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

NIFA Update —May 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

  • New Analyst Joins OIT
  • USDA Research Grants to Boost Food Production and Improve Food Security
  • USDA Announces Funding for Biodiesel Fuel Education Program
  • NIFA Blogs
    • Insects for Dinner? Potential Tool in the Toolkit to Achieve Global Food Security
    • NIFA Program Helps Re-Establish the American Chestnut Tree in the United States
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

Smith-Lever — Centennial Celebration

  • Centennial Convocation Activities via Videos/Photographs

 

USDA

  • USDA Provides Assistance to Agricultural Producers to Improve Water Quality
  • Honeybees at Work: U.S. Department of Agriculture Launches BeeWatch
  • Yearly Survey Shows Better Results for Pollinators, but Losses Remain Significant
  • USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair to Retire
  • USDA Announces First Citrus Greening Funding Allocations and Appointments to Citrus Disease Subcommittee
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Continued Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation
  • AIARD Celebrating 50th Anniversary

 

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is June 11, 2014

 

New Analyst Joins OIT

Elizabeth Ley has joined the Office of Information Technology’s Division of Information Policy, Planning, and Training as a new management and program analyst, where she will coordinate the various activities related to NIFA’s Grants Modernization Initiative.

Ley joined the agency in 2007 as a program specialist and has been a part of the Division of Plant Systems-Protection, in the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, since NIFA was created.  She supported the agency’s plant protection and production programs focusing on internal and external communication to colleagues and customers. Her work as the eGrants Stakeholder Group co-chair for 2 years led to her current role as business liaison for NIFA’s fit gap analysis with the National Institute of Health supporting the agency’s grants modernization efforts. Trained as a botanist, Ley worked for the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. National Arboretum for 22 years before joining NIFA. She led a technology effort to computerize the extensive records associated with the arboretum’s living plant collections and later managed the garden staff and collections. She was the recipient of NIFA’s 2012 Director’s Award for Excellence in Science and Education and was recognized for her exceptional service to NIFA and excellence in serving our customers, grantees, and land-grant universities. She is located in the Waterfront Centre in Room 3312 and can be reached at 202-401-6195.

USDA Research Grants to Boost Food Production and Improve Food Security

WASHINGTON, May 20 — NIFA announced $6 million in grants to support research, education, and extension efforts to increase food security and improve food production. NIFA made these grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security challenge area. The goal of this challenge area is to increase agricultural productivity as well as the availability and accessibility of safe and nutritious food. In FY 2013, the food security challenge area focused on reducing crop and livestock losses due to pests, which account for a significant amount of food loss during production and post-harvest. The food security challenge area also sought to examine the social and economic factors that influence manager’s choices regarding loss prevention technologies. Seven of the projects awarded this fiscal year will work to manage these losses in crops and livestock systems. Six of the awards are to support conferences designed to gather experts in a broad range of disciplines to better understand the nature of food loss throughout the whole food system – farm to table. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release

USDA Announces Funding for Biodiesel Fuel Education Program

WASHINGTON, May 6 — NIFA today announced the availability of almost $1 million in grant funding to programs that educate consumers about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use. The funding is made available through the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill). “Awareness and consumption of biodiesel has grown over the past decade, but due to its higher costs, consumption is still lower than traditional diesel fuel,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director.

The Biodiesel Fuel Education Program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and the development of a biodiesel infrastructure. It will fund education and outreach activities to raise awareness of biodiesel fuel use among governmental and private entities that operate vehicle fleets and the public. Funded projects should focus on educational programs that support advances in infrastructure, technology transfer, fuel quality, fuel safety and increasing feedstock production.  Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA Blogs

Insects for Dinner? Potential Tool in the Toolkit to Achieve Global Food Security
By Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA Director, on May 16, 2014

As an entomologist, the notion of eating insects isn’t new to me. However, for most Americans, the thought can make their stomachs churn. And yet, maybe seeing insects on their dinner plates is something Americans should get used to seeing.

Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address at the Insects as Food Conference, which was hosted by the FAO and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. As director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), my goal is to ensure that the science we invest in leads to solutions to today’s most pressing challenges. One of those challenges relates to our world’s growing population, which is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. We need to find new ways to feed all people while minimally impacting the environment. This “9 Billion Problem” has implications for how we grow and view food now and in the future. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full blog.

NIFA Program Helps Re-Establish the American Chestnut Tree in the United States
By Shing Kwok, NIFA, May 5, 2014

An American icon is being ravaged, and scientists are rushing to its rescue.

The American chestnut tree, which once dominated the eastern half of the United States, was prized for its naturally rot-resistant timber and as a food source — its nuts favored by humans and also used to fatten livestock before going to market. After more than 100 years of determined attack by an invasive species, the mighty American chestnut has been felled by the billions. Only a handful of groves remain, mostly in Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and the Pacific Northwest — in regions far removed from its native east coast. Visit NIFA Newsroom to read the full blog.

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM)

June 19, 2014

Herbert Bolton

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program

May 30, 2014

Susan Smith Shockey

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program (SLSNCGP)

June 2, 2014

Beverly Samuel

AgrAbility - Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities

June 4, 2014

Aida Balsano

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

June 4, 2014

Raymond Knighton

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

June 6, 2014

Cindy Reeves

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Security

June 12, 2014

Robert Nowierski

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP)

June 12, 2014

Jill Auburn

Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM)

June 19, 2014

Herbert Bolton

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Childhood Obesity Prevention

June 19, 2014

Deirdra Chester

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

June 20, 2014

Thomas “Tom” Bewick

Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research

June 23, 2014

Lakshmi Matukumalli

Biodiesel Fuel Education

June 27, 2014

Daniel Cassidy

Critical Agricultural Materials

June 27, 2014

Daniel Cassidy

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

August 7, 2014

Martin A. Draper

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Water for Agriculture

August 13, 2014

James P. Dobrowolski

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Species

September 24, 2014

Mark A. Mirando

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.

 

Centennial Convocation Activities via Videos/Photographs

If you were unable to join us for the ECOP Centennial Convocation on May 7-8, key video segments are available for viewing along with still photographs taken during the activities. Watch the impressive state flag parade and hear the keynote speakers talk about where they feel Cooperative Extension will be in the next 100 years.

View the representatives of the Cooperative Extension Service, Delbert Foster, NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy, and the National 4-H Council CEO Jennifer Sirangelo sign the Memorandum of Understanding clarifying each other’s roles and responsibilities as 4-H members witness the historic event.

In a video of President Jimmy Carter, made available by the University of Georgia, he talked about being a 4-H’er, peanut farmer, public servant, and a statesman because of the importance of Cooperative Extension to his family and throughout his life, and how crucial extension will be in the future of feeding the world.

For the Virtual Centennial festivities, eXtension is featuring the Cooperative Extension’s Centennial this month in the online Virtual World Second Life. The celebration includes a Virtual State Fair decorated with a Centennial theme, live musical performances, educational exhibits, live stream of the Centennial Convocation and a fun video recorded entirely on eXtension’s Morrill regions.

 

USDA Provides Assistance to Agricultural Producers to Improve Water Quality

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., May 21 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $33 million in assistance will be provided to farmers and ranchers to make conservation improvements that will improve water quality in 174 watersheds. Funding is provided through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Now in its third year, NWQI expanded to include more small watersheds across the nation, and it builds on efforts to target high-impact conservation in areas such as the Mississippi River basin, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes. With the help of partners at the local, state, and national level, Natural Resources and Conservation Services identified priority watersheds in each state where on-farm conservation investments will deliver the greatest water quality benefits. State water quality agencies and local partners also provide assistance with watershed planning, additional dollars and assistance for conservation, along with outreach to farmers and ranchers. Through NWQI, these partnerships are growing and offering a model for collaborative work in other watersheds. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Honeybees at Work: U.S. Department of Agriculture Launches BeeWatch

On May 15, USDA launched #USDABeeWatch at www.usda.gov/beewatch to increase public awareness about bee activity and the actions Americans can take to support pollinators. We encourage you to support USDA’s work by adopting pollinator-friendly gardening practices!

