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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update -June 7, 2012

NIFA Update — June 7, 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.


  • New IYFC Assistant Director Announced
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • Streamlined Trade of Organic Products between United States and European Union Begins
  • USDA Targeting Six Additional Strains of E. Coli in Raw Beef Trim
  • Secretary Vilsack Names Members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching
  • USDA Provides Funding to Cooperators for Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces New and Expanded Access to Credit for America's Farmers and Ranchers


  • GEO-5 Report Launched


  • 150th Anniversary of USDA and the Morrill Act

  • Vilsack Recognizes Employees for Service in Afghanistan
  • Arizona OMK Program Receives CNCS Impact Service Award

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is June 20

New IYFC Assistant Director Announced

Muquarrab A. Qureshi is the new assistant director of NIFA’s Institute of Youth, Family, and Community. In 2003 he joined USDA’s Cooperative State, Research, Education, and Extension Service as a national program leader. Qureshi served as the director of NIFA’s Division of Animal Systems within the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability. Prior to joining USDA, Qureshi served as professor and director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Program of physiology, director of the Poultry Science Graduate Program, and the associate dean of the Graduate School at North Carolina State University (NCSU). During his time at NCSU, he received several national outstanding teaching awards. He also authored 115 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and mentored 20 M.S. and Ph.D. students. Qureshi also carried out several invited international assignments through the United Nations or as a Fulbright Scholar.

He has DVM and M.S. degrees from Pakistan and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Qureshi is located in Room 4343 of the Waterfront Centre and can be reached on 202-720-5305. Caroline Crocoll who served as the acting assistant director of IYFC for the past 6 months returns as division director for the Family and Consumer Sciences Division. Crocoll is located in Room 4432 and can be reached on 202-720-4795.

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

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program

June 15, 2012

Susan S. Shockey

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP)

June 15, 2012

Charles F. Cleland

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions Program (MBT)

June 19, 2012

Kitty Cardwell

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

June 26, 2012

Martin A. Draper

Common Bean Productivity Research for Global Food Security Competitive Grants Program

June 27, 2012

Kitty Cardwell

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP)

June 28, 2012

Michael O’Neill

Integrated Forest Products Research (FPR) Grant

July 6, 2012

Catalino Blanche

Capacity Building Grants for Non Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Program (NLGCA)

July 6, 2012

Gregory Smith

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.

Streamlined Trade of Organic Products between United States and European Union Begins 

WASHINGTON, June 4 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that organic products certified in the United States or European Union may now be sold as organic in either market, as trade opened up on Friday, June 1, under a new United States-European Union equivalency partnership. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan signed formal letters creating the partnership in February, along with Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, U.S. Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Previously, producers and companies wanting to trade products on both sides of the Atlantic had to obtain separate certifications to two standards, which resulted in a double set of fees, inspections, and paperwork. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Targeting Six Additional Strains of E. Coli in Raw Beef Trim

WASHINGTON, May 31 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will begin instituting a zero-tolerance policy for six additional strains of E. coli that are responsible for human illness. FSIS will routinely test raw beef manufacturing trim, which is a major component of ground beef, for the six additional strains of E. coli. Trim found to be contaminated with these pathogens will not be allowed into commerce and will be subject to recall.

"These strains of E. coli are an emerging threat to human health and the steps we are taking are entirely focused on preventing Americans from suffering foodborne illnesses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We cannot ignore the evidence that these pathogens are a threat in our nation's food supply." The additional strains that will be treated as adulterants are Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145. Like E. coli O157:H7, these serogroups can cause severe illness and even death, and young children and the elderly are at highest risk. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Secretary Vilsack Names Members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching

WASHINGTON, May 24 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching, a committee created to advise him on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American farmers and ranchers. The Council is being appointed as part of the Keepseagle settlement.

The Council will suggest changes to Farm Service Agency regulations and also provide internal guidance or propose measures that would promote the participation of Native American farmers and ranchers in all other USDA programs and support government-to-government relations between USDA and tribal governments. The Council is a discretionary advisory committee established under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. Visit the USDA Newsroom to view new council members.

