NIFA Update Aug. 22

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                         Aug. 22, 2018

Making a Difference

Wheat image by K-State
The sun rises on a Kansas State University wheat plot. Image by K-State.

Wheat Code Finally Cracked; Wheat Genome Sequence will Bring Stronger Wheat Varieties to Farmers

Kansas State University scientists, in collaboration with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, published in the international journal Science a detailed description of the complete genome of bread wheat, the world’s most widely-cultivated crop (a highly complex and elusive genome). This work will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality, and improved sustainability. The article is titled “Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome.” The research article — authored by more than 200 scientists from 73 research institutions in 20 countries — presents the reference genome of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring. The DNA sequence ordered along the 21 wheat chromosomes is the highest-quality genome sequence produced to date for wheat. It is the result of 13 years of collaborative international research and the support of the National Science Foundation, NIFA, Kansas farmers and many others. “Completion of the sequence is a landmark event that will serve as a critical foundation for future wheat improvement,” said Allan Fritz, Kansas State University professor of agronomy and wheat breeder. Read the full K-State article.

USDA News web cover image

Adding Producers: USDA Adds New Tools, Resources to

Agricultural producers have new resources available to them to help prepare for and recover from impacts of natural disasters on the USDA’s new website, The site has updated tools and information to help ag producers identify the right programs for their operations.

“Agriculture is a risky business,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “At USDA, we’re here to help you prepare, recover, and build long-term resilience to natural disasters. Whether you want to visit your local USDA service center or visit our new, we want to help you get what you need.”

New additions to the site are being built for farmers, by farmers include a portal for secure business transactions and a disaster assistance discovery tool. Read the full USDA release.

News for You

Ken Korth

Korth to Head Combined Entomology, Plant Pathology Departments

Ken Korth, a professor recognized as an outstanding mentor and researcher, has been appointed head of a new department at the University of Arkansas that combines the disciplines of Entomology and Plant Pathology. “I am excited by this opportunity to take on new challenges,” said Korth, who is a professor of Plant Pathology. “We have outstanding faculty and staff in both departments, working in extension, teaching and research. Read the full University of Arkansas article

Cooperative Extension NEDA and CES Annual Business Meeting graphic

The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) invites all Cooperative Extension Directors and Administrators from each institution that forms the Cooperative Extension Section to the 2018 National Extension Directors and Administrators and Cooperative Extension Section Annual Business Meeting Oct. 1-3 in Portland, Oregon. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Pioneering the Best Ideas and Methods for Leadership in Portland.” Don’t miss this once a year opportunity to participate in learning, networking, and capacity building opportunities. Learn more about the NEDA and CES annual business meeting

SARE logo

NCR-SARE Announces 2019 Youth Educator Sustainable Agriculture Grants Call for Proposals 

Youth Educator Grant projects provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about sustainable agriculture (farming and ranching that is ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible). Educators use the grants to encourage young people and their parents to try sustainable practices and see sustainable agriculture as a viable career option. The maximum amount for grants is $4,000, and a total of approximately $40,000 is available for this program. Learn more about the 2019 NCR-SARE Youth Educator Grant.

NCR-SARE Announces 2019 Call for Farmer Rancher Grant Proposals

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central Region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch. Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Learn more about the 2019 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant.

NCR-SARE Announces 2019 Call for Partnership Grant Proposals

NCR-SARE’s Partnership Grant program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Individual grants are limited to $40,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about 14 projects in the 12-state North Central Region. Learn more about the 2019 NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Program.

Award Notifications

NIFA Invests $11 Million towards Effective Mitigation Strategies for Anti-Microbial Resistance

NIFA recently awarded 10 integrated research, education, and extension grants that will lead to development of sustainable and integrated food safety systems that reduce health risks along the food chain from production to consumption. Among the projects funded, transdisciplinary teams of experts aim to use educational approaches to improve cattle health and reduce antibiotic use, employ non-antibiotic approaches to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in poultry, and assess and mitigate risk associated with antimicrobial resistance determinants in cattle feed-yard dust. The goal of this program is to empower transdisciplinary teams of experts, working with producers, to develop, refine, and disseminate practical science-based knowledge about food and agricultural management and production practices that can reduce or eliminate the threat and risk of antimicrobial resistance. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.