Advanced SearchHomeAbout UsGrantsFormsNewsroomHelpContact Us
Browse by Subject
Agricultural Systems
Animals & Animal Products
Biotechnology & Genomics
Economics & Commerce
Families, Youth, & Communities
Food, Nutrition, & Health
Natural Resources & Environment
Pest Management
Plant & Plant Products
Technology & Engineering
You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update – January 17, 2013

NIFA Update — January 17, 2013

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.


  • William C. Wagner
  • NIFA Food Safety Research Highlighted
  • USDA Announces Investments in Bioenergy Research and Development
  • USDA-Funded Research Leads to Initial Draft of the Loblolly Pine Genome
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • USDA Seeks New Director for Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Census Provides Opportunity to Grow the Future of Agriculture
  • USDA Announces Speakers for the 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum 
  • Agriculture Secretary Appoints New National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection Members     
  • USDA Issues Final Rule for Animal Disease Traceability



  • Purdue Appoints New Leader for Center for Regional Development
  • Attention Extension Professionals Serving Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers


  • Next issue of NIFA Update is January 30, 2013

William C. Wagner

Dr. William C. Wagner, retired national program and section head leader in veterinary medicine for the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), died December 10 at his home in Reston, VA. Wagner received his DVM degree in 1956 and Ph.D. in 1968, both from Cornell University. Wagner was a member of several scientific societies and a recipient of numerous awards, including the Senior U.S. Scientist Awardee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1973-74), a Senior Fulbright Research Professorship in Germany (1984-85), and the William P. Switzer Award from Iowa State University for Meritorious Service in Veterinary Medicine in 1999.

He was instrumental in developing the competitive grants program in animal health at CSREES. He remained in his position at CSREES from 1993 until retirement in 2002. Wagner accepted a position as visiting professor at The Ohio State University, working on strategic planning and research funding as well as continuing with a major effort in further development of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. In August 2007, he accepted the appointment as dean, School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Matthew's University, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. He left this position in December 2011 and was named Dean Emeritus at the school. Over the years, he served as a mentor to a number of postdoctoral, Ph.D., and masters candidates, and served on many boards and committees relating to veterinary sciences in one way or another. He is survived by his wife, Victoria Wagner, of Reston, VA, and his four children.

NIFA Food Safety Research Highlighted

The January 2013 issue of Food Technology featured an article on Targeting Norovirus, which highlighted NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative food safety challenge awards and the Coordinated Agriculture Project grants to study viruses across the food supply chain with a focus on noroviruses. These projects were funded to develop innovative food processing technologies to destroy noroviruses and other foodborne pathogens and to develop improved tools, skills, and capacity to understand and control foodborne virus risks. Drs. Hongda Chen, national program leader for bioprocessing engineering/nanotechnology, and Jeanette Thurston, national program leader for food safety and epidemiology, provided interviews on their respective grant programs.

USDA Announces Investments in Bioenergy Research and Development

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Jan. 11, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a state-of-the-art bioindustrial facility at Renmatix, where he announced that $25 million would  fund research and development of the next-generation renewable energy and high-value biobased products from a variety of biomass sources.

The projects announced are funded by NIFA through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, established in the 2008 Farm Bill. The funded research will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products to diversify the nation’s energy resources. The U.S. Department of Energy will make additional awards through this program. Each award was made through a competitive selection process. 

Awardees must pursue projects that integrate science and engineering research in three areas: feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels and bioproducts development analysis. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA-Funded Research Leads to Initial Draft of the Loblolly Pine Genome

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 11, 2013 – Researchers at the University of California-Davis, with funding from USDA, released the initial draft genome sequence of the loblolly pine, an important conifer species that is used as a feedstock for biofuels and can aid in climate change mitigation. The announcement was made at the 2013 Plant and Animal Genome Conference here.

“Loblolly pine plays an important role in American forestry, and I am excited to announce that we now have a much-needed tool in unlocking the secrets of these trees,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA Director. “I look forward to our continued work with the University of California-Davis and their application of this new knowledge.”

NIFA awarded the $14.6 million grant to University of California-Davis in 2011. Dr. David Neale leads the 5-year project with collaboration from five other organizations. Pine genomes are extremely large, at 10 times the size of the human genome, making this assembly the largest ever successfully completed. The team generated roughly 1.2 trillion bases of DNA. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


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

January 18, 2013

Gregory Smith

AFRI-Foundational Program: Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health

February 6, 2013


Jodi Williams

Higher Education Challenge Grants Program

February 8, 2013

Gregory Smith

Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

February 11, 2013

Irma Lawrence

1890 Facilities Grants Program

February 11, 2012

P.S. Benepal

AFRI-Foundational Program: Agriculture Systems and Technology

February 13, 2013

Daniel Schmoldt

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP)

February 14, 2013

Tim Grosser

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) (formerly Extension Indian Reservation Program)


February 15, 2013

Tim Grosser

AFRI-Foundational Program: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products

February 19, 2013

Ann Lichens-Park

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Community Projects

February 20, 2013

Bonita Williams

AFRI-Foundational Program: Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment

February 21, 2013

Nancy Cavallaro

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy: A Joint Research Solicitation – USDA, DOE

February 25, 2013

Ed Kaleikau

Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program (ANNH)

March 1, 2012

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Distance Education Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas (DEG)

March 1, 2013

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas (RIIA)

March 1, 2013

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants (CBG) Program

March 5, 2013

Edwin Lewis

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: NIFA Fellowships Grant Program

March 14, 2012

Ray A. Ali

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)

March 21, 2013

Shing F Kwok

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Bioenergy

April 3, 2013

Franklin E. Boteler

AFRI-Climate Variability and Change

April 15, 2013

Michael A. Bowers

AFRI-Foundational Program: Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities

May 22, 2013

Robbin Shoemaker


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.

