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You are here:Home / Newsroom / Newsletters / NIFA Updates / NIFA Update – May 15, 2013

NIFA Update — May 15, 2013

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 Launches REEport
  • NIFA Funds Major Research Initiatives
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications



  • USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Sign-Up
  • USDA Announces Final Call for 2012 Census of Agriculture
  • USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health
  • G-8 Open Data for Agriculture Conference Aims to Help Feed a Growing Population
  • USDA and Dairy Producers Renew Agreement 



  • Nominations for the 2013 Hatch Lecture 
  • Nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence
  • World Food Prize Seeks Nominations for Norman Borlaug Award


Awards and Recognition

  • 4-H Team Wins Rocketry Challenge


  • Next issue of NIFA Update is May 29, 2013

NIFA Launches REEport

NIFA recently launched the new Research, Education, and Extension project online reporting tool “REEport.” REEport is NIFA’s singular nonformula grant (including competitive) and formula grant project reporting system, building on and replacing the Current Research Information System (CRIS) Web Forms system. REEport also implements the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR), a standard progress report format that all federal research agencies are required to use. The RPPR resulted from an initiative of the Research Business Models (RBM) Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, a committee of the National Science and Technology Council.

REEport features an all-electronic workflow. Previously, NIFA staff used a paper process to distribute proposals to national program leaders for review and decisions on formula projects. REEport allows NIFA staff to receive, distribute, and return to grantees all formula research project data and associated approvals electronically. This robust notification system sends automatic email notifications of a project’s approval and progress monitoring status to everyone connected to the project.

NIFA Funds Major Research Initiatives

MADISON, Wisc., May 7 – NIFA awarded $19.5 million to support research, education, and Extension activities associated with climate solutions in agriculture aimed at the impacts of climate variability and change on dairy and beef cattle. NIFA made the awards through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding opportunity. This year’s awards broaden NIFA’s Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) climate change portfolio, which includes three projects awarded in 2010 that focus on loblolly pine in the South, corn production in the Midwest, and wheat crops in the Northwest. Visit the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

NIFA in the News


NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - North Central Region (NC-RIPM)

May 16, 2013

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Northeastern Region (NE-RIPM)

May 16, 2013

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Southern Region (S-RIPM)

May 16, 2013

Robert Nowierski

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program - Western Region (W-RIPM)

May 16, 2013

Robert Nowierski

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

May 21, 2013

Martin A. Draper

AFRI - Foundational Program: Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities

May 22, 2013

Robbin Shoemaker

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

May 30, 2013

Gregory Smith

Smith-Lever Special Needs Program (SLSNCGP)

May 31, 2013

Beverly Samuel

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program

June 7, 2013

Susan Shockey

Supplemental and Alternative Crops

June 14, 2103

Pushpa Kathir

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Food Security

July 17, 2013

Robbin Shoemaker

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Carbon Cycle Science

July 31, 2013

Nancy Cavallaro

Multi-partner Call on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research

September 3, 2013

Nancy Cavallaro

Water Sustainability and Climate

September 10, 2013

Mary Ann Rozum


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 Announces Conservation Reserve Program Sign-Up

WASHINGTON, May 14 – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reminded farmers and ranchers that USDA will conduct a 4-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up from May 20 to June 14. Vilsack also announced the restart of sign-up for continuous CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Initiative, the Highly Erodible Land Initiative, the Grassland Restoration Initiative, the Pollinator Habitat Initiative, and other related initiatives. Sign-up for continuous CRP began on May 13 and continues through September 30, 2013.

"As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers," said Vilsack. "CRP is an important program for protecting environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Through the voluntary participation of our farmers and ranchers, CRP helps us to protect our natural resources, preserve wildlife habitat and bring good paying jobs to rural America related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.” Vilsack encouraged producers to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces Final Call for 2012 Census of Agriculture

WASHINGTON, May 6 – With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, USDA is urging farmers and ranchers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed Census forms.

The Census of Agriculture, conducted every 5 years, is the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The information is used by agribusinesses, town planners, local governments, and policy makers, as well as farmers, ranchers, growers and others to shape farm programs, boost rural services, and grow the future of farming. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health

WASHINGTON, May 2 – USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The report states that there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure.

In October 2012, a National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health, led by federal researchers and managers, along with Pennsylvania State University, was convened to synthesize the current state of knowledge regarding the primary factors that scientists believe have the greatest impact on managed bee health. Those involved in developing the report include USDA's Office of Pest Management Policy, NIFA, Agricultural Research Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Resources Conservation Service, EPA, and Pennsylvania State University. The report will provide important input to the Colony Collapse Disorder Steering Committee, led by the USDA, EPA and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report represents the consensus of the scientific community studying honey bees. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

G-8 Open Data for Agriculture Conference Aims to Help Feed a Growing Population
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary Tom Vilsack

WASHINGTON, April 29 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with Bill Gates and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, kicked off a 2-day international open data conference, saying that data "is among the most important commodities in agriculture" and sharing it openly increases its value.

