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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update – February 14, 2013

NIFA Update — February 14, 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.

NIFA

  • Brandon Leaves for DHS
  • Kahler Named 4-H Science NPL
  • Introducing NIFA’s New NPL for Environmental Education and Healthy Living
  • NIFA NPL Helps Haiti Reestablish Ag Schools
  • Fortis Reports to PARS
  • NIFA Releases FY 2013 Organic Transitions Program RFA
  • USDA Awards Grants to Fight Weedy and Invasive Species
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Comments on 2013 Farm Income Forecast
  • Reminder: Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Must be Postmarked by March 25
  • National Program Continues to Increase Local Foods in Schools and Provides New Economic Opportunities for Producers of All Kinds 
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Signs Regulation Confirming "Government-to-Government" Consultation with Tribes
  • USDA Announces Winners of 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program
  • U.S. Trade Representative and Agriculture Secretary Announce Agreement to Further Open Japan's Market to U.S. Beef 
  • USDA Announces Latest Actions to Enhance Integrity in America's Most Critical Nutrition Assistance Program

 

Partners

  • SNAP-Ed Report Available
  • WRDC RuralCONNECTIONS
  • STEC-CAP News 

 

Opportunities

  • Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Preparedness

 

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is February 27, 2013

Brandon Leaves for DHS

After 6 years as Assistant Director of NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management Division, Dr. Andrea Brandon decided to leave NIFA for a new position as Director, Financial Assistance Policy and Oversight at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Ralph Otto, NIFA Deputy Director for Food and Community Resources will serve as Interim Assistant Director.

Kahler Named 4-H Science NPL

Jim Kahler was named national program leader in the Division of Youth and 4-H. He will provide program leadership in youth development, STEM, agriculture science and technology, including 4-H science. He provided leadership at 4-H National Headquarters to the 4-H Science Mission Mandate and supported the CYFAR program in his prior position as program specialist. Before joining the 4-H National Headquarters staff, Kahler served for 20 years as a county 4-H educator with Maryland Cooperative Extension. During his tenure in Maryland 4-H, he spent 2 years as a technology specialist for the 4-H/Army Youth Development Project. Kahler is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 4319, and can be reached at 202-690-1568

Introducing NIFA’s New NPL for Environmental Education and Healthy Living

Amy McCune has accepted the position of national program leader in the Division of Youth and 4-H. She will provide leadership for environmental education and healthy living. McCune served as a program specialist in the division for 3 years working on curriculum, Programs of Distinction, and 4-H policy matters.

She began her 4-H career as a 4-H member in Massachusetts before becoming a 4-H volunteer for 5 years. During that time she worked as a vocational counselor for an outreach program funded by the Department of Mental Health. McCune served as a county 4-H educator in Massachusetts for 10 years before moving to South Carolina as a state 4-H specialist for 5 years. Her doctorate is in the field of community recreation, where she studied the motivation of sport volunteers; her graduate work was in organizational communications. McCune is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 4313, and can be reached at 202-720-2920.

NIFA NPL Helps Haiti Reestablish Ag Schools

P. Gregory Smith, national education program leader for secondary and postsecondary education in the Division of Community and Education, will travel to Haiti February 17-22 to assist the Foreign Agriculture Service in reestablishing Haitian agricultural vocational schools (écoles moyennes agricoles, or EMAs). This is an ongoing, multi-year project funded by USAID that will, with guidance from Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture, engage U.S. food and agricultural educational institutions to update and reestablish curricula modules, train administrative and teaching faculty, and rejuvenate several EMAs in Haiti. The program includes a plan to establish mentoring programs to develop sustainable, ongoing Haitian student entrepreneurship opportunities that will improve Haitian vocational agriculture, food safety, and economic stability.

Fortis Reports to PARS

Laurie Fortis is the new technical information specialist with the Planning, Accountability, and Reporting Staff (PARS). She will work on data integration and analysis from the CRIS and the REEport systems. This work will include searching for data resident in these systems as well as in REEIS, the Leadership Management Dashboard, and the Plan of Work. This involves planning, development, coordination, and delivery of programmatic, accountability, and financial information from these systems. She was formerly assigned to the Institute for Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment as a program specialist. Fortis is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 1346, and can be reached at 202-401-0249.

NIFA Releases FY 2013 Organic Transitions Program RFA

NIFA recently released the FY2013 Organic Transitions Program (ORG) RFA for public viewing. ORG supports research, Extension, and higher education programs that improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. ORG prioritizes environmental services provided by organic farming systems and two new priorities that support the development of: (1) the educational tools for Cooperative Extension personnel and other agricultural professionals who advise producers on organic practices, and (2) cultural practices and other allowable alternatives to substances recommended for removal from the National Organic Program’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. ORG addresses practices and systems associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy), and organic systems that integrate plant and animal production. Visit the NIFA Funding Opportunity Page for links to the RFA, the NIFA Grants.gov Application Guide, application package, and abstracts of funded projects.

USDA Awards Grants to Fight Weedy and Invasive Species

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2013 – NIFA awarded eight research grants totaling $3.5 million for the management, control, or elimination of weedy or invasive species. “Invasive plants and animals can wreak havoc on agriculture and the environment, with losses estimated at $137 billion per year,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Research, such as the projects we are awarding today, will help us control these non-native species and help minimize further losses for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
 
The foundational program awards are administered through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants priority area. 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

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

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase II

February 28, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

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

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Organic Transitions (ORG)

April 5, 2013

Steven I. Smith

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Childhood Obesity Prevention

April 11, 2013

Deirdra Chester

AFRI-Climate Variability and Change

April 15, 2013

Michael A. Bowers

AFRI-Foundational Program: Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities

May 22, 2013

Robbin Shoemaker

Water Sustainability and Climate

September 10, 2013

Mary Ann Rozum

 

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 Tom Vilsack Comments on 2013 Farm Income Forecast

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement on the 2013 farm income forecast from USDA's Economic Research Service. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full statement and highlights

Reminder: Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Must be Postmarked by March 25

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminded Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades that there are 45 days remaining in the filing period closing March 25, 2013.

