NIFA Update Jan. 17

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                      Jan. 17, 2018

Making a Difference

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Multi-Year and Multi-University Sustainable Corn Project Data Available

The Sustainable Corn Coordinated Agricultural Project, led by Iowa State University, providing access to five years of data from the multi-university, corn-based cropping systems study focused on management practices improving cropping systems resiliency to the impacts of climate change. Read more about the cropping system study.

The Sustainable Corn Coordinated Agricultural Project, was a nine-state, 11-institution partnership to discover, engage, publish and teach strategies farmers can put in place throughout the Corn Belt to make corn-based cropping systems more resilient to current and predicted impacts of climate change. Project participants included 140 scientists, 86 graduate students, 133 undergraduates and 18 extension educators and outreach watershed coordinators. In addition, 159 farmers partnered with team scientists and educators to share their knowledge and learn from project research.

“Farmers were critical partners in the project. Our findings reinforce and reflect this partnership,” said Lois Wright Morton, an Iowa State University sociology professor. “We found that adapting corn-based cropping systems to climate extremes will requires farmers to experiment and evaluate established and new practices based on the soil and topography in their fields, their changing micro climate, and their personal resources, skills, values and goals.” Read the full High Plans/Midwest Ag Journal article.


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hosting a task force listening session.

Opioid Crisis Affects All Americans, Rural and Urban

By Ahlishia Shipley, Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. That’s three people every hour. As if the death rate wasn’t bad enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, and addiction treatment. Despite the grim subject matter depicted in TV and movies, opioid addiction is not confined to big cities. The effects of the opioid epidemic are more intense in rural communities where employment opportunities are often limited and isolation is pervasive. Between 1999 and 2015, opioid death rates in rural areas have quadrupled among those 18-to-25-year-olds and tripled for females. Read the full USDA story


Photo of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hosting a task force listening session with state and local elected officials, industry leaders, farm bureau members, students, and local farmers, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on Sept. 1, 2017.

News for You

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Once in a Decade Event


What’s your vision for the future of sustainable agriculture? Join our nation’s leading farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators in St. Louis on April 3-5, to explore a wide range of innovative, sustainable solutions to agriculture’s most pressing dilemmas.


The Our Farms, Our Future Conference will address major food sustainability trends with presentations by a diverse group of farmers and ranchers using a wide range of systems to produce vegetables, grains, fruit, cattle, hogs, poultry and other livestock sustainably.


Hosted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT/ATTRA), the conference will feature plenary sessions and workshops for grain, livestock and specialty crop producers, as well as material relevant to researchers, educators, agency leaders and nonprofit representatives. Eight farm tours will feature sustainable models of rural and urban agricultural production within the vibrant St. Louis food system.


Register today to save your spot and receive discounts. Early registration ends on Feb. 22.

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Ten Big Ideas to Think Differently about the Future of Extension

The Jan. 5th Learning for Leaders web conference, included five Extension Administrators/Directors sharing two big ideas about what they see in the future of Cooperative Extension in their respective state as well as nationally. More than 30 institutions participated. Watch the Learning for Leaders web conference.


Each Learning for Leaders web conference is archived and available via the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy newsletter. Stay tuned for the next web conference scheduled for Feb. 2.

RFA Grant and Award Announcements

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in Fighting Citrus Greening Disease

NIFA announced awards to combat citrus greening disease. The funding to support research and extension programs is made through the emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE). CDRE was authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. 
Florida’s citrus industry has lost nearly half of its $1.5 billion on-tree fruit value in just 10 years due to citrus greening disease. CDRE supports research and extension activities, technical assistance, and development activities to combat citrus diseases and pests, including citrus greening, and the Asian citrus psyllid - the insect that transmits the disease. CDRE also supports the dissemination and commercialization of relevant information, techniques, and technologies that target problems caused by citrus production diseases and invasive pests. Read the full award announcement