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NIFA Update — March 9, 2011

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 Program Specialist Joins IBCE and CIP
  • NIFA Answers The President's Challenge!
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

USDA

  • Dairy Industry Advisory Committee Voted to Approve Final Report
  • USDA Kicks Off National Nutrition Month and Announces Availability of Nutrition Grants to Improve the Health of America's Children
  • Office of Tribal Relations Seeks Comments from Tribes on Consultation Plan
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West Announce Process to Resolve Discrimination Claims of Hispanic and Women Farmers
  • USDA Invites Applications for Grants to Bring Improved Educational and Health Care Services to Rural Communities
  • USDA Releases Results of On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey 
  • USDA Announces New Initiatives to End Hunger in America

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New Program Specialist Joins IBCE and CIP

Greg Sixt joined NIFA as a program specialist on a dual appointment with the Institute for Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment (IBCE) and the Center for International Programs (CIP). He is working with the Environmental Systems Division and his work with the Center for International Programs includes assisting with NIFA’s potential efforts in the Middle East and North Africa region. Sixt received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont and his master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Clark University. Prior to joining NIFA, Greg worked on crop genetic resource utilization issues and on issues related to irrigation in the Middle East with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. He also worked on HIV/AIDS, humanitarian and integrated water resource management projects with the United Nations Development Programme. Sixt is located at the Waterfront Centre in Room 3185 and can be reached at 202-401-3353. 

NIFA Answers The President's Challenge!

The President's Challenge is for 1 million Americans to complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). 4-H National Headquarters at NIFA is answering this call by setting a goal with Michelle Obama to have 100,000 youth complete the PALA. The employees at NIFA will participate with 4-H members, families, and volunteers in April and May.

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award recognizes those individuals who log their recommended physical activity for 6 consecutive weeks, 5 days a week (60 minutes for youth, 30 minutes minimum for adults). Visit the President’s Challenge website to learn how your organization can join the challenge. To help 4-H reach their goal, join the group: National 4-H Program and start logging your activity. Contact Lindsey Jewel, NIFA youth development program specialist, for more program information.

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity Closing Date Contact

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program

See individual grant program.

See individual grant program.

Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities: State and Regional AgrAbility Projects

March 10, 2011

Bradley Rein

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

March 15, 2011

Ali I Mohamed

Tribal Colleges Extension Program - Special Emphasis

March 16, 2011

Tim Grosser

Tribal Colleges Extension Services Program

March 16, 2011

Tim Grosser

Higher Education Program: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program

See Grant Program

Irma Lawrence

Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program

March 29, 2011

Martin Draper

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (formerly Extension Indian Reservation Program)

March 31, 2011

Tim Grosser

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

April 8, 2011

Gregory Smith

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

April 8, 2011

Gregory Smith

New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grants Program (RTP)

April 15, 2011

Gregory Smith


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.

Dairy Industry Advisory Committee Voted to Approve Final Report

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2011 – The Dairy Industry Advisory Committee voted to approve a final report to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that offers recommendations concerning dairy farm profitability and milk prices. The Dairy Industry Advisory Committee was chartered to review farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability. The committee was asked to make recommendations on how USDA can best address these issues to meet the dairy industry's needs, both short and long-term. The committee also was asked to provide feedback on how actions taken by USDA in 2009 have affected the dairy industry.

An electronic version of the current draft report is available on the Farm Service Agency’s website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Dairy Industry Advisory Committee Votes to Approve Final Report of Recommendations to Secretary of Agriculture.

USDA Kicks Off National Nutrition Month and Announces Availability of Nutrition Grants to Improve the Health of America's Children
 
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Nutrition Month by announcing the availability of Team Nutrition Training Grants for Healthy Meals to states to help children develop healthy eating and physical activity habits for healthier lifestyles. USDA's nutrition assistance programs touched the lives of 1 in 4 Americans last year, including the nearly 32 million kids who participate in school meal programs every school day.