USDA Provides Funding to Cooperators for Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention

WASHINGTON, May 24 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support 321 projects in all 50 states, plus American Samoa and Guam, to help prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases threatening U.S. agriculture and the environment. The funding, totaling $50 million is provided by Section 10201 of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Over the last 3 years, over 600 Section 10201 projects have helped to protect American agriculture and educate the public about the threat of invasive species. Examples include: developing eLearning modules for pest screening and increasing diagnostic capacity; training canine teams to conduct surveillance at ports of entry; supporting the 2011 national survey of honey bee pests and diseases; and developing the Hungry Pests campaign—a targeted, nationwide invasive pest public awareness campaign. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces New and Expanded Access to Credit for America's Farmers and Ranchers

RICHMOND, Va., May 23 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made substantial, year-over-year gains in expanding credit opportunities for farmers and ranchers across the United States. The increase in farm and operating loans has helped improve farmer and rancher productivity, launched new start-up operations, and ensured opportunities in agriculture for many more Americans. With expanded access to credit, USDA is helping a new generation of farmers sustain and build upon what is now the most productive period in history for American agriculture. To that end, Vilsack announced the Department is seeking comments on a new microloan program to help small and family operations progress through their start-up years with needed resources, while building capacity, increasing equity, and eventually graduating to commercial credit. Visit the USDA newsroom to read the full release.


GEO-5 Report Launched

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) State of the Environment Report: Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) was recently launched at a press conference to present the key findings of the report and highlight its key global recommendations. James Dobrowolski, national program leader for rangeland and grassland ecosystems and agriculture water security in NIFA’s Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment, was one of the GEO-5 chapter lead authors and a conference panel member who presented the report at the press conference. Other panel members included: Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, communication head, UNEP Regional Office for North America (RONA); Amy Fraenkel, director, UNEP RONA; The Honorable Vincent C. Gray, Mayor Washington, D.C.; John Matuszak, Division Chief of Sustainable Development and Multilateral Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Visit the UNEP website to review the GEO-5 Report.


150th Anniversary of USDA and the Morrill Act

More than 25 land-grant and public universities will participate in the 2012 Smithsonian FolkLife Festival, including the 1890 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 1994 Tribal Colleges, and the Hispanic Serving Institutions. The Festival program Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150 celebrates 150 years of partnership between universities, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and communities.

Participating land-grant universities include the University of California, Davis; University of Florida; University of Hawaii; University of Illinois; Indiana University; Iowa State University; the University of Maryland; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; University of Missouri; Montana State University; Oregon State University; University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University; Washington State University and West Virginia University. The University of Vermont is a contributing university.

The Festival takes place Wednesday, June 27, through Sunday, July 1, and Wednesday, July 4, through Sunday, July 8, outdoors on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th Streets in Washington, DC. All events are free. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service.


Vilsack Recognizes Employees for Service in Afghanistan

Ann Marie Thro, national program leader in plant genetic systems in NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability, was recognized by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for volunteering efforts as an agricultural advisor to Afghanistan. “I’m honored to recognize these brave and devoted men and women for their tremendous service to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Vilsack. “These USDA employees have played a vital role in furthering political and social stability throughout the world by building a foundation on which the economies of these countries will prosper.”

More than 250 USDA agricultural experts are assigned locations throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Arizona OMK Program Receives CNCS Impact Service Award

The Arizona Operation: Military Kids (OMK) program is this year’s Corporation National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Impact Service Award winner. Teresa Noon is the program director for the Arizona Operation: Military Kids Program. The award will be presented at the CNCS conference June 18-20, in Chicago. 

Arizona Operation: Military Kids reaches geographically dispersed military youth throughout Arizona and salutes military kids for their bravery while helping military youth develop resiliency life skills. The goal of Arizona OMK is to connect, support, and foster resilience among Arizona's geographically dispersed military youth: before - during - after the deployment of a loved one!

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture - 4-H partners with the Department of Defense’s Office of Military Community and Family Policy, and the Army, Navy, and Air Force to support military connected children. The objectives of the partnerships include fostering access to consistent, evidence informed programs and services, both on and off military installations that encourage positive youth development. The partnership fosters relationships and resources that help to support Extension 4-H Military Liaisons and OMK state project directors who work to support military families and their children. OMK programming is funded through the Army.


The next NIFA issue is planned for June 20. Submit news items to: by June 13. 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: 06/07/2012