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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update –August 1, 2013

NIFA Update — August 1, 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.



  • IBCE Assistant Director Position Available
  • New Program Specialist Joins IFSN
  • 2013 NIFA Partnership Awards
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • Secretary Vilsack Announces Results of Healthy Incentives Pilot
  • USDA Announces Results for 45th Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-Up
  • USDA and Interior Department Announce Partnership to Protect America's Water Supply from Increased Wildfire Risk   



  • Request for NAREEE Board Member Nominations
  • Request for Input on AFRI


  • 2013 Jakob Eriksson Prize Presented to NIFA Partner


  • Next issue of NIFA Update is August 14, 2013

IBCE Assistant Director Position Available

NIFA is seeking to fill the position of Assistant Director of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment (IBCE). This is a Senior Executive Service (SES) position.
As the Assistant Director of IBCE, the incumbent is responsible for providing scientific and managerial leadership and direction in formulating and implementing policies and programs that support research, education, and Extension programs. These programs will ensure energy independence by identifying and developing sustainable biobased energy systems; ensure sustainable supply of agriculture products by identifying and developing adaptive agro-ecosystems in response to climate change; and identify sustainable ecosystem services from the nation’s limited natural resources base. The incumbent serves as a principal scientific and management advisor to the Deputy Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources by administering, evaluating, planning, directing, and coordinating activities that relate to the mission and function of NIFA; by executing the policies and practices of grants management; and by allocating resources to carry out these policies and practices. The incumbent is instrumental in elevating the standing of agricultural sciences within the federal science enterprise and provides scientific, technical, and administrative input to NIFA’s Director and Deputy Directors. More information about NIFA is available on the NIFA website. A copy of the job announcement (AG-22-2013-0004) is available on USAJOBS. All applications must be received by September 6, 2013, (Note: this is a change from the previously announced closing date).

Program Specialist Joins IFSN

Dr. Monica Whent joins the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (IFSN) as a program specialist in the Food Safety Division. She received her doctorate this past May in food science from the University of Maryland, where she headed up a research laboratory that focused on nutraceuticals and functional foods research. She has published several articles regarding the health-enhancing qualities of botanicals, wheat, and soybeans. Whent is an Air Force veteran and a registered dietitian (RDN). She previously worked as an RDN for the U.S. Air Force in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH; Andrews Air Force Base, MD; and the Pentagon. Her experience includes work in clinical nutrition and health and wellness promotion. She is located in cubicle 2449 in the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-720-2276.  

2013 NIFA Partnership Awards

Our partners in the land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations have made many outstanding contributions. To recognize these achievements, we established the NIFA Partnership Awards Program in 2007.

We invite all NIFA-supported land-grant universities and cooperating institutions and organizations to submit nominations for the 2013 NIFA Partnership Awards Program. These awards recognize outstanding contributions aligned with NIFA strategic goals in support of the USDA mission. Awards for this year will recognize excellence in:

  • Mission Integration of Research, Education, and Extension
  • Multistate Efforts
  • Innovative Programs and Projects
  • Effective and Efficient Use of Resources
  • Program Improvement through Global Engagement

We accept nominations for individuals or teams of up to 20 members. Each institution may submit up to two nominations (combined total across all five categories), meaning the entire institution including research, education, and Extension functions. Nominations must follow the specified partnership criteria and be submitted on the 2013 NIFA Partnership Awards Nomination Form. All signed nomination forms must be submitted by September 4, 2013, via email using scanned files saved as .PDF or .JPG files and emailed to, as instructed in the guidelines.

Winning nominations will be recognized at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) annual meeting November 10-12, 2013, in Washington, DC. NIFA will pay travel expenses for one person from each winning nomination, whether it is an individual or team award. Nominations should include only individuals or teams who have performed truly distinguished service.


NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Extension Outreach on the Marketplace Exchanges of the Affordable Care Act

August 2, 2013

Cindy Reeves

Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk 4-H Military Partnership Program

August 8, 2013

Carol Benesh

Department of Defense Child Care Curriculum Development (DoD CCCD)

August 26, 3013

Brent Elrod

Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP)

August 30, 2013

Ray A. Ali

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

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases

November 20, 2013

Peter Johnson


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.