This live feed (“bee cam”) of The People’s Garden Apiary located on the roof of the Jamie L. Whitten Building at USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC is viewable 24/7. You can take this virtual tour for a look inside the hive. So what will you see on our bee cam? This time of year, the camera – placed several feet from the entrance of the hive – shows female worker bees entering and exiting the hive gathering nectar and pollen to convert into honey. Be on the lookout for bees carrying a load of pollen on their hind legs. As bees groom, they’ll move the pollen onto their back legs creating a pellet of pollen.

Yearly Survey Shows Better Results for Pollinators, but Losses Remain Significant

WASHINGTON, May 15 − A yearly survey of beekeepers, released, shows fewer colony losses occurred in the United States over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, but beekeepers say losses remain higher than the level that they consider to be sustainable. According to survey results, total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2 percent nationwide. That number is above the 18.9 percent level of loss that beekeepers say is acceptable for their economic sustainability, but is a marked improvement over the 30.5 percent loss reported for the winter of 2012-2013, and over the eight-year average loss of 29.6 percent.

More than three-fourths of the world's flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair to Retire

WASHINGTON, May 13 – Chief Economist Joseph Glauber has announced the May 31, 2014, retirement of USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Gerald Bange and the appointment of Dr. Seth Meyer as Acting Board Chair. Dr. Meyer is currently a Senior Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) and will assume his new duties June 1. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces First Citrus Greening Funding Allocations and Appointments to Citrus Disease Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, May 13 – United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $1.5 million in funding to expand bio-control efforts to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. This action is the first designation of funds by the Huanglongbing Multi-agency Coordination Group (HLB MAC Group) since it was established by Vilsack in December. "Citrus greening poses a significant threat to the citrus industry and the thousands of jobs that depend on it. It could also further drive up fruit and juice prices if we don't act," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA is committed to fighting and beating this destructive disease."
 
The funds announced have enabled USDA to sign cooperative agreements with Florida (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services), Texas (Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation), and California (Citrus Research Board and California Department of Food and Agriculture) to coordinate the fight against citrus greening. Secretary Vilsack created the HLB MAC Group last December to foster greater coordination among federal and state agencies in responding to citrus greening. The Group includes representatives from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), as well as State departments of agriculture and the citrus industry. Vilsack also announced the appointment of 3 individuals to serve on the Citrus Disease Subcommittee, a subcommittee of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board's Specialty Crop Committee. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Continued Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation

WASHINGTON, May 7 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced continued progress during the first 90 days of implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law on February 7. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow the economy.

Since the Farm Bill was signed, USDA has made progress throughout all Farm Bill titles including announcements on trade and marketing promotion, the establishment of conservation programs, the initiation of specialty crop and local food programs, funding for rural development programs, and more. Among the first major farm bill initiatives to be implemented were disaster relief programs for livestock producers, many of whom have been waiting years for assistance. On April 15, USDA announced disaster relief through the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. After the 2008 Farm Bill passed, it took over 1 year to set up disaster assistance programs. In 2014, it took under 10 weeks. As of May 1, 2014, approximately 33,000 applications have been received and $16.3 million in payments has been disbursed. Visit the USDA newsroom to read the full release.

 

AIARD Celebrating 50th Anniversary

The Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in Washington, DC, June 1-3. AIARD not only reflects on past accomplishments, but also looks ahead to creating a strategic AIARD agenda for the future. Entitled, "Celebrating 50 Years of Progress and Inspiring Action for a Food Secure Future," the conference begins with an evening reception on Sunday, June 1st and concludes after lunch on Tuesday, June 3rd.  Information on conference registration, hotel reservations, and the most recent program agenda are posted on AIARD Website. Conference speakers include Dr. Liam Downey, National University of Ireland (and a leader in the European Union’s “foresight” planning for agriculture); Roger Thurow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of “Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty” and “The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change;” and, Ambassador Tony Hall, executive director of The Alliance to End Hunger and a former Member of Congress.


The next NIFA Update issue is planned for June 11, 2014. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by June 4, 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: 05/20/2014