Vilsack announced the launch of a new "virtual community" as part of a suite of actions, including the release of new data that the United States is taking to give farmers and ranchers, scientists, policy makers, and other members of the public easy access to publicly funded data to help increase food security and nutrition.

The virtual Food, Agriculture, and Rural data community launched on—the U.S. government's data sharing website—to catalogue America's publicly available agricultural data and increase the ability of the public to find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the federal government. The data community features a collection of more than 300 newly cataloged datasets, databases, and raw data sources related to food, agriculture, and rural issues from agencies across the U.S. government. In addition to the data catalog, the virtual community shares a number of applications, maps and tools designed to help farmers, scientists and policymakers improve global food security and nutrition. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA and Dairy Producers Renew Agreement

WASHINGTON, April 24 – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack renewed a historic agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects and energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms, both of which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. The pact extends a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009.

The Secretary signed the agreement at the White House and was joined by representatives of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management, including Thomas P. Gallagher, CEO of the center. One objective of the MOU is to increase the construction of anaerobic digesters and explore innovative ways to use products previously considered waste streams from dairy production, processing, and handling. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.


Nominations for the 2013 Hatch Lecture

NIFA is requesting nominations for the prestigious 2013 Hatch Lecture. This lecture is presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) annual meeting November 10-12, in Washington, DC. The lecture commemorates the efforts of William H. Hatch, Congressman from Missouri, who championed the Experiment Station founding bill, which became law in 1887, and to celebrate the accomplishments of the Agricultural Experiment Station System.

We are searching for a dynamic speaker who can deliver an insightful topic and who can provoke discussion among meeting participants. While we seek recommendations from within the Land-Grant University System, we encourage you to share this information with colleagues outside of the research, education, and Extension system, including stakeholders, foundations, public interest groups, or international organizations. Recommendations should include the nominee name, title, address, telephone number, email address, and possible topic for discussed. Please submit nominations on or before June 10. Nominations should be forwarded electronically to Kimberly Whittet, NIFA management and policy specialist. A committee will review submissions and narrow the nominations to make a final decision. 

Nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) is a Presidential award established by the White House. The award is to recognize U.S. citizens, or permanent residents, and U.S. organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce. 

The PAESMEM program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Nominations, including self-nominations, are invited for individual and organizational awards. Individuals and organizations in all public and private sectors are eligible including industry, academia, primary and secondary education, military and government, nonprofit organizations, and foundations. Nominations are encouraged from all U.S. geographical regions including territories or possessions, particularly jurisdictions designated by Congress under NSF's experimental program to stimulate competitive research.

Each awardee will receive a $10,000 award and a commemorative Presidential certificate. Awardees are also invited to participate in an awards ceremony in Washington, DC, which includes meetings with STEM education, research, and policy leaders. Up to 16 awards may be made from the nominations received by June 5.

World Food Prize Seeks Nominations for Norman Borlaug Award

The $10,000 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation recognizes exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40 who has clearly demonstrated intellectual courage, stamina, and determination in the fight to eliminate global hunger and poverty. The award honors an individual who is working closely and directly "in the field" or at the production or processing level with farmers, animal herders, fishers or others in rural communities, in any discipline or enterprise across the entire food production, processing, and distribution chain.

Candidates are selected based on the attributes and accomplishments that reflect those demonstrated by Dr. Borlaug during his work in field research and application, which includes: persistence, innovation, communication, research/science, extension, education, application, leadership and impact. Nominations are due June 30 for the 2nd annual award, which will be presented at the World Food Prize events in October. Please click on this link to learn more and to nominate a deserving individual. Questions may be directed to Judith Pim, director of Secretariat Operations.


4-H Team Wins Rocketry Challenge

The best young rocketry team and national winners in the United States for 2013 is the 4-H team from Georgetown, TX.  4-H teams from across the country placed well at the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) held at Great Plains, Va., on May 12. This is the Aerospace Industries Association’s signature program and the only aerospace-specific national STEM competition.

Three 4-H teams placed in the top 10 and 5 teams placed in the top 25. A total of six teams in the top 100 from across the country came from 4-H. Georgetown 4-H Team will be representing the United States at the Paris Air Show in a similar event later this year. 


The next NIFA issue is planned for May 29, 2013. Submit news items to: by May 22. 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: 4/10/2013