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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update – July 3, 2013

NIFA Update — July 3, 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.



  • New Assistant Director Begins at OGFM
  • NIFA Adopts New Award Amendment Process and Post-Award Email Notification
  • Cardwell Joins IBCE
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • Kevin Shea Named APHIS Administrator 
  • Secretary Vilsack Highlights New "Smart Snacks in School" Standards



  • Climate Extension Summit Report
  • New Journal on Human Sciences and Extension


  • 4-H Team Wins World Rocket Contest


  • Next issue of NIFA Update is July 17, 2013

New Assistant Director Begins at OGFM

Cynthia Montgomery is the new Assistant Director, Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM). Montgomery will begin her duties on July 15.

Montgomery joins NIFA from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Grants Program Directorate (GPD) – where she was the director of grant operations and acted as the deputy assistant administrator. She has extensive experience in the development, execution, and maintenance of cooperative agreements and grants along with all aspects of negotiations, awarding, and administrating federal assistance instruments.

Besides working at DHS, she worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Defense in the grants and contracts areas. She received a M.S. in public administration from Georgia College and State University and a B.S. in biology from Northeast Louisiana University. Montgomery will be located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 2256 and can be reached on 202-720-9181.

NIFA Adopts New Award Amendment Process and Post-Award Email Notification

As part of a major initiative to go paperless, NIFA will begin delivering post-award correspondence to grant offices via email. The change from the current use of U.S. mail allows nearly all official communication of post-award actions (no-cost extensions, changes in key personnel, fund releases, etc.) to be delivered to grantees via email using the NIFA-2009 Award Fact Sheet. Beginning July 3, 2013, this document will be used for both award notification and award changes and will be delivered via email.

The most significant impact to grantees is that they will no longer receive paper copies for most of the post-award actions executed by OGFM’s Awards Management Division (AMD). This new process supports NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy’s goal for the agency to go paperless and increases efficiency in both delivery and storage of official correspondence. Contact AMD at 202-401-4986 for more information about these changes.

Cardwell Joins IBCE

Dr. Kitty Cardwell, national program leader for plant pathology, joined The Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment (IBCE) on June 1. Cardwell started federal service at USDA with the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service where she developed and executed competitive funding programs and created the nationally acclaimed National Plant Diagnostic Network and the Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education. Prior to USDA she was a research scientist and development expert in plant pathology and food safety at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Africa where she dealt with post-harvest and market constraints caused by aflatoxin in maize and the human health impacts of sub-acute chronic exposure to the food-borne toxin. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer and practiced plant pathology in Nicaragua and Colombia. She received a bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Texas at Austin and her doctorate in plant pathology from Texas A&M University. Cardwell recently completed the USDA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program with a detail to the World Bank as a senior advisor on research, education, and Extension for global food security and food safety efforts. She is now affiliated with the Division of Global Climate Change but will be working across the IBCE divisions and with the Center for International Programs. Cardwell is located in Room 3192 of the Waterfront Centre and can be reached on 202-401-1790.        


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


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

Extension Outreach on the Marketplace Exchanges of the Affordable Care Act

July 26, 2013

Cindy Reeves

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

July 26, 2013

Cindy Reeves

Children, Youth and Families at Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Program

July 31, 2013

Bonita Williams

Integrated Forest Products Research (FPR) Grant

July 31, 2013

Catalino Blanche

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.


Kevin Shea Named APHIS Administrator

Kevin Shea is the new Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), after serving as acting administrator since June 2012. As Administrator, Shea carries out the agency’s broad mission of protecting and promoting American agriculture, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.

Shea has served as associate administrator since September 2004, ensuring the functioning of the agency and championing APHIS’ unprecedented business process improvement efforts. Shea graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD, and the University of Maryland in College Park. He earned a law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Secretary Vilsack Highlights New "Smart Snacks in School" Standards

WASHINGTON, June 27 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that under USDA's new "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards, America's students will be offered healthier food options during the school day.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools - beyond the federally-supported meals programs. The "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards reflect USDA's thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments received on the proposal earlier this year. "Smart Snacks in School" carefully balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus, drawing on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, as well as healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


Climate Extension Summit Report

A workshop organized and conducted by NIFA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) resulted in the report The Role of Extension in Climate Adaptation in the United States, which highlights current Extension work being done in climate science, educational needs, and next steps recommended for better preparing the next generation of Extension professionals.

The workshop focused on identifying critical issues and potential solutions to professional development needs, transformational communication technologies, resources and partnership, and future workforce development—all in the context of the delivery of climate science-based solutions for communities served by NIFA and NOAA.

Cooperative Extension needs to deliver the science and solutions to climate change impacts to prepare for anticipated increases in severe weather events and outbreaks of diseases previously uncommon in their regions.

Through the partnership with NOAA and the Sea Grant Program, and Cooperative and Sea Grant Extension, NIFA hopes to create transformational advances in the science and delivery of science for adaptation to climate change and together build safe and prosperous communities in the United States. For more information, contact Louis Tupas, NIFA’s Division Director for Global Climate Change.

New Journal on Human Sciences and Extension

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension is now online. The peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal disseminates knowledge and information to academicians, educators, and practitioners. Topics include human development (e.g., early care and education, youth development); family studies; agricultural education; leadership development; extension; health and wellness; apparel, textiles, and merchandising; agricultural economics; nutrition and dietetics; family resource management; and program planning and evaluation. The journal seeks to bridge research and practice, thus all manuscripts must give attention to practical implications of the work. The journal is sponsored by the School of Human Sciences at Mississippi State University and is published three times a year. Manuscripts are being accepted for the October 2013 issue. Author guidelines are on the journal website. Contact Donna Peterson, editor, with questions about the journal or submission procedures.


4-H Team Wins World Rocket Contest

As reported in our NIFA Update for April 10, the U.S. national champion 4-H rocketry team from Georgetown, TX, went on to compete in the International Rocketry Competition at the Paris Air Show. Their egg-carrying rocket flew 703 feet over Paris to win the world’s top model rocketry competition. National champion teams of France and Britain came in second and third, respectively.

The contest is the culmination of three separate, national competitions – the Team America Rocketry Challenge, The United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge, and the French Rocketry Challenge. Each contest brings together teams of middle and high school students to design, build, and launch model rockets in hopes of inspiring young minds to become engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math.


The next NIFA issue is planned for July 17, 2013. Submit news items to: by July 10. 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: 7/03/2013