NIFA Update June 20

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                          June 20, 2018

Making a Difference

Fresh Bowl of Fruit

Ensuring the Safety & Quality of Fresh-Cut Produce


Food safety and quality control are critical aspects of food security and human health. Fresh-cut produce like packaged salad, carrot sticks, and sliced melons spoil easily and has been responsible for recent foodborne illness outbreaks, which cost billions of dollars due to recalled products, healthcare expenses, and lost wages and worker productivity. Conventional food safety methods are not always effective and often damage the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of fresh-cut produce. Researchers from 14 land-grant universities are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and international institutions to find innovative solutions to these issues. Read the full Multistate Research Fund Impacts article



NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide for Review

We revised the NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide (i.e., the Policy Guide), dated Oct 2014, to incorporate changes from the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR part 200), NIFA terms and conditions, NIFA policies and procedures, and stakeholder feedback.

NIFA Policy Guide Update schedule:

  • NIFA requests stakeholder input on the updated draft. Stakeholders have seven (7) weeks to review and provide feedback to NIFA. All comments must be submitted via email to by 5 p.m. EST. July 30, 2018.
  • NIFA encourages stakeholders to collaborate, compile, and submit reviews based on existing groups, such as regional organizations. The Policy Guide is 214 pages in length so the compiled reviews will allow us to better manage and address comments and more efficiently incorporate appropriate changes. 
  • After receiving feedback, NIFA will review submissions and make updates to the Policy Guide as necessary. The final updated Policy Guide is expected to be published in September 2018 and will be incorporated into the FY 2019 awards. 
  • Additional information about the NIFA Policy Guide update can be found on the NIFA website.


News for You graphic

Coming Soon - New Login Process for

To further increase security and deter fraud the System for Award Management (SAM), is partnering with to implement multi-factor authentication for all registered users beginning June 29. Users will need to create the user account, you need to:

  • Know the email address associated with your username and password
  • Have access to that email to receive a confirmation email from,
  • Have a working phone (cell phone or landline) to receive a security code from

Before June 29, make sure you know the email address associated with your current user account (after June 29, the username and password won’t work and you won’t be able to find the email information without contacting the Federal Service Desk). For more information review the SAM FAQs


Angela Moore, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Associate, with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

Battle Ground to Breaking Ground

The Cooperative Extension Program in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences participated with Texas A&M in the “Battle Ground to Breaking Ground” (BG2BG) program in Dallas on May 31. Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, attended the event in support of designating veterans for the first time as a distinct class of beginning farmers. NIFA supports the BG2BG program. Read the full Morning AgaClip’s article.


Photo: Angela Moore, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Associate, with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.


AFRI Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program has released a new program area priority in Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources. This program area priority is focused on understanding the multipartite interactions among the host, environment, and the microbiome; thereby providing information critical for improving and sustaining agricultural productivity and quality in plant systems and associated natural resources. Plant productivity includes biotic factors affecting plant health such as pests, diseases or vectors as well as abiotic factors (water, soil health), etc. Research supported by this program area priority will help fill major knowledge gaps in characterizing agricultural microbiomes and microbiome functions across agricultural production systems and natural resources through cross-cutting projects. Learn more about the Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources webinar June 22, from 2-3 p.m. EDT.

Attention NIFA Grantees!

You are invited to a webinar to learn about proposed changes to the NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide (NIFA Policy Guide or Policy Guide), dated Oct 2014.  NIFA seeks stakeholder feedback on the NIFA Policy Guide updates, which describes the statutory and regulatory responsibilities of NIFA federal-fund recipients.

The webinars will cover: the new structure, enhanced navigability features, labeling of sections for audience applicability, and new sections and information (e.g. allowable costs).  There is one webinar for competitive grantees and one for capacity grantees. The Capacity grantee webinar will cover added definitions and the enhanced capacity grants matrix that details formulas, use of funds, limitations, reporting requirements, matching requirements, and carry-over provisions. The Competitive grantee webinar will also review the pre-award application and evaluation sections. You do not need to attend both webinars. Group viewing is encouraged as attendance is limited to 250 participants.

Competitive Grantees
June 26, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EST
Capacity Grantees
June 28, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EST


In Memory

Dr. John Jordan

Remembering Dr. John Jordan

It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of an extraordinary man and scientist who served agriculture, academia, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with great distinction throughout his career – Dr. John Patrick Jordan of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Jordan, who turned 84 in April, passed away June 9, from complications of a recent stroke.

Despite his numerous scientific achievements, Dr. Jordan might best be remembered by the USDA family as having been Administrator of the USDA Cooperative State Research Service from 1983 to 1994, and as Director of the Agricultural Research Service Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans for 14 years until his retirement in 2008. Read the full tribute to Dr. Jordan’s life.