USDA will invest $5.5 million in grants with approximately $2.5 million set aside to provide noncompetitive grants (up to $50,000) to each state agency that commits to specific strategies to increase the number of HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) applications submitted for approval. Up to $350,000 may be requested to include both competitive and noncompetitive grants. More information on the Team Nutrition Training Grants and how schools can become Team Nutrition schools is available on the Food and Nutrition Service website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Kicks Off National Nutrition Month and Announces Availability of Nutrition Grants to Improve the Health of America’s Children.

Office of Tribal Relations Seeks Comments from Tribes on Consultation Plan
 
WASHINGTON, February 28, 2011 – USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations is continuing to solicit comments on a draft department-wide policy that will guide future consultation and collaboration efforts. The policy will guide all USDA agencies as they work with the tribes.

“President Obama has personally demonstrated his commitment to the tribes, and the draft consultation policy underscores our intention to work hand in hand with tribal members on a government-to-government basis,” said Janie Hipp, senior advisor to the Secretary for Tribal Affairs. “We shared the draft document with the tribes earlier this year and are asking that all comments be provided to us by March 25, so that we can finalize this critical document.” Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Office of Tribal Relations Seeks Comments from Tribes on Consultation Plan.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West Announce Process to Resolve Discrimination Claims of Hispanic and Women Farmers
 
WASHINGTON, February 25, 2011 – As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at USDA in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

The program announced will provide up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Hispanic or female farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program. Participation is voluntary, and individuals who opt not to participate are not precluded by the program from filing a complaint in court. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West Announce Process to Resolve Discrimination Claims of Hispanic and Women Farmers.

USDA Invites Applications for Grants to Bring Improved Educational and Health Care Services to Rural Communities
 
WASHINGTON, February 24, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for telecommunications grants to provide access to education, training and healthcare resources in rural areas. Funding is authorized through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. DLT grants can be used for the purchase of eligible equipment and to provide technical assistance. To be eligible, applicants must serve a rural area, demonstrate economic need, and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds. Awards range up to $500,000.

Completed applications must be received by April 25. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the Notice of Solicitation of Applications published on page 10321 of the February 24 Federal Register. Materials including an application guide and full details about the program are available on the Rural Development website. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Invites Applications for Grants to Bring Improved Educational and Health Care Services to Rural Communities.

USDA Releases Results of On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey 
  
WASHINGTON, February 23, 2011 – The number of solar panels, wind turbines, and methane digesters on America's farms and ranches has increased significantly over the past decade and there are now 8,569 operations producing their own renewable energy, according to the results of the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey. Conducted by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, this was the first-ever nationwide survey that looked at renewable energy practices on America's farms and ranches.

According to the survey results, solar panels were the most prominent way to produce on-farm energy. In 2009, farmers on 7,968 operations nationwide reported using photovoltaic and thermal solar panels. The use of wind turbines was reported by farmers on 1,420 operations across 48 states. The use of methane digesters was reported by 121 operations in 29 states. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Releases Results of On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey.  

USDA Announces New Initiatives to End Hunger in America 
 
WASHINGTON, February 23, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a series of new initiatives aimed at helping communities increase food access by promoting coordination and partnerships between public, private and non-profit partners. USDA will invest $4.98 million in grants to 14 communities in 8 states to end hunger and improve the nutrition of low-income Americans. Authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, the grants fund research, planning and activities designed to improve access to nutrition assistance for those in need.

The 14 grantees are located in New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Maryland. The grants fund the development and implementation of plans to help communities expand access to healthy food through increased participation in federal nutrition programs and other creative initiatives that meet a community's unique needs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA Announces New Initiatives to End Hunger in America.

 

For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. NIFA UPDATE is published biweekly. The next NIFA issue is planned for March 23. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by March 16. Editor: Judy Rude, public affairs specialist, NIFA Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her.

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.

Roger Beachy, 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.