USDA Seeks New Director for Office of the Chief Scientist

The Office of the Secretary of Agriculture is seeking a new Director for the Office of the USDA Chief Scientist, USDA REE Mission Area, ES-0401. This is a Senior Executive Service, Career Reserved, full-time permanent position located in Washington, DC. The salary range: $119,554.00 to $179,700.00/ per year.

This position is located in the Office of the Chief Scientist which provides scientific leadership to the Department by ensuring that research supported by and scientific advice provided to the Department and its stakeholders is held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity. It also identifies and prioritizes Department-wide agricultural research, education, and Extension needs.

The incumbent supervises program planning and execution by Research, Education, and Extension office (REEO) Staff, which includes the following activities and functions: provides expert scientific advice to the Chief Scientist on science policy, and priorities, including planning, and coordination. Incumbent facilitates the coordination and collaboration of science leadership across the Department on high-priority emerging scientific issues. This includes the facilitation of goal setting for implementing, planning, and building partnerships. Applications will be accepted from all groups of qualified individuals. The position is open until Monday, February 4, 2013. Go to the USAJOBS website for the complete Job Announcement: AG-01-2013-0001.

Census Provides Opportunity to Grow the Future of Agriculture  

The 2012 Census of Agriculture, the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation, was mailed to millions of farmers and ranchers across the United States in mid-December. Conducted every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect the way farmers do business and succeed in the 21st Century.

Completed Census forms are due by Feb. 4. Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting the Agriculture Census website. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. For more information about the Census, visit the secure Agriculture Census website, or call 888-4AG-STAT (888-424-7828).

USDA Announces Speakers for the 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 – USDA announced the speakers for the 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum, "Managing Risk in the 21st Century," Feb. 21-22 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, VA. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will present the keynote address, followed by guest speaker former Senator Thomas A. Daschle, currently a senior policy advisor with DLA Piper. USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will present the 2013 U.S. Economic Outlook for Agriculture. In addition, a distinguished panel of speakers for the Feb. 21 plenary session includes: Bryan T. Durkin, chief operating officer, CME Group; David Baudler, president of Cargill AgHorizons; and Scott H. Irwin, Laurence J. Norton chair of agricultural marketing, University of Illinois. Mike Adams, AgriTalk Radio host, will moderate the panel. The forum's dinner speaker on Feb. 21 will be Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, addressing the, "U.S. Energy Market Outlook." A program schedule and registration are available on the forum website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Appoints New National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection Members  

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of members to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) for the 2012-2014 term. Established in 1971, the 17-member committee meets on food safety concerns and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on matters affecting federal and state inspection program activities. It also contributes to USDA's regulatory policy development.

New NACMPI members are Dr. Carol Lorenzen, University of Missouri; Sherika Harvey, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce; Dr. John Marcy, University of Arkansas Center of Excellence for Poultry Science; Christopher Waldrop, Consumer Federation of America; and Dr. Michael Rybolt, Hillshire Brands Company. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Issues Final Rule for Animal Disease Traceability

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2012 – USDA announced a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate. Under the final rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.

For more specific details about the regulation and how it will affect producers, visit the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website. The official notice appeared in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 6, on Jan. 9, 2013. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Purdue Appoints New Leader for Center for Regional Development

Purdue University has chosen Lionel "Bo" J. Beaulieu as its next director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, beginning in April. The center provides support for civic leaders as they build their economies through education and workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship support, physical planning, and leadership development.

Beaulieu will serve as a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. He was director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University since 1997, where he also is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Prior to that, Beaulieu was a professor in the University of Florida's Department of Family, Youth, and Community Services and assistant and acting chair of the Department of 4-H Youth Development. He earned masters and doctoral degrees from Purdue University.

Attention Extension Professionals Serving Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers

If someone you serve believes that USDA has improperly denied them farm loan benefits between 1981 and 2000 because they are Hispanic or female, they may be eligible to apply for compensation. Claims MUST be filed by March 25, 2013, to be considered for cash payment or loan forgiveness.

If you believe they might be eligible to file a claim, please have them contact the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 888-508-4429 or visit this informational website.

For guidance, they may contact an attorney or other legal service provider in your community. If they are currently represented by an attorney regarding allegations of discrimination or in a lawsuit claiming discrimination, they should contact their attorney regarding this claims process. USDA cannot provide legal advice.


The next NIFA issue is planned for January 30, 2013. Submit news items to: by January 23. 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: 1/17/2013