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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update – June 20, 2013

NIFA Update — June 20, 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.



  • REEport Requests Comments
  • Communications Staff Director Position Available
  • IBCE Assistant Director Boteler Retires
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • USDA Promotes Efforts to Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food
  • Vilsack Outlines Vision for Agricultural Solutions to Environmental Challenges



  • GCHERA World Agriculture Prize



  • Journal Highlights BFRDP Program


  • SARE Receives ACE Awards


  • Next issue of NIFA Update is July 3, 2013

REEport Requests Comments

REEport is NIFA's singular grant project reporting system, building on and replacing the existing Current Research Information System (CRIS) Web forms system. The notice, “Notice of Intent To Request Approval to Establish a New Information Collection,” published in the Federal Register on June 7, 2013, is requesting comments on the new REEport system. Written comments on this notice must be received by August 12, 2013, to be assured of consideration. Please follow the directions on the Federal Register notice for submitting comments.

Communications Staff Director Position Available

This position is located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Office of the Director, Communication Staff and is classified as a Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist, GS-1035-15. Closing date is:  June 27, 2013.

The Director of the Communications Staff serves as a top advisor to the NIFA Director and manages the public affairs program with responsibility for planning, designing, and executing a program to inform and educate the public, news media, and specialized audiences about NIFA programs and outcomes. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for the position and suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation.

As the head of the Communications Staff, you will be NIFA's lead public affairs expert. You will establish priorities, manage the budget, and allocate resources for NIFA publications and services. You will recommend various communication strategies to increase the effectiveness of NIFA communication programs, serve as the NIFA liaison to the Department of Agriculture's Office of Communications, and work closely with the communications officers at the land-grant universities and communications officers of other federal and private science organizations. You will develop materials and resources for public presentations and serve as a spokesperson for the agency to present NIFA's position on controversial issues, explain program developments, and announce upcoming events. You will also provide administrative and technical supervision to the Communications Staff. To learn more about NIFA visit the website

Vacancy Announcement Number:  NIFA-S13N-0015 is open to any U.S. citizen. This link will take you directly to the vacancy announcement where you may view and/or apply for this position.

Vacancy Announcement Number:  NIFA-M13N-0016 is open to status candidates and non-competitive eligibles. This link will take you directly to the vacancy announcement where you may view and/or apply for this position. Contact Vivian Brooks-Marshall, supervisory human resources specialist, for additional information.

IBCE Assistant Director Boteler Retires

Dr. Frank Boteler, assistant director of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment (IBCE), retired effective May 31, after 8 years of federal service.

NIFA plans to conduct an extensive national search to fill this mission-critical position. While the agency is recruiting to fill this position, the following individuals have been asked to serve in acting roles:

  • Brad Rein will serve as the IBCE acting assistant director. Rein currently is the division director for Agricultural Systems in the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS).
  • Dr. Luis Tupas will serve as the acting division director for Bioenergy within IBCE in addition to his role as Global Climate Change division director in IBCE.
  • Dr. Dan Schmoldt will serve as the IFPS acting division director for Agricultural Systems.

NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Special Research Grants Program Potato Breeding Research

June 25, 2013

Ann Marie Thro

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

July 10, 2013

James P. Dobrowolski

Rural Youth Development (RYD) Grants Program

July 15, 2013

Nancy Valentine

Expert Integrated Pest Management Decision Support System

July 16, 2013

Herbert Bolton

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Food Security

July 17, 2013

Robbin Shoemaker

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Carbon Cycle Science

July 31, 2013

Nancy Cavallaro

Multi-partner Call on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research

September 3, 2013

Nancy Cavallaro

Water Sustainability and Climate

September 10, 2013

Mary Ann Rozum

Small Business Innovation Research: Biofuels and Biobased Products

September 26, 2013

William Goldner

Small Business Innovation Research: Food Science and Nutrition

September 26, 2013

Jodi Williams

Small Business Innovation Research: Forests and Related Resources

September 26, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research: Plant Production and Protection - Biology

September 26, 2013

Shing F Kwok

Small Business Innovation Research: Plant Production and Protection - Engineering

September 26, 2013

William Goldner

Small Business Innovation Research: Rural Development

September 26, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

September 26, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase I

September 26, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research: Small and Mid-Size Farms

September 26, 2013

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research: Air, Water and Soils

September 26, 2013

Mary Ann Rozum

Small Business Innovation Research: Animal Production and Protection

September 26, 2013

Robert Smith

Small Business Innovation Research: Aquaculture

September 26, 2013

Gary Jensen


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 Promotes Efforts to Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food

WASHINGTON, June 10 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Summer Food Service Program Week by reiterating USDA's commitment to ensuring that no child goes hungry when school is out and highlighting progress towards USDA's goal of serving 5 million more meals to eligible kids across the country.

National Summer Food Service Program Week is a national push to promote USDA's Summer Food Service Program and other initiatives across the country to feed more low-income children when school is out. These federally-funded programs are designed to alleviate hunger during the summer months and operate through partnerships between USDA, state agencies, and local organizations. Last year, USDA's summer feeding programs provided 161 million meals, feeding approximately 3.5 million children on a typical summer day. To ensure that no child goes hungry this summer, USDA and its partners are redoubling their efforts to reach more eligible low-income children. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Vilsack Outlines Vision for Agricultural Solutions to Environmental Challenges

WASHINGTON, June 5 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the federal government must increase collaboration with producers, researchers, and industry to develop the next generation of solutions that will help agriculture mitigate and adapt to modern climate challenges.

Vilsack stressed the need to work closely with farmers and ranchers who stand "on the front line" of risk adaptation—and he pledged that USDA will take steps to help producers adapt to new threats. He announced a number of new measures that USDA will take to help producers create new climate solutions:

Seven regional hubs will be established for the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest. Each hub will be the center of a network of connected activities and services and will be located in a USDA facility within its region. The hubs will provide outreach and Extension to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on science-based risk management and will seek to partner with the land-grant universities, Extension, and the private sector. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


GCHERA World Agriculture Prize

The Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for the Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA) encourages mutual understanding and global cooperation among higher education associations and their constituent member institutions in supporting innovation, and to provide—within the global context—leadership in education, research, and outreach in the agricultural and life sciences.

GCHERA will award its World Agriculture Prize to an academic/faculty member from a higher education institution who works in the disciplines relating to the agricultural and life sciences, including agriculture, forestry, natural resources, food, bio-based products, bioenergy, rural development, and the environment. Nominations are due July 31, 2013. Visit the GCHERA website for more information.


Journal Highlights BFRDP Program

The June Agri-View Journal commemorates June as National Dairy Month with an article about a NIFA-funded training project on dairy grazing – the first training program in agriculture to be certified as an apprenticeship by the U.S. Department of Labor. This is an opportunity for beginning farmers in a growing niche market and will provide training for independent farm ownership or a management position on a dairy operation. This project was funded by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.


SARE Receives ACE Awards

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program's communications team received the 2013 Outstanding Professional Skill Award for writing as well as a Gold Award for writing in a specialized category from the Association for Communications Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). The award was given for the 2011/2012 Report from the Field which describes outstanding projects from each of SARE’s four regions. “Sustainable agriculture is certainly a relevant topic and from the opening page, this document does a fantastic job at explaining who SARE is and what it does,” commented an ACE judge. The award was presented at the ACE annual meeting in Indianapolis, June 11–14.


The next NIFA issue is planned for July 3, 2013. Submit news items to: by June 26. 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: 6/20/2013