NIFA Update Feb. 14

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                        Feb. 14, 2018

Making a Difference

Mind controlling molecules from wasp venom could someday help parkinsons patients photo by Sharadpunita
Wasp venom could someday help parkinsons patients, photo by Sharadpunita.

Mind-Controlling Molecules From Wasp Venom Could Someday Help Parkinson’s Patients

 After being stung by a parasitic wasp, the American cockroach loses control of its behavior, becoming host to the wasp’s egg. Days later, the hatchling consumes the cockroach alive. While this is a gruesome process for the cockroach, scientists report discovery of a new family of peptides in the wasp’s venom that could be the key to controlling roach minds, and may help researchers develop better Parkinson’s disease treatments. Read the full Technology Networks article


Eugenia Gusev

Lost in Translation Webinar with Eugenia Gusev

NIFA’s Center for International Programs invites you to the “Lost in Translation: Finding Inspiration Abroad to Measure Food Security for Refugee and Immigrant Populations in the U.S.” webinar presented by Eugenia Gusev, Feb. 22, from 1 - 2 p.m. (EST). She will discuss international development efforts, emerging research on indigenous populations in North America and the interesting opportunities for innovation. 


Gusev is a project director of a NIFA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant. She also serves a technical adviser for food security and agriculture programs for the International Rescue Committee, where she works on the design and implementation of evidence based programs that focus on food security and nutrition of refugees and immigrants in the U.S. Lost in Translation webinar available on Zoom

Mohamed Farah, Abdimalik Mohamed and Dr. Muqurab Qureshi during a recent visit to NIFA.

4-H Urban Stem Leaders Visit Institute of Youth, Family and  Community


Ka Joog’s 4-H Urban Club leaders Abdimalik and Mohamed Mohamed Farah recently visited NIFA to discuss their partnership with the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Children, Youth and Families at Risk program. Ka Joog's participants engage in STEM courses and learn to develop the personal leadership skills needed to pursue higher education and future careers. Participants also have an opportunity to experience student life at the UMN campus, where they explore academic interests, identify steps towards college readiness, and meet withfaculty and students. Watch video learn more about the 4-H program.

Pictured (L to R) Mohamed Farah, Abdimalik Mohamed and Dr. Muqurab Qureshi, NIFA's Institute of Youth, Family, and Community Deputy Director, during a recent visit to NIFA. 

Secretary Sonny Perdue Talks Future of Ag at FAMU


Secretary Perdue visited Florida A&M University (FAMU) to have a round-table discussion about the future of agriculture with students, extension agents, 4-H representatives, and Future Farmers of America. Purdue asked the participants what the federal government can do to encourage more youth to become involved in agriculture. “The goal is to get students to understand that agriculture is more than just farming but also research at universities like FAMU to meet future needs of agriculture." said Perdue.

Secretary Sonny Purdue Talks Future of Ag at FAMU

Top picture: Back row (L-R) Raven Goodman, Halimah Wynn, Sonny Perdue, Larry Robinson, Crenel Francis, (Front) George McNealy, Briyana Stewart, Boones Champa and Matthew Dismuke.
Bottom left: (L-R) Sonny Perdue, U.S. Representative Al Lawson and Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson. Bottom right: (L-R) Sonny Perdue, Raven Goodman and Boones Champa.

News for You

APLU logo

Call for National Excellence in Extension and Diversity Award Nominations

The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy announces the call for nominations for the 2018 National Excellence in Extension and Diversity awards. Complete details, helpful worksheets, and access to the online nomination forms are available. Awards will be selected by the end of July. Recipients receive cash awards and travel to the Association of Public and Land-Grant University 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans Nov. 11. Due date for on-line nominations is May 1, by 5 p.m. Pacific Time. For more information contact Sandy Ruble or call 202-478-6088.

RFA Grant and Award Announcements

NIFA Announces Partners for SARE National Office and Regional Hosts

NIFA announced partners to serve as the National Reporting, Coordination and Communications Office (NRCCO) and as the four regional Host Institutions for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE). NIFA’s SARE program supports farmer-focused solutions that boost production, increase profitability, promote environmental stewardship, and enhance quality of life in rural communities.

The NRCCO for the SARE program and the four regional SARE host institutions will serve for five years from Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 through 2022. NRCCO works with NIFA and the national SARE Operations Committee to administer national reporting, coordination, and communications. Each regional host institution collaborates with NIFA to implement regional competitive grant and outreach programs as guided by the Regional Administrative Council. Read the full announcement.


NIFA Announces Support for K-12 Agricultural Literacy

NIFA announced support to enhance agricultural literacy through formal K-12 education. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture in The Classroom (AITC) program.
AITC helps students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society so they will become citizens who make wise decisions regarding agricultural challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. The program is implemented through a network of partners at the state and local levels, and encourages educators to integrate information about the food and agricultural system across curricula to ensure future generations are agriculturally literate. Read the full request for applications.



NIFA Announces Support to Strengthen Hispanic-Serving Institutions

NIFA announced support for higher education programs in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences (FANH) at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Funding is made through the HSI Education Grants Program, which aims to strengthen the ability of the institutions to recruit, retain, train, and develop the next generation of scientists, leaders, and highly-skilled workforce. 

HSI Education Grants Program encourages innovative teaching or education proposals with the potential to impact institutions that serve underrepresented students. Projects supported by this program attract and support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, prepare them for careers related to the FANH sciences in the U.S., and enhance the quality of postsecondary instruction at institutions within these disciplines. Projects also provide opportunities and access to FANH careers in the public and private sector, and align the efforts of HSIs and other non-profit organizations in support of the academic development and career attainment of underrepresented groups. Read the full request for applications announcement.