NIFA Calls to Conversation Meeting Series
NIFA is undertaking a series of “Calls to Conversation” meetings aimed at working with stakeholders to seek a shared vision for the future of many agency programming areas. These sessions gather a cross section of extramurally funded partners, third party stakeholders, and representatives of the ultimate program beneficiaries to discuss opportunities for program enhancement. The invited groups are provided a data intensive analysis of the current situation and engage in a facilitated conversation through a series of questions about the program. These high-level conversations will help drive future stakeholder input, make that input more focused and productive, and in some cases will improve the effectiveness of programs.
While these meetings seek to develop a broad shared vision for the future, it intentionally avoids detailed decision making on specific programmatic points. However, the consensus provided by these Calls to Conversation provides a broad framework of shared principles that will help guide NIFA and its partners in future conversations.
In September 2016, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, and NIFA hosted the first such Calls to Conversation.
The meeting, themed “Engagement and Success of Land-Grant Universities and Colleges – Respecting Sovereignty, Serving the People and the Land,” was held for the purpose of having a candid and productive conversation between the 1994s and 1862s, to discuss ways to strengthen their relationship, and chart a course for a more collaborative and productive future. According to the attendees, the meeting was positive, mutually respectful, and productive. The organizers produced a progress report that is available on the NIFA website. Sub teams have formed to make progress on opportunities that were identified for future improvement.
View the talking points for the "Supporting the Tribal Land-Grant Institutions" infographic related to this conversation on the web.
In February 2017, the University of Maryland and NIFA hosted the second meeting in this series of Calls to Conversation on the topic of Tactical Sciences.
Tactical Sciences refer to a complementary set of programs that offer the tools to protect the integrity, reliability, sustainability, and profits of the U.S. food and agriculture system against threats from pests, diseases, contaminants, and disasters. NIFA is committed to supplying a toolkit of science-based tactics readily available to help prevent, prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from known and potential pests, diseases, and other natural disasters. NIFA’s Tactical Science priorities are focused in three areas:
- Detection and Diagnostics (National Plant Diagnostic Network, National Animal Health Laboratory Network)
- Regulatory Systems Support (IR-4, Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD), and Minor Use Animal Drugs Program [MUADP])
- Deployment of new crop and animal production and protection technologies and management systems (Crop Protection and Pest Management, IR-4, MUADP, and Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN))
Participants considered several issues, including: 1) What economic, political, social, technological, and scientific trends/forces will impact security of the American food system enterprise in the next 10 years; 2) What efforts are currently working related to the Tactical Sciences, and where are opportunities for improvement; and 3) What should a successful approach and strategy for the Tactical Sciences look like moving forward? Over FY 2017, NIFA will work with these stakeholders and others, to increase awareness of the need to create a stronger and more effective Tactical Sciences portfolio to ensure the biosecurity of America’s food and agricultural system. More information about this event can be found on the University of Maryland website.
View the talking points for the "Biosecurity to Protect America's Food and Agricultural System" infographic related to this conversation on the web.
In June the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and NIFA will host a conversation on the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP).
EFNEP is a national nutrition education effort undertaken by Cooperative Extension is funded through NIFA, and within the larger context of existing non-profit, public, and governmental programs, have a proven positive return on investment. For instance, studies within individual states have shown health care savings ranging from $3 to over $10 for every federal dollar invested in EFNEP. Consistently, annual data shows that more than 90 percent of adult EFNEP participants report improved behaviors following participation in the program. Since 1969, the program has reached 33 million low income families and youth, and taught them on ways to improve their health by improving their nutrition, food safety, and physical activity practices. In 2016, NIFA provided $67.9 million in EFNEP funding to 76 Land-Grant Universities. Using an evidence-based, interactive approach, EFNEP educators worked directly with 118,976 adults, 365,369 children and reached more than 340,000 family members indirectly.The main question that the Call to Conversation will address is: roughly 47 million people are below the poverty level in the U.S., which includes 18 percent of families with children and 19 percent of children, ages 0-17. Given that EFNEP reaches about 500,000 adults and youth annually, how might we most efficiently and effectively scale up the program to expand the program's reach while also maintaining its high rate of return, i.e., program impact?
4-H as a model of PYD translates the sciences of engagement, learning, and change with youth and adults who collaborate to create sustainable community change. The ten-year longitudinal Tufts University Positive Youth Development study demonstrates that compared with their peers, youth in 4-H programs are:
- Nearly four times more likely to make contributions to their communities;
- Are about two times more likely to be civically active;
- Are nearly two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering, and Computer Technology programs, and 4-H girls are two to three times more likely to take part in science programs compared with girls in other out-of-school time activities;
- 4-H’ers are nearly two times more likely to make healthier choices.
View the talking points that for the "Fostering Youth Development" infographic related to this conversation on the web.