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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update - February 29, 2012


NIFA Update — February 29, 2012

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

  • Rosenthal Joins NIFA on Detail
  • AFRI Stakeholder Listening Session
  • FCS Sponsors USDA Employee Workshop
  • USDA Celebrates "America Saves Week"
  • USDA Awards 23 AgrAbility Grants to Expand Access to Farming for Disabled Americans
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • USDA Takes Next Step to Modernize Department
  • USDA Goes the Extra Mile for Producers, Helping to Meet Demand for U.S. Cattle
  • USDA Kicks Off 150th Anniversary at the 2012 Ag Outlook Forum
  • United States/China Sign Plan of Strategic Cooperation in Agriculture
  • USDA Announces START2FARM.GOV to Support America's Future Farming
  • European Union and U.S. Agree to Historic New Partnership

 

Opportunities

  • Call for Nominations
  • Mark Your Calendar for the 6th National Small Farm Conference

 

Awards and Recognition

  • USDA People’s Garden Initiative Awards

 

Mailbox

Rosenthal Joins NIFA on Detail

Dr.  Benjamin Rosenthal has joined NIFA’s Center for International Programs for a 4-month detail to assist in coordinating the agency’s contributions to the Feed the Future Initiative.  Rosenthal, who teaches at the University of Maryland-College Park, has professional expertise in infectious and parasitic diseases. He is also responsible for an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) program in the molecular systematic, population genetics, and epidemiology of zoonotic parasites at the ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD. Rosenthal is located at the Waterfront Center in Room 2422 and can be reached at 202-720-4682.

AFRI Stakeholder Listening Session

NIFA hosted a very successful Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) stakeholder listening session on February 22. The conference room was filled to capacity with 180 registered attendees and many more unregistered guests. Attendees heard NIFA’s Acting Director, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, talk about how NIFA is advancing USDA’s strategic goals through research, education, and extension outcomes fostered through the AFRI programs. Dr. Deborah Sheely, Assistant Director for NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, presented an overview of the AFRI program. More than 50 stakeholders, including representatives from scientific societies, producer associations, universities and other research organizations, policy and advocacy groups, and leading scientists in the field of agriculture and food sciences, spoke briefly of their support and recommendations for AFRI programs in general and on specific fields of interest. The listening session included updates on the NIFA Fellows, Challenge Area, and Foundational Programs. NIFA’s Deputy Director for Agriculture and National Resources, Dr. Meryl Broussard, assured stakeholders that every comment would be read and submitted for consideration. NIFA will continue to accept written comments until March 22. Please send comments via email, fax 202-401-1782, or Regulations.gov website.

FCS Sponsors USDA Employee Workshop

NIFA‘s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) staff sponsored a workshop “Small Steps to Health and Wealth” on February 15 as part of their “America Saves Week” activities. The purpose of the workshop was to help USDA employees learn about ways they can improve their finances and health. More than 300 employees participated. Small Steps to Health and Wealth was presented by Dr. Barbara O’Neill, author and financial management extension specialist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Small Steps to Health and Wealth is a NIFA Signature Program developed by Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

USDA Celebrates "America Saves Week"

WASHINGTON, February 21 — USDA celebrated America Saves Week, part of a government-wide effort, Feb. 19-26, to help all individuals learn more about personal finance and help build a secure financial future for themselves and their families. This year’s theme was, “Set a Goal, Make a Plan, and Save Automatically.”

“Through these tough economic times, programs offered by the Cooperative Extension System (CES) are helping families learn about sound money management,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, acting director of NIFA. “We are working to provide people with the information, education, and tools they need to make smart financial choices for their future.”

As part of the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission, NIFA’s Division of Family and Consumer Sciences partners with the CES to deliver programming in local communities that focuses on five core areas: earning income, spending, saving and investing, borrowing, and protecting finances. This programming helps support the nation’s financial stability, because financial literacy among individuals and families has a dramatic impact on the financial health of local communities and regional markets. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Awards 23 AgrAbility Grants to Expand Access to Farming for Disabled Americans

WASHINGTON, February 22 — Responding to the needs of a growing population of farmers and ranchers living with a disability, USDA awarded 23 grants to organizations to help thousands of people with disabilities continue their chosen agricultural professions. NIFA awarded the grants, totaling $4.1 million, through the AgrAbility program.

NIFA awarded the funds to land-grant universities that have joined with nonprofit disability organizations to address the specialized needs of American farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Projects include educating professionals on how to assist those with disabilities and directly training disabled agricultural workers. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA in the News

 

NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date

Contact

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program – North Central

February 29, 2012

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Northeastern

February 29, 2012

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Southern Region

February 29, 2012

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Western

February 29, 2012

Robert Nowierski

Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program

March 1, 2012

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Distance Education Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas

March 1, 2012

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

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

March 1, 2012

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

March 9, 2012

Steven I. Smith

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP)

March 14, 2012

Tim Grosser

Interregional Research Project #4 Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4)

March 20, 2012

Monte Johnson

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

March 27, 2012

Edwin Lewis

Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program

March 30, 2012

Gregory Smith

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using Earth System Models

May 11, 2012

Nancy Cavallaro

 

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.

