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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update–February 20, 2014

NIFA Update — February 20, 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 Realignment
  • IFPS  Assistant Director Position Available
  • NPL Appointed to Forestry Research Advisory Council
  • Tidball Selected  as NIFA  Visiting Scholar Appointment
  • NIFA Hosts IGERT Students
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • New ARS Administrator Announced
  • USDA Provides Up to $100 Million in Livestock Disaster Assistance, and an Additional $10 Million for Water Conservation
  • USDA to Release New Long-Term Agricultural Projections
  • Secretary Vilsack Announces Regional Hubs to Help Agriculture, Forestry Mitigate the Impacts of a Changing Climate
  • EDEN Issues 2014 Annual Meeting Call for Proposals
  • National AgrAbility Training Workshop

 

  • Watkins Named Cornell Cooperative Extension Director

 

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is March 5, 2014

 

NIFA Realignment

On February 7, I sent a message to partners discussing in detail our new realignment of programmatic and operational functions within NIFA.  Many of you may remember that the 2008 Farm Bill required the establishment of NIFA, effective October 1, 2009.  In October 2010, we implemented a new structural organization. Now, after more than 3 years with this organizational structure, we are implementing a minor realignment of programmatic and operational functions that will allow for more efficient and effective delivery and oversight of programs and services provided to both internal and external customers.

This realignment will continue to meet the requirements set forth by the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure that agricultural research, education, and extension programs are effectively coordinated and integrated across disciplines, agencies, and institutions; and among applicable participants, grantees, and beneficiaries. The realignment will optimize the organizational configuration to more effectively and efficiently serve stakeholders and enhance the quality, relevancy, and performance of the programs. This new structure allows me to focus upward and outward and on leading the agency.

Summary of Changes:

  • The job title for the current Deputy Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources will change to Associate Director for Programs. This position will provide leadership for implementation and oversight of all four science institutes, the Center for International Programs (CIP), and the Planning, Accountability, and Reporting Staff (PARS). The change will provide greater focus and accountability for all programmatic functions. This position will continue to report to the NIFA Director. There are no organization changes within the four institutes, CIP, or PARS. Meryl Broussard will be reassigned to this position.
  • The job title for the current Deputy Director for Food and Community Resources will change to Associate Director for Operations. The Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM), Office of Information Technology (OIT), Budget Staff (BS), Communications Staff (CS) will be centered through the Associate Director for Operations. This will improve management of the day-to-day operations and functions of the agency. This position will continue to report to the NIFA Director. There are no organizational changes with OGFM, OIT, BS, or CS.  After the retirement of Ralph Otto, we are working to permanently fill this position. In the meantime, Michel Desbois will serve as the Acting Associate Director for Operations.
  • The job title for the six SES Assistant Directors will change to Deputy Directors. The use of the titles “Associate” and “Deputy” in this realigned structure are consistent with the titles used in the other USDA Research, Education, and Economics (REE) agencies.


REE Under Secretary Dr. Catherine Woteki has approved this new reporting structure and the changes are effective on February 23, 2014.  Visit the “About Us” page on NIFA’s website to view the new organization chart, at that time.

IFPS Assistant Director Position Available

NIFA is seeking to fill the position of Assistant Director of the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS). This is a Senior Executive Service (SES) position.

As the Assistant Director of IFPS, 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 leading to new science to sustainably boost U.S. agricultural production, improve global capacity to meet the growing food demand, and foster innovation in fighting hunger by addressing food security for vulnerable populations. The incumbent serves as a principal scientific and management advisor to the Associate Director for Programs in administering, evaluating, planning, directing and coordinating activities related to the mission and function of NIFA, in execution of policies and practices of grants management, and in the allocation of 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 the Director and Associate Directors of NIFA. More information about NIFA is available on the NIFA website. A copy of the job announcement (AG-22-014-0012) is available on USAJOBS. All applications must be received by March 12, 2014.

NPL Appointed to Forestry Research Advisory Council

Dr. Eric Norland, NIFA national program leader for forestry resource management in the Division of Environmental Systems, was appointed to a 3-year term on the Forestry Research Advisory Council (FRAC) by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. FRAC was established in accordance with the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, Section 1441(c) to provide advice to the Secretary on accomplishing the purposes of the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Act of 1962. The council also provides advice relative to the Forest Service research program, authorized by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1978. 

Tidball Selected as NIFA Visiting Scholar

Keith Tidball, senior extension associate in the Department of Natural Resources and state program leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s New York Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), was named NIFA’s 2014 Visiting Scholar. Tidball, whose work focuses on disaster readiness, response, and resilience, will work jointly with NIFA’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Center for International Programs.

This visiting scholar’s opportunity was targeted towards faculty who are actively engaged with EDEN and interested in conducting work that bridges domestic or international efforts in the area of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery education. The visiting scholar opportunity will provide Tidball an avenue to link existing EDEN efforts to some of NIFA’s other ongoing initiatives and programs, the Cooperative Extension Regional Development Centers, emergency preparedness, response and recovery programs of other federal agencies, and international disaster education efforts. He will spend a total of 3 weeks in Washington, DC, throughout 2014, and will be located in room 4446 of the Waterfront Centre and can be reached at 202-720-2067.

