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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update–January 23, 2014

NIFA Update — January 23, 2014

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

  • NIFA Retirees
  • Sheely Leaving for Rhode Island
  • Hoffman Reassigned to New Position
  • NIFA Clips
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • FACT SHEET: A Strong Nutrition Program to Help Hardworking American Families
  • USDA Announces Speakers for the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum
  • USDA to Provide Additional Support to Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, and Food Pantries
  • Agriculture Secretary Reports Progress at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
  • USDA Brings Additional Relief to Landowners Affected by Hurricane Sandy

 

  • Northeast Extension Directors Appoint New Executive Director
  • UC-Davis Names Dean of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

 

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is January 29, 2014

 

NIFA Retirees

Ralph Otto, NIFA Deputy Director of Food and Community Resources, retired on January 3 after more than 36 years of federal service. His extensive knowledge of and experience with the federal government and the agency’s partners will be greatly missed. He is looking forward to having more time to devote to traveling, fishing, gardening, and his family.

We are initiating the process to fill this mission critical, leadership position. While we are recruiting, Michel Desbois, the NIFA assistant director for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) will serve as the acting deputy director of Food and Community Resources. Desbois joined NIFA in 2002 as the Director of Applications and in 2006 was appointed as Assistant Director for OI and the agency’s Chief Information Officer. He has a B.S. from Virginia Tech in agricultural engineering and an M.S. in information systems from George Mason University. Desbois is located in Room 4249 of the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-720-9278.    

Other NIFA Retirees include:

  • Gary Jensen, national program leader in the Division of Animal Systems. Gary provided national leadership and activities involving aquaculture and partner land-grant institutions and served as point of contact and expert resource to other agencies, state programs, and diverse stakeholders. He also chaired the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, an interagency working group under the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.
  • Diana Jerkins, national program leader in the Division of Global Climate Change. Diana was involved with various programs but provided leadership within the climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, and food systems programs.
  • Monte Johnson, national program leader in the Division of Plant Systems-Protection. Monte provided national leadership for a greater understanding of the toxicological consequences of human exposure to pesticides and the effects of pesticide residues in foods and the environment. He also provided national leadership for Inter-Region Research Project No. 4 (IR-4) and Pest Management Alternatives Program.
  • Gregory Smith, national program leader in the Division of Community and Education. He provided national program leadership for secondary and postsecondary education.
  • Nancy Valentine, national program leader in the Division of Youth and 4-H. She managed the Rural Youth Development Grant Program and after-school and out-of-school programs.

 

Sheely Leaving for University of Rhode Island

NIFA Assistant Director for the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability Dr. Deborah Sheely is leaving after 16 years with NIFA/CSREES and will join the University of Rhode Island, effective February 8. She will serve as the associate director of the Rhode Island Cooperative Extension in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, Kingston, RI. Deborah has provided outstanding leadership and sustained commitment to excellence. She has had a tremendous positive impact on the programs and the people she has worked with. She has made a real difference and will be missed. Several of the Division Directors will rotate in an interim capacity while NIFA recruits to fill the position. Her last day was January 17.              

Hoffman Reassigned to New Position

Dr. William “Bill” Hoffman was recently reassigned to a newly created position as NIFA’s Chief of Staff.  In his new role, he will support the NIFA Director; work closely with NIFA leadership to serve as a central point of contact and coordination for information requests; and strengthen and inform relationships with internal and external agencies, partners, stakeholders, and the public. He will also manage the NIFA Director’s meetings and travel. Many of his current duties will be reassigned; he will retain some current work assignments that are closely aligned with his new position.

Hoffman came to the agency in 2002 and has served as a specialist, national program leader, and program and analysis officer. Prior to joining NIFA, he worked for 5 years with Penn State Cooperative Extension.

He received his B.S., M.Ed., and M.B.A. in agricultural economics and rural sociology, instructional systems, and business administration, respectively— all from Penn State University. His Ph.D. in higher education administration is from George Washington University.

