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

NIFA Update — March 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

  • Obama Administration Announces New Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative
  • 4-H Members Explore Issues Affecting Youth at the 2012 National 4-H Conference
  • NIFA in the News
  • NIFA Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

 

USDA

  • USDA Warns of Additional Fraudulent Letters and Calls
  • USDA Warns of Fraudulent Letters 
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights New Job Creation Opportunities for Agriculture and Manufacturing through Development of Biobased Products
  • Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the United States - Korea Trade Agreement
  • USDA Announces Assistance to Rural Communities and Residents Affected by Recent Tornadoes

 

  • RIDGE Research Grant Opportunities Announced 
  • EDEN Announces New Partnership

 

Opportunities

  • 26th Annual NETC 2012: Early Registration Now Open

 

Awards and Recognition

  • Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition Winners

 

Mailbox

  • Next issue of NIFA Update is April 11

Obama Administration Announces New Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

COLUMBUS, OH, March 22 – The White House announced up to $35 million over 3 years to support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) – a joint program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) – will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products that can help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles and diversify our energy portfolio. The announcement to invest in advanced biofuels supports President Obama's blueprint for an economy fueled by homegrown, alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers. These investments will help cut America's oil imports, develop clean alternative energy technologies, and protect American families and businesses from the ups and downs of the global oil market.

Grant awards and national program leadership for the BRDI program will be administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Through federal funding and leadership for research, education, and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available on NIFA Website. EERE accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Visit EERE’s Biomass Website for more information and the NIFA Newsroom to read the full release.

4-H Members Explore Issues Affecting Youth at the 2012 National 4-H Conference

WASHINGTON, March 26 – More than 200 4-H members from across the country came to the nation’s capital to make their voices heard as part of the 2012 National 4-H Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed the delegates during the general session.

Biden, a longtime educator, spoke to conference participants about Joining Forces, the initiative she started with First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage all Americans to support military families. She encouraged 4-H members to not only continue their longtime support of military families, but to continue to act as role models and mentors in their communities.

“For almost 100 years, USDA and 4-H have partnered to produce some of our nation’s best and brightest, including farmers and ranchers, who have supported the American economy and put food on our tables,” Vilsack said. “You all are tomorrow’s leaders. We need you to think big, innovate, and help tackle the important challenges standing between us, a stronger middle class, and a stronger nation.”

Participants at this year’s conference will engage in personal development experiences that increase their knowledge, resources, and skills on issues that matter most to them. 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

Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program

March 30, 2012

Gregory Smith

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program (WAMS)

April 12, 2012

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

Special Research Grants Program Potato Breeding Research

 April 13, 2012

Liang-Shiou Lin

Supplemental and Alternative Crops

April 16, 2012

Shing F Kwok

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

Rural Youth Development (RYD) Grants Program

May 21, 2012

Nancy Valentine

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

Letter of Intent
August 20, 2012
Closing Date
September 20, 2012

Mark A Mirando

 

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 Warns of Additional Fraudulent Letters and Calls

WASHINGTON, March 23 – USDA officials have been notified that additional fraudulent letters and at least one fraudulent phone call have been received by individuals in a number of states.

The phone call was received by an individual in Indiana, and letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in a growing number of states. The letters and call purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Warns of Fraudulent Letters 

WASHINGTON, March 16 – USDA officials learned that fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA's logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as "Frank Rutenberg" using a title of "Senior Procurement Officer." Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights New Job Creation Opportunities for Agriculture and Manufacturing through Development of Biobased Products

CLEVELAND, Ohio, March 16 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Sherwin-Williams John G. Breen Technology research facility in Cleveland to highlight how the growing biobased products industry is creating new economic opportunities for Ohio agriculture and manufacturing. Sherwin-Williams is developing new, biobased paints using soybeans, an example of how agricultural products grown by America's farmers are being used to make products for consumers, creating jobs on the farm and in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

Though the industry is in its early stages, nearly 3,100 companies are producing more than 25,000 biobased products. Last month, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to create jobs through increased procurement of biobased products by the federal government. In 2011, USDA announced the designation of 14 additional biobased product categories that are eligible for federal procurement preference. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the United States - Korea Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON, March 15 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement about the United States-Korea Trade Agreement, also known as KORUS, which entered into force March 15.