NIFA Hosts IGERT Students

NIFA is hosting two doctoral students, Leif Nielsen and Isaac Madsen, funded under the National Science Foundation IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program to focus on nitrogen policy in agriculture. They are from Washington State University, but will be spending time in Washington, DC, until mid-April, to learn more about policy such as the Farm Bill and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. They will assist with a USDA-U.S. Geological Survey-EPA nitrogen research roadmap to identify future needs. They are being mentored by National Program Leaders Mary Ann Rozum and Nancy Cavallaro and can be reached at leif.nielsen@nifa.usda.gov and isaac.madsen@nifa.usda.gov.   

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

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: 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

Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program (HSI)

March 12, 2014

Irma Lawrence

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

Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA)

April 3, 2014

Irma Lawrence

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

April 4, 2014

Mathieu Ngouajio

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

April 9, 2014

Daniel Schmoldt

Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program

April 10, 2014

Edwin Lewis

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 - Food Safety

May 8, 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.

 

New ARS Administrator Announced

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young was named the Administrator for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) by USDA Chief Scientist and REE Under Secretary, Dr. Catherine Woteki. Dr. Jacobs-Young previously led ARS’ Office of National Programs, which manages the research objectives of the Agency. She also led the Office of International Research Programs which is responsible for ARS’ liaison with its international partners. Dr. Jacobs-Young will assume her new duties effective February 23, 2014.

Prior to moving into her role at ARS, Dr. Jacobs-Young served as the Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she was responsible for facilitating the coordination of scientific leadership across the Department to ensure that research supported by, and scientific advice provided to, the Department and external stakeholders were held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity. She also served as the Acting Director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Dr. Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in wood and paper science and a B.S. degree in pulp and paper science and technology from North Carolina State University. She also is a graduate of American University’s Executive Leadership in public policy implementation program. 

USDA Provides Up to $100 Million in Livestock Disaster Assistance, and an Additional $10 Million for Water Conservation

FRESNO, Calif., February 14 − Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Barack Obama in Fresno, Calif., to announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide additional assistance to help farmers, ranchers, and residents affected by severe drought in California. At President Obama's direction, USDA has made implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill livestock disaster assistance programs a top priority and plans to have the programs available for sign up by April 15, 2014.

USDA has declared 54 counties in California as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA to Release New Long Term Agricultural Projections

WASHINGTON, February 7 − The USDA will release new 10-year agricultural projections on Feb. 13. USDA's Agricultural Projections to 2023 will be posted to the Office of the Chief Economist's (OCE) website and available in MS Word and PDF formats. Projections data will be available as Excel spreadsheets here.  USDA publishes the projections each year in February. The projections are developed by interagency committees in USDA, with the Economic Research Service (ERS) having the lead role in the preparation of the report.  USDA publishes the projections each year in February. The projections are developed by interagency committees in USDA, with the ERS having the lead role in the preparation of the report.  Background on USDA's long-term projections and past issues of the report are available on the ERS website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Secretary Vilsack Announces Regional Hubs to Help Agriculture, Forestry Mitigate the Impacts of a Changing Climate

WASHINGTON, February 5 − Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of the first ever Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country. "Climate Hubs" will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, devastating floods, and crippling droughts on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged that his Administration will continue to do everything in its power to act on climate change. This announcement is part of the President's Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment. The Climate Hubs will build on the capacity within USDA to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to support decision-making related to climate change across the country. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

EDEN Issues 2014 Annual Meeting Call for Proposals

The 2014 EDEN Annual Meeting, hosted by Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will be held October 21–24, in Muscle Shoals, AL. This year’s theme is “Future Designs for Disaster Education: Foundation and Building Blocks for Extension Professionals.” The planning committee has announced a Request for Proposals for program presentations and posters.

Presentations should focus on current issues in disaster education, foundational disaster education work, or rising issues that will challenge EDEN and Cooperative Extension. Presentation and poster proposals that address the following areas are encouraged:

  • Curriculum, programs, or projects
  • Resources or materials development
  • EDEN programs or projects
  • Networking and capacity building
  • Training, both external and internal

 

Details about the meeting and the call for proposals are available on the EDEN website.

National AgrAbility Training Workshop

The National AgrAbility Training Workshop is March 31 to April 3 at the Downtown Lexington Hilton in Lexington, KY. Farmers and other professionals with disabilities can receive training and learn about issues related to agricultural disabilities. Participants can choose to attend preconference and breakout sessions, tours, and special events. There is also a banquet with a benefit auction for the farmer and rancher scholarships. Josh Bleill, a Marine corporal (disabled war veteran) and community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts will give the keynote address. Purdue University is the cooperative agreement grantee that runs the National AgrAbility Project. Additional details are available on the conference website and you can register online. Early-bird registration ends March 7, with conference registration closing on March 28. There will be no on-site registration.

 

Watkins Named Cornell Cooperative Extension Director

Horticulture professor Christopher Watkins was named director of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).  Formerly associate director of CCE, Watkins is appointed through October 1, 2017, completing the term of former director Helene Dillard, who recently stepped down to become dean of the College of Agricultural Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

Watkins joined Cornell in 1994 as an associate professor of horticulture after more than a decade as a scientist in the Postharvest Science Group at the Horticulture and Food Research Institute in his native New Zealand. He maintained an active research program on techniques that retain the flavor, texture and health-related compounds of fruits and vegetables after harvest. Written more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and publications. International expert on fruit ripening and storage and has mentored many graduate students and visiting scholars engaged in postharvest research.


The next NIFA Update issue is planned for March 5, 2014. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by February 27, 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: 02/20/2014