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

National Robotics Initiative: The Realization of Co-Robots Acting in Direct Support of Individuals and Groups

January 21, 2014

Daniel Schmoldt

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: NIFA Fellowships Grant Program

February 20, 2014

Ray A. Ali

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

February 25, 2014

Ed Kaleikau

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

February 27, 2014

Charles F. Cleland

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase II

February 27, 2014

Charles F. Cleland

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

March 7, 2014

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

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

March 7, 2014

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

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

March 7, 2014

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)

March 19, 2014

Shing F. Kwok

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

March 19, 2014

Edwin Lewis

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Agriculture Systems and Technology

April 9, 2014

Daniel Schmoldt

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products

April 17, 2014

Ann Lichens-Park

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities

April 28, 2014

Robbin Schoemaker

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Animal Health and Production and Animal Products

May 1, 2014

Mark A. Mirando

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program - Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health

May 6, 2014

Jeanette Thurston

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment

June 4, 2014

Raymond Knighton

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Security

June 12, 2014

Robert Nowierski

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE)

August 7, 2014

Martin A. Draper

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundational Program

September 30, 2014

Effie Baldwin

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational Program: Exploratory

September 30, 2014

Michael A. Bowers

 

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.

 

FACT SHEET: A Strong Nutrition Program to Help Hardworking American Families

This week, Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and Anne Alonzo, Administrator for the Agricultural Marketing Service, joined George Jones, CEO of Bread for the City, to highlight the need for a new farm bill that adequately invests in America's nutrition safety net. Food assistance programs, along with the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, provide a critical means to provide healthy food for Americans who are working hard, but struggling to fill their plate.

Even as our economy recovers and private sector jobs are added, food security remains a serious problem across the nation. Last year, more than 49 million Americans lived in households that had difficulty putting food on the table. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the entire fact sheet.

USDA Announces Speakers for the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum

WASHINGTON, January 8 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced speakers for the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum, "The Changing Face of Agriculture," to be held from February 20-21 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the future of agriculture. Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.

The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O'Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition Emily Oakley. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA to Provide Additional Support to Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, and Food Pantries

WASHINGTON, January 6 − Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture's intent to purchase up to $126.4 million worth of fruit and vegetable products, to be distributed to needy families under The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The products to be purchased include tart cherries, processed apples, cranberries, fresh tomatoes, wild blueberries, and raisins. This purchase will expand efforts to provide high-quality, wholesome, domestically-produced foods to support low-income families in need of emergency food assistance.

Foods distributed through TEFAP are either purchased with funds appropriated specifically for TEFAP or are procured through USDA's market support programs. The foods are provided to states for distribution to local agencies, such as food banks. These local agencies further distribute the food to organizations, such as food pantries and soup kitchens that provide communal meals or distribute foods directly to low-income families. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Reports Progress at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

WASHINGTON, December 23 − Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reported progress on a number of trade issues with China as a result of the 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which wrapped up in Beijing. A number of high-priority issues for agriculture were discussed, including access for beef and horticultural products, the approval process for biotechnology products, and import suspensions for four states related to avian influenza.

The JCCT is the highest level bilateral forum for the resolution of trade and investment issues between the United States and China. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman co-chaired the JCCT with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Brings Additional Relief to Landowners Affected by Hurricane Sandy

WASHINGTON, December 18 − Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of approximately $19.2 million in funding for floodplain easements to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy and prevent future damage in flood-prone areas in the Northeast region. Vilsack also announced that another round of applications for easement funds will be accepted starting next month. Funding is provided by Congress through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Landowners in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York are voluntarily placing their land into floodplain easements, which will be restored to natural conditions and help to prevent damages from future storms. When lands are enrolled into the NRCS floodplain easements program, homes, structures, dikes, or other obstacles to water flow are removed, allowing water to move naturally across floodplains when streams and rivers rise beyond their banks. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

Northeast Extension Directors Appoint New Executive Director

The Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) announced the 3-year, part-time appointment of Dr. Nancy Bull as its executive director effective January 1.  Bull will lead the region in the creation of partnerships among the Northeast land-grant institutions, focusing on collaboration and funding opportunities for Cooperative Extension. Her expertise in strategic planning and implementation will be an asset for NEED. She previously served as the associate director of Connecticut Cooperative Extension and as the chief information officer at the University of Connecticut. Bull will continue her tenure as the interim chair and professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at UConn. She received her B.S. and M.Ed. from the University of Cincinnati and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Bull follows Linda Kay Benning, who retired as the NEED Executive Director.

UC-Davis Names Dean of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Helene Dillard, a plant disease expert, associate dean, and head of Cooperative Extension at Cornell University, has been named the new dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California–Davis. Dillard, a native Californian and UC–Davis alumna, will assume leadership of the college on January 27.

Her new appointment at UC–Davis brings Dillard full circle, in many respects. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she received her B.S. from UC Berkeley in 1977. She continued her studies at UC Davis, where she earned an M.S. degree in soil science in 1979 and Ph.D. in plant pathology in 1984.


The next NIFA issue is planned for January 29, 2014. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by January 22, 2014. 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: 01/23/2014