NIFA Update April 11

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                         April 11, 2018

Making a Difference

Jonathan Claussen  from Iowa University photo by Christopher Gannon

Engineers Develop Flexible, Water-repellent Graphene Circuits for Washable Electronics

A new graphene printing technology can produce electronic circuits that are low-cost, flexible, highly conductive and water repellent. The nanotechnology “would lend enormous value to self-cleaning wearable/washable electronics that are resistant to stains, or ice and biofilm formation,” according to a recent paper describing the discovery.

“We’re taking low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene and tuning it with a laser to make functional materials,” said Jonathan Claussen, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and the corresponding author of the paper. Read the full Iowa State University article.

Jonathan Claussen and his research group are printing and processing graphene ink to make functional materials. Credit: Christopher Gannon from Iowa State University.


Sonny Ramaswamy video message

Video Message from Sonny

Greetings from Washington DC, our nation's capital on this national agriculture day. I wanted to spend a few minutes with you here, to share with you a little bit of the history of this amazingly American idea called the land-grant institutions, and why it is important to us as a nation, and for that matter for humanity itself. Watch the NIFA video.

National 4-H Conference Members Visit NIFA

National 4-H Conference Members Visit NIFA

4-H Students gave a presentation on “Teen Health” focusing on better resources teenagers need to improve their diet and health. 4-H’ers huddle around Dr. Denise Eblen, deputy director of NIFA’s Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition.

News for You

prototype robot photo by Thomas Thayer

Robots to Help California’s Grape Growers

Vintners in California’s Central and Napa valleys are facing two shortages: of water and of workers. What’s more, the state’s recent drought has caused a financial strain for growers thanks to the cost of irrigating their thousands of hectares of vines. Stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws, competition from less strenuous higher-paying jobs, and an aging workforce have led to a labor shortage, according to Wine Spectator magazine.

When researchers from the University of California met with grape growers to discuss how technology could help them, the growers asked if their irrigation systems could be made more efficient and with less human intervention. Read the full The Institute article.

This prototype robot is part of the RAPID system. It will turn the cap of adjustable plastic water emitters that are being designed for existing drip irrigation lines. Photo by Thomas Thayer.

Will Hastings photo by UNH

Will Hastings: Cares for the UNH Kiwiberry Vineyard

Contoocook resident Will Hastings, will graduate this May with a master’s in biology, agricultural sciences, and conducts research with Dr. Iago Hale at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Agricultural Experiment Station. Learn why he chose the UNH for his graduate studies, what he researched, and what he has gained from his research experiences. Read the full UNH article.   

Will Hastings photo provided by UNH.

RFA Grant and Award Announcements

NIFA Announces Support for Pilot Projects in Extension at Tribal Colleges

NIFA announced support for reservation community needs through projects that address youth, agriculture, economic development, and more. Funding is made through NIFA’s Tribal Colleges Extension Program: Special Emphasis (TCEP-SE).

TCEP-SE gives reservation communities opportunities for enhanced agricultural productivity, community resilience, economic growth, and youth development by extending the reach of innovations in research and technology and enhancing informal, local educational programming. This program supports short-term, two-year pilot projects allowing extension educators to explore new ways to better serve their community. Read the full request for applications announcement.

NIFA Announces Support for Aquaculture Research Programs

NIFA) today announced support for the development of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture programs. Funding is provided through the Aquaculture Research Program, authorized by the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grants Act.

Aquaculture Research supports the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. by generating new science-based information and technology to address industry constraints. Results of projects supported by this program are intended to help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, expand markets for U.S.-produced products, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America. Read the full request for applications announcement