 2012.
Visit the USDA website to view the entire release.
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Announces Call for Small Grants Competition
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) announces its Small Grants competition. The program will increase the capacity of land-grant universities in the 12-state region to execute their rural development mission. Themes include
- innovation diffusion for rural development,
- leadership development,
- sustainable communities, and
- entrepreneurial communities.
Proposals are due at 5 p.m. (EST) on January 10, 2012. Full details, including descriptions of previously funded projects can be found at this link. Contact Rosa Soliz, communications and logistics associate, NCRCRD, or Sally Maggard, NIFA national program leader for Regional Rural Development, for information about this program.
Extension Educator Presents Rural Community Development Work to Global Audience
Penn State University Extension Educator, William Shuffstall, delivered a presentation in November at the Global Forum Conference held in Brussels, Belgium. The Global Forum is an annual international and independent event, dedicated to the economic, political, social, and societal issues related to the successful evolution of the information society. The theme for this year’s conference was “Vision for the Digital Future: Mobilizing Organizations and People for Sustainable Growth.” Shuffstall’s presentation focused on filling the connectivity gap in rural communities.
Two Extension Specialists Recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Family Life Extension Work
Dr. Andrew Behnke and Dr. Stephen Small on November 15 were awarded the Early Career Achievement Award at the Extension Family Life Specialists Pre-Conference held at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference.
Behnke earned the award for his demonstrated impact on extension inside and outside his home state of North Carolina and solid evidence of impact and improvement in people’s lives. Over the last 5½ years, Behnke has organized a comprehensive program for helping youth and their families to live healthy and productive lives by securing external funding and building collaborative teams. His efforts have included 16 projects that total nearly $7 million in grants to develop, deliver, and evaluate high quality, research-based programs that assist youth and families across the nation.
Small was selected for his pioneering a path that integrates science and practice. In addition to developing programs that have made a significant impact in communities, his publications have shaped how scientists think about changing and improving family life in communities through research. Over 20 years ago, Small developed the Teen Assessment Program, a research process that produces usable data that communities can use to improve the lives of teenagers while, at the same time, contributing to the scholarly knowledge on adolescent development. Small has been with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for over 25 years.
The next NIFA issue is planned for January 11, 2012. Submit news items to: firstname.lastname@example.org by January 6. If you have questions about Update, please contact the Editor: Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff.
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Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Director
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