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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update - May 23, 2012

NIFA Update — May 23, 2012

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 National Integrated Water Quality Program RFA Available
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Celebrates USDA's 150th Year of Service
  • USDA Grants to Increase Farmers Market Participation in SNAP
  • USDA Seeks Grant Applications to Improve Rural Housing
  • USDA Advances Water Quality Conservation Across the United States


  • Call for Diversity Proposals 

  • Chen Will Become IAFoST Fellow

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is June 6

NIFA National Integrated Water Quality Program RFA Available

NIFA’s FY 2012 National Integrated Water Quality Program Request For Applications (RFA) is now available for public viewing. Applications are due June 28. Information about the program is available on our NIFA Funding Opportunity web page. This page includes links to the RFA, the NIFA Application Guide, the application package, and abstracts of funded projects. 

The synopsis page includes a synopsis of the funding opportunity, a link to the full announcement (RFA), and the application package. Contact: Mike O’Neill, Jim Dobrowolski, Dewell Paez, or Greg Sixt for more information.

NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI)

See solicitation deadlines.

Carmela Bailey

Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program (EIPM-CS)

May 29, 2012

Martin A. Draper

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program (SLSNCGP)

June 1, 2012

William Hoffman

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Childhood Obesity Prevention

June 5, 2012

Jane M. Clary

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program

June 15, 2012

Susan S. Shockey

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP)

June 15, 2012

Charles F. Cleland

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions Program (MBT)

June 19, 2012

Kitty Cardwell

Common Bean Productivity Research for Global Food Security Competitive Grants Program

June 27, 2012

Kitty Cardwell

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP)

June 28, 2012

Michael O’Neill

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Species

September 20, 2012

Mark A. Mirando


NIFA advertises all of its funding opportunities through “Find Grant Opportunities” on the 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 Celebrates USDA's 150th Year of Service

WASHINGTON, May 15 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack marked the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and highlighted the positive impact that USDA has on the life of Americans each day.

President Lincoln created USDA in 1862 and in his last address before Congress, called it the "People's Department." President Lincoln established USDA because he understood the importance of agriculture to America's success – and under the Obama Administration USDA has focused on advancing Lincoln's legacy. The department has delivered record amounts of loan assistance; enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs; provided food assistance to 1 in 4 Americans; and helped to upgrade infrastructure, such as electric and broadband Internet service, for millions of people.

Throughout 2012, USDA will continue to recognize important events such as President Lincoln's signing of the Act to establish the Department of Agriculture on May, 15, 1862, and the July 2, 1862, signing of the Morrill Act to establish public land-grant universities. Learn more about President Lincoln's agricultural legacy here. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Grants to Increase Farmers Market Participation in SNAP

WASHINGTON, May 9 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced awards to help states expand availability of wireless technology in farmers' markets not currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The $4 million in funding provides SNAP participants greater access to fresh and healthy food, while supporting American farmers and local economies.

In the past, farmers' markets, which usually do not have access to phone lines or electricity, have had difficulty redeeming SNAP benefits through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system. As a result of funding provided by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, states may provide wireless equipment to currently nonparticipating farmers' markets, opening the door for their participation in the program. There are currently over 1,500 farmers markets using EBT technology. Since 2008, SNAP expenditures at farmers markets have risen by 400 percent. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Seeks Grant Applications to Improve Rural Housing

WASHINGTON, May 9 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that applications for grants are being accepted to provide assistance to low- and very-low-income rural residents to repair their homes. USDA Rural Development is offering Housing Preservation Grants to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multifamily rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. USDA does not provide funding directly to homeowners under this program.
Grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. Housing Preservation Grants help bring job growth and stability to low-income communities while improving the living conditions of rural Americans. For FY 2012, USDA may award up to $4.1 million in competitive grants through the Housing Preservation Grant program. Applications are due June 25, 2012. For more information on how to apply, please see Page 27179 of the May 9, 2012, Federal Register. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Advances Water Quality Conservation Across the United States

WASHINGTON, May 8 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving one to seven impaired watersheds in every U.S. state and territory. The initiative is part of the Obama administration's White House Rural Council, which is working in partnership with farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to improve conservation of working lands in rural America. The 157 selected watersheds were identified with assistance from state agencies, key partners, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Committees. NRCS will make available at least $33 million in financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners this year to implement conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, filter strips, and terraces. The initiative will build on ongoing efforts in the Mississippi River Basin, Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and other landscape conservation initiatives across the nation. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


Call for Diversity Proposals

The 9th Annual Tri-State Diversity Conference has issued a call for proposals due May 31, 2012. The conference is February 21-22, 2013, at the Marriott Hotel, Cincinnati Airport, Hebron, KY. The goal is to link people and resources together to better integrate diversity into programs, policies, and practices for creating community well-being. Administrators, faculty, and staff from private or public universities; Extension services; K-12 educators and administration; community leaders; health and social services; professionals; businesses; human resource staff; and all others wanting to empower greater diversity and cultural understanding within their communities and workplaces should attend. Visit the conference website for more details.


Chen Will Become IAFoST Fellow

Hongda Chen, national program leader for food science & technology and nanotechnology in NIFA’s Institute for Food Safety and Nutrition, will be elected to the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) by his peers as an outstanding representative of the international food science and technology. Nominations for each year are made by the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) adhering bodies and IAFoST Fellows. Twenty-two new Fellows will be inducted at the 16th World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Iguassu Falls, Brazil, in August 2012. Fellows serve as independent persons to work and promote high standards of ethics and scientific endeavors. They are at the forefront of IUFoST, helping to strengthen global food science and technology for humanity.


The next NIFA issue is planned for June 6. Submit news items to: by May 30. If you have questions about Update, please contact the Editor: Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff.

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.

Sonny Ramaswamy, 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: 05/24/2012