The process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied his or her application for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. As announced in February 2011, the voluntary claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program. The department will continue reaching out to potential Hispanic and female claimants around the country to get the word out to individuals who may be eligible for this program so they have the opportunity to participate. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

National Program Continues to Increase Local Foods in Schools and Provides New Economic Opportunities for Producers of All Kinds 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the release of an RFA for the latest round of USDA's Farm to School grants. These grants help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.

This year, three kinds of grants will be available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities. Proposals are due at midnight EST, April 24, 2013. Visit the USDA Newsroom for more details.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Signs Regulation Confirming "Government-to-Government" Consultation with Tribes

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has signed a Departmental Regulation which "establishes over-arching Department-wide guidance" concerning consultation and coordination with Indian Tribes. "This Regulation is intended to ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives have full access to the programs and services offered by the Department," said Vilsack.

As approved by the Secretary, the Departmental Regulation directs USDA and its agencies to provide federally recognized Tribes the opportunity for government-to-government consultation in policy development and program activities "which have direct and substantial effects on their Tribe." The intent is to ensure that tribal perspectives be heard and fully considered "on the social, cultural, economic and ecological aspect of agriculture, as well as tribal food and natural resource priorities and goals." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces Winners of 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 30 agricultural university students to attend USDA's 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum. The students—who attend land-grant, Hispanic-serving, and American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources Institutions have received assistance from USDA and corporate sponsors to attend the forum. The 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum is February 21-22, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. The university juniors and seniors were selected based on their responses to essays. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

U.S. Trade Representative and Agriculture Secretary Announce Agreement to Further Open Japan's Market to U.S. Beef

Washington, D.C. Jan. 28 – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Under these new terms, which enter into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps. It is estimated that these important changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease).Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces Latest Actions to Enhance Integrity in America's Most Critical Nutrition Assistance Program

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 – USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced results of USDA's efforts to identify and eliminate fraudulent retailers from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in fiscal year 2012. Last year, USDA compliance analysts and investigators took action to:

  • Review over 15,000 stores;
  • Conduct investigations on more than 5,000 stores nationwide;
  • Impose sanctions, through fines or temporary disqualifications, on 692 stores found violating program rules; and
  • Permanently disqualify 1,387 stores for trafficking in SNAP benefits (i.e. exchanging SNAP benefits for cash) or falsifying an application.

"Our message is clear and firm: Abuse of SNAP benefits—and the American taxpayer's trust—will not be tolerated and carries severe consequences," Concannon said. "In the coming year, we will take further steps to strengthen SNAP integrity and continue to hold accountable those few bad actors that try to take advantage of the program. We are committed to ensuring these dollars are spent as intended—helping millions of American families put healthy food on the table." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

SNAP-Ed Report Available

The national SNAP-Ed report, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) through the Land-Grant University System for FY2010:  A Retrospective Review, was recently released. This report was created in response to a need to have baseline data for the final year, FY2010, before the changes from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 were enacted. The report is valuable in understanding and explaining the Land-Grant University System capacity, commitment, and contribution to SNAP-Ed. It was written by Dr. Julie Sexton, of Mississippi State University, and funded by Cooperative Extension Service directors and administrators. Dr. Helen Chipman, NIFA national program leader for food and nutrition education, served as the project director.

WRDC RuralCONNECTIONS

The Western Rural Development Center (WRDC) released RuralCONNECTIONS magazine, January 2013, Vol. 7, Issue I. This issue shows that the difference between the West and the rest of the country is water, or the lack thereof. 2012 was reported to be the hottest year on record, and models show that much of the West is projected to become not only drier, but also hotter with increased wildfires. The wildfires last year burned millions of acres and—with expanding development—resulted in more homes and other human developments these areas being subjected to wildfires. Researchers and Cooperative Extension professionals at Western land-grant universities, working with a variety of partners, are looking for solutions to these problems. This issue presents research findings and outreach programs that help individuals and communities in the West cope with drought and wildfire. WRDC is competitively funded by NIFA and supported by Utah State University Cooperative Extension and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

STEC-CAP News 

STEC-CAP Team has launched a new monthly newsletter, STEC-CAP News. STEC-CAP is identified as the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli Coordinated Agricultural Project to improve beef safety. The $25 million NIFA grant was awarded to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and includes a team of 50 collaborators from 12 institutions. To subscribe to the newsletter, send an email to listserv@unl.edu and type in the message field: subscribe stecbeefsafety. Visit the STEC-CAP website to learn more about the STEC-CAP Team, their research, and accomplishments.

 

Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Preparedness

The EDEN Agrosecurity Symposium: Building National Networks and Partnerships will be held in Washington, DC, at the Conference and Training Center, Patriots Plaza III, on April 22-23. The goal is to build nationwide networks and partnerships to synchronize disaster preparedness efforts that affect the food and agriculture section. There is no registration fee to attend, but registration is required. Register online no later than April 15. Contact Andrea Higdon, Agrosecurity Program Coordinator for the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, for additional information.

 

The next NIFA issue is planned for February 27, 2013. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by February 20. 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