Secretary Vilsack Announces Results of Healthy Incentives Pilot

WASHINGTON, July 24 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the results of USDA's Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) and discussed additional steps USDA and its partners are taking to encourage recipients to purchase healthy foods using their SNAP benefits.

Authorized by Congress through the 2008 Farm Bill, HIP tested the incentive impact on fruit and vegetable purchases among a small group of SNAP recipients in Hampden, MA. The pilot determined that an ongoing investment of less than 15 cents per person per day may result in a 25 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. Adults receiving the HIP incentive consumed, on average, an ounce more fruits and vegetables per day than non-participants.

Vilsack also highlighted ongoing public-private efforts that provide support and incentives to SNAP participants to purchase more healthy foods. He cited a pilot project in Minnesota that offers $5 coupons to SNAP households for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables and a pilot project in Michigan to make locally sourced produce available in corner grocery stores in metropolitan Detroit. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces Results for 45th Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-Up

AMES, IOWA, July 22 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will accept 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The Department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land, demonstrating CRP's continuing appeal as one of our nation's most successful voluntary programs for soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP contracts since 2009. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts.

Over the last 4 years, USDA has set aside significant acreage under CRP's continuous enrollment programs to target habitat conservation on especially important lands. For example, in March, 2012, 1 million acres of CRP were dedicated to conserve wetlands, grasslands, and wildlife. This year, farmers and ranchers have already offered more than 370,000 acres under continuous CRP signup, a figure that is impressive given that the lack of a Farm Bill extension last fall meant that CRP enrollment only reopened this May. Lack of a comprehensive Farm Bill this year has resulted in uncertainty for achieving further enrollment objectives under continuous CRP. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA and Interior Department Announce Partnership to Protect America's Water Supply from Increased Wildfire Risk

WASHINGTON, July 19 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a federal, local, and private partnership that will reduce the risks of wildfire to America's water supply in Western states. The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership (WWEP) is part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which outlines a comprehensive approach to reduce carbon pollution and better prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, including increased risk of wildfires and drought.

Through the WWEP, USDA, and the Interior Department will work together with local water users to identify and mitigate risks of wildfire to parts of our nation's water supply, irrigation, and hydroelectric facilities. Flows of sediment, debris, and ash into streams and rivers after wildfires can damage water quality and often require millions of dollars to repair damage to habitat, reservoirs, and facilities. For more information, visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full


Request for NAREEE Board Member Nominations

The initial announcement for nominations to fill eight open positions on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board was unsuccessful. As such, the deadline has been extended to August 30. The notice was published in the July 23, Federal Register. The old notice has all the details on how to apply. 

Request for Input on AFRI

The National Research Council Committee is reviewing the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to gather input about this flagship competitive grants program.  If you are involved in research, education, and Extension, or are a user and beneficiary of AFRI research (producers, industry, and the public), we welcome your comments.  Complete the online solicitation by August 15, 2013. Please circulate the link to colleagues and encourage them to provide feedback. The online form takes about 10 minutes to complete. 


2013 Jakob Eriksson Prize Presented to NIFA Partner

Dr. Jeffrey B. Jones of the University of Florida is the 11th recipient of the Jakob Eriksson Prize for Plant Pathology. An award ceremony will be held during the International Congress of Plant Pathology in Beijing, China, on August 30. The prize was established in 1923 to honor the memory of Jakob Eriksson, a prominent Swedish mycologist and plant pathologist who embraced the cause of international cooperation in plant pathology.

Jones’s most important contribution to the field of plant pathology is the development of a method to genetically modify citrus trees so that a hypersensitive reaction-inducing gene in citrus is activated by native transcription activator like (TAL) effectors in Xanthomonas citri, the cause of Asiatic citrus canker, a major citrus disease throughout the world. The modified genes are locally activated, only in the presence of the pathogen, so that consumers would not be exposed to the trans-gene products. He authored 180 publications in refereed journals; edited of 3 books; wrote numerous book chapters and reviews; and, in many non-refereed publications, included articles for growers and the public. In addition to his research duties, Jones is the director of the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network.

The next NIFA issue is planned for August 14, 2013. Submit news items to: by August 7. 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: 7/18/2013