This is a monumental day for American farmers and ranchers. Under the new United States-Korea trade agreement, two-thirds of the tariffs imposed on U.S. food and agricultural products exported to South Korea are being eliminated. Over the next few years, as additional barriers fall and more U.S. businesses market products to Korea's expanding economy, American agricultural exports should grow by $1.9 billion and help support nearly 16,000 jobs here at home. The trade agreement with Korea is the most significant for the United States in decades. Now the world's 12th largest economy, with a gross domestic product of over $1.4 trillion and a population of about 49 million, Korea is already the fifth largest export market for U.S. farm products. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

USDA Announces Assistance to Rural Communities and Residents Affected by Recent Tornadoes

WASHINGTON, March 14 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced comprehensive outreach efforts are underway to assess damage and assist rural Midwest and Southern communities in the wake of recent deadly storms. "These storms struck the very heart of rural America," said Vilsack. "USDA regional and local staff members are on the front lines having worked each day since the storms hit, and for many it's personal; they live and work alongside the victims. I've directed our expertise and resources be put to the fullest possible use."

In rural communities, USDA Rural Development provides the Federal Emergency Management Agency with regular information concerning the availability of vacant units in multi-family housing complexes financed by the agency. In the case of disasters, displaced residents can receive priority placement in vacant units. Rural Development offers a variety of resources for states and individuals affected by the recent disasters. Individuals can also apply for other types of federal disaster assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release.

 

RIDGE Research Grant Opportunities Announced

The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies housed at the Southern Rural Development Center, in partnership with USDA Economic Research Service, has released its 2012 request for proposals.
The Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program supports research in the United States by funding graduate students pursuing doctoral research in areas that closely align with the priorities of the RIDGE Center. Students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education who have reached the “All But Dissertation” stage are eligible to apply. Proposals must be postmarked by May 18.  The Food Assistance and Nutrition Challenges in Rural America Grant Program funds innovative research that explores the social science-based dimensions of the food and nutrition issues impacting residents or communities in rural America. The program is especially interested in proposals that focus on Native Americans, Hispanics, African-Americans, and other racial/ethnic minorities, as well as children and low-income individuals and households. Proposals must be postmarked by May 4.

EDEN Announces New Partnership

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT) have announced a new partnership with a common mission to improve preparedness, relief, and recovery of communities affected by disasters. This partnership highlights the value of EDEN, which provides research-based disaster education to individuals and organizations at the local level through its nationwide network of extension specialists and educators. NCBRT's faculty and FEMA-approved courses will increase EDEN's ability to meet its mission of reducing the impact of disasters through research-based education.   

26th Annual NETC 2012: Early Registration Now Open

The National Extension Technology Conference meeting is May 28 to June 1 at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans. Early registration, before April 17, can save you $100. NETC offers a great opportunity to learn from colleagues at other universities and to share successes and challenges in a variety of technology areas including web development, programming, networking, digital audio/video, distance education, social media, and more. 

 

Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition Winners

The Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition winners were recently announced at the Digital Media and Learning Conference. The 4-H and 4-H National Headquarters project to develop a badging system around robotics was one of the winners in the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. As part of an e-portfolio of learning, youth will be able to add digital badges that document knowledge, skills, and competencies attained in robotics competitions, platforms, movement, and mechtronics. Robotics badges are the beginning of a new tradition in 4-H. 4-H National Headquarters partnered with University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Auburn University in this effort. The winners include John A. (Tony) Cook, Auburn University; Bradley S. Barker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Nancy Valentine, 4-H Headquarters, NIFA; Jim Kahler, 4-H Headquarters, NIFA; Craig H. Wood, eXtension; and Ashley Griffin, eXtension.

The competition is held in collaboration with Mozilla and is part of the 4th Digital Media and Learning Competition supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory.

 

The next NIFA issue is planned for April 11. Submit news items to: newsletter@nifa.usda.gov by April 4. 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: 03/29/2012