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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update - April 25, 2012

NIFA Update — April 25, 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.



  • Message from Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • USDA Unveils New Food Hub Resource Guide to Expand Market Opportunities for Farmers and Ranchers 
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Says Thank You to America's Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Communities


  • New Online Learning Modules for Plant Breeders


Awards and Recognition

  • 15th Annual Jeanne M. Priester Awards



  • Next issue of NIFA Update is May 9

Message from Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as President Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act, which created the Land-Grant University System. The many celebrations that are occurring throughout the system are a great opportunity to reflect on our past, to acknowledge our current reality, and to plan for the challenges on the horizon. Fortunately, NIFA, in collaboration with our partners, is working to meet the food and agricultural challenges of the 21st century. 

On May 7, we will welcome Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy as the Director of NIFA, and I will return to my role as the Director of the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist. I want to thank each of you for all of the support you have shown me and the NIFA team. This past year has been both challenging and rewarding as we have worked to maximize organizational and managerial effectiveness while continuing to deliver excellent service to our stakeholders. We have accomplished much. 

Thank you again for your support of agricultural science and the recognition of the critical role we play in strengthening food and agricultural science and research.


Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Ph.D.
Acting NIFA Director


NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI)

See solicitation deadlines.

Carmela Bailey

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

April 25, 2012

Steven I. Smith

1890 Facilities Grants Program

May 4, 2012

P.S. Benepal

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using Earth System Models

May 11, 2012

Nancy Cavallaro

Regional Integrated Pest Management Centers

May 14, 2012

Herbert Bolton

Special Research Grants Program - Pest Management Alternatives (PMAP)

May 14, 2012

Monte Johnson

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program

May 15, 2012

Aida Balsano

Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities: National AgrAbility Project (NAP)

May 17, 2012

Bradley Rein

Rural Youth Development (RYD) Grants Program

May 21, 2012

Nancy Valentine

Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program (EIPM-CS)

May 29, 2012

Martin A. Draper

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program (SLSNCGP)

June 1, 2012

William Hoffman

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Childhood Obesity Prevention

June 5, 2012

Jane M. Clary

Common Bean Productivity Research for Global Food Security Competitive Grants Program

June 27, 2012

Kitty Cardwell

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

September 20, 2012

Mark A. Mirando


NIFA advertises all of its funding opportunities through “Find Grant Opportunities” on the 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 Unveils New Food Hub Resource Guide to Expand Market Opportunities for Farmers and Ranchers 

CHICAGO, April 20 – The U. S. Department of Agriculture unveiled the first Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, bolstering its commitment to expand market opportunities for small and mid-sized producers. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan introduced the new resource guide at the National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration conference.

"The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide is an important tool to help promote local and regional efforts to support small and medium sized producers," said Merrigan. "Food hubs play a critical role in developing stronger supply chains and addressing the infrastructure challenges while supporting food access, regional economic development and job creation."

Food hubs are businesses or organizations that connect producers with buyers by offering a suite of production, distribution, and marketing services. It is an innovative business model that allows farmers of all sizes to meet the growing consumer demand for fresh, local food by gaining entry into commercial and larger volume markets such as grocery stores, hospitals and schools. In 2011, USDA identified more than 170 food hubs operating around the country.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Says Thank You to America's Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Communities

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, April 19 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of agriculture and rural America to the economic recovery and the strength of the nation. Vilsack touted America's farmers, ranchers, and growers as some of our nation's greatest assets, responsible for one out of every 12 jobs: providers of our food, feed, fiber, and fuel while helping to drive our national economy. He highlighted ways the USDA and the Obama Administration have worked to improve the lives of rural Americans and grow the agricultural economy over the past 3 years by developing new markets at home and abroad, maintaining a strong safety net, investing in conservation and research, and encouraging the next generation of farmers. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


New Online Learning Modules for Plant Breeders

A module focused on predicting breeding values using molecular markers in the context of forest tree breeding and a module focused on Genomic Selection were developed by the NIFA funded Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN) and released on April 19, via the Plant Breeding and Genomics  eXtension Community of Practice. The CTGN developed a series of 16 forest tree breeding online learning modules, which are divided into foundation, dissection of complex genetic traits, and marker informed breeding and other marker applications categories. These new modules are the 14th and 15th of a 16 part series. Sign up for PBGnews for future updates.


15th Annual Jeanne M. Priester Awards

This year’s Jeanne M. Priester Awards were presented at the 2012 National Priester Extension Health Conference at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel on April 10. 
The County/Multi-County award winner is the University of Missouri Extension: Taking care of You: Body-Mind-Spirit.  Honorable Mention went to the University of Connecticut Extension; 4-H Fitness and Nutrition Clubs.

The State/Multi-State winner is the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension:  All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program. Honorable Mention went to Montana State University Extension:  Housing and Urban Development/USDA-NIFA Healthy Homes Programming: The National Tribal Healthy Homes Assessment, Training & Technical Assistance Support Center. A second Honorable Mention was awarded to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System:  Body Quest: Food of the Warrior program.


The next NIFA issue is planned for May 9. Submit news items to: by May 2. 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

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Questions? Comments? Last Updated: 04/30/2012