NIFA Update, Nov. 3

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The NIFA Update is a weekly compendium of news and information that may be of interest to Land-Grant and non-Land-Grant Universities, NIFA stakeholders, and other subscribers. Editor: Judy Rude

Nov. 3, 2016

Wind Energy Turbine

Success Story

Renewable Energy in Maine

Maine has the highest wind energy potential in New England at nearly 34 terawatt-hours per year. There are also significant solar, tidal, and geothermal resources in the state that could be harnessed to provide homegrown energy, increase jobs, and improve quality of life.  Researchers used Hatch funding to compare the level of public and political acceptance, cost, technical potential, and environmental impacts of increasing energy use from a variety of renewable energy options.  Researchers have:

  • Created a database of 6,000 community energy projects so people may learn from past projects to develop their own.
  • Developed a framework for making decisions about biofuel production through multi-criteria decision analysis. This framework integrates data on the technical, economic, environmental, and social effects of different methods of biofuels development to help decision-makers determine which pathway is best for their particular goals and preferences.

USDA Results

Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future

Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future is the title of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Chapter 11 in his year-long storytelling effort of the Obama Administration’s work on behalf of those living, working, and raising families in rural America called USDA Results.

USDA has made a powerful statement about the importance of scientific discovery by strengthening our institutions, building our capacity, and leveraging the strengths of our outside stakeholders to do the same. From the farm to the lab to the boardroom, we have increased our investment in delivering problem-driven and solutions-based science that empowers farmers, foresters, ranchers, landowners, resource managers, professors, and policymakers to help manage the risks we face. USDA is the world’s largest agricultural research force, employing around 3,000 scientists, economists, statisticians, and others, and funding thousands more at land-grant universities and other institutions across the country. All told, their work and yours is helping to shape the lives of billions of people around the world. Please take a few minutes to revisit our shared results:


Interview with Sonny Ramaswamy

NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy was recently interviewed by Scientia to talk about NIFA’s investments and how cutting-edge knowledge is put into practice. The session covered everything from NIFA’s international collaboration, managing trade-offs between forestry/farm land/food demands, to inventive and technology projects, the environment, science policy and decision making, and much, much more. To learn about NIFA and its organization and activities read Scientia article on U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Scientia publications connects people: scientists and educators, science policy decision-making and researchers, and the public and private sectors. They help researchers communicate their findings beyond their specialty and into the wider world. 

New Dean/Director University of Wisconsin-Extension

Effective Nov. 1, Dr. Karl J. Martin is the new dean and director of the University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension. His contact information is as follows:

Dr. Karl J. Martin
Dean and Director 
University of Wisconsin-Extension
Office of the Dean and Director
432 N. Lake Street, Room 601
Madison, WI  53706-1416

Phone: 608-263-2775
FAX: 608-265-4545

A Pollination Forum Highlights Issues Facing Pollinators

On Nov. 28, Michigan State University (MSU) will host A Pollination Forum, an evening outreach event to present the latest information on issues facing bees and the solutions being developed to support crop pollination. Held at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, this event will run from 6 to 8 p.m., and will feature Dr. Marla Spivak, internationally-renowned bee researcher, a McArthur Fellow, and the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota, as the keynote speaker. She will present “The Glorious Pollinator Revolution”. This is a free event but registration is mandatory since space is limited. Please register by Nov. 23.

Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Katie Steinman by Nov. 18. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. This event is sponsored by MSU’s Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, AgBioResearch and MSU Extension, and by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.