 

USDA Takes Next Step to Modernize Department

WASHINGTON, February 27 — As part of a continuing effort to build a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that meets the evolving needs of a 21st century agricultural economy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that in 90 days he plans to approve consolidation of 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices with other USDA service centers, consistent with provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill. Under the Blueprint for Stronger Service announced on January 9, Vilsack laid out USDA's plans to modernize and accelerate service delivery while improving the customer experience through use of innovative technologies and business solutions. The Blueprint included USDA's plan to close 259 domestic offices, facilities, and labs, including the proposed closure of 131 FSA offices, and seven foreign offices. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


USDA Goes the Extra Mile for Producers, Helping to Meet Demand for U.S. Cattle

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2012 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been taking extra steps to meet the needs and ensure the success of some of its most important customers—U.S. exporters.

Responding to a surge in demand in 2011 from Russia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan for live cattle exports from the United States, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service approved seven temporary export inspection facilities to supplement the work done at the agency's approved permanent facilities. These facilities reduce the distance animals have to travel prior to export and help exporters meet strict shipping deadlines. The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011 and beyond. Last year, the United States exported an all-time high of $5.4 billion worth of beef and beef products, surpassing the previous record by more than $1.6 billion and marking an important milestone in USDA's steadfast efforts to open and expand international markets. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Kicks Off 150th Anniversary at the 2012 Ag Outlook Forum

ARLINGTON, Va., February 23 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off the commemoration of the department's 150th anniversary at USDA's 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum.  Titled "Moving Agriculture Forward," Outlook Forum offered dynamic presenters and panelists who discussed issues impacting agriculture in 2012 and beyond. To commemorate USDA's rich history as well as its potential, Secretary Vilsack moderated a panel discussion with former Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Schafer, Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter, John Block, and Bob Bergland.

At the forum, USDA introduced a short film titled "Secretaries of Agriculture – 30 Leaders, 150 Years," available on the USDA website, which looks at the history of USDA from the viewpoints of its nine most recent Secretaries. Each Secretary shared reflections on his or her time at USDA and then presents ideas and challenges to the future of American agriculture. The film explores the history and role of USDA in American life and why it continues to be known by the name given it by its founder, President Abraham Lincoln, "The Peoples Department." Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

United States/China Sign Plan of Strategic Cooperation in Agriculture

DES MOINES, Iowa, February 16 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China's Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, signed an historic Plan of Strategic Cooperation that will guide the two countries' agricultural relationship for the next 5 years. The plan was signed as part of the United States/China Agricultural Symposium held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. The symposium focused on bilateral cooperation in the areas of food safety, food security, and sustainable agriculture, as well as enhanced business relationships between the two countries. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces START2FARM.GOV to Support America's Future Farming

WASHINGTON, February 16 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA's National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, announced Start2farm.gov, a new online portal that helps provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

Start2Farm.gov was funded via the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a program that funded the development of education, training, outreach, and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers. The program has been funded since fiscal year 2009. It was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill with $75 million through FY12. In its first year, BFRDP’s 3-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

European Union and United States Agree to Historic New Partnership 

NUREMBERG, Germany, February 15 — The European Union and the United States announced beginning June 1, 2012, organic products certified in Europe or in the United States may be sold as organic in either region. This partnership between the two largest organic-producers in the world will establish a strong foundation from which to promote organic agriculture, benefiting the growing organic industry and supporting jobs and businesses on a global scale. The organics sector in the United States and European Union is valued at more than $50 billion combined, and rising every year.

Formal letters creating this partnership were signed on February 15 in Nuremberg by Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development; Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary; and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, U.S. Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

Call for Nominations

The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America are accepting nominations for their 2012 Awards, which honors researchers, educators, professionals, and students. Nominate someone for one of the dozens of awards (scholarships allow for self-nominations). Deadlines: March 21 to initiate online nominations and March 28 for reference letters and final nomination submission.  Visit the each organization’s website for online nominations information and details.

Mark Your Calendar for the 6th National Small Farm Conference

Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee are serving as co-hosts for the 6th National Small Farm Conference, September 18-20, in Memphis, TN.  

This conference brings together a diversity of nearly 800 professionals from academia; non-governmental organizations; and farm leaders from local, state, and national levels who work with small farmers and ranchers. One of the plenary sessions will consist of farmer panelists who will highlight small farm opportunities and challenges. The conference aims to strengthen collaboration and partnership among stakeholders and provides an opportunity to share new ideas in research, extension, and outreach with the goals of enhancing farm income and improving the quality of life within communities. Contact Denis Ebodaghe, NIFA national program leader for Small Farms, for more information. More conference details will be forthcoming.

 

USDA People’s Garden Initiative Awards

USDA People’s Garden Initiative recently recognized the NIFA People’s Garden Grant Program Team and others who have gone above and beyond to support the initiative. The award citation reads “For outstanding contributions to the 2011 People’s Garden Grant Program.” The 2011 NIFA team was led by Dr. Tom Bewick, national program leader for horticulture, and included Angela Holloman, supervisory program assistant; Elizabeth Ley, program specialist; Kari Perez, AAAS Fellow; and Rashard Fisher, program assistant, all with the Division of Plant Systems-Protection in NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability. 

 

The next NIFA issue is planned for March. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by March 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.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting 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: 02/29/2012