NIFA Update Aug. 29

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                          Aug. 29, 2018

Making a Difference

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New Development in Groundwater Monitoring


Researchers in the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center at Prairie View A&M University built an analytics tool to identify groundwater and associated climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation from historical to near real-time scale. This interactive web-based resource helps farmers, ranchers, water resources managers, and other stakeholders monitor groundwater levels and associated climatic variables in near real-time and aid in the overall decision-making process. NIFA supported this work with Evans-Allen 1890 Research Formula Program funds. Read the full Prairie View A&M story


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Seeking Stakeholder Input through NIFA Listens Initiative

NIFA is soliciting stakeholder input on the emerging needs and opportunities in food and agricultural sciences through the “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives,” initiative.

These listening sessions are your opportunity to provide feedback on these questions:

  • “In your field, what is the most-needed breakthrough in science/technology that would advance your agricultural enterprise?”
  •  “When considering all of agriculture, what is the greatest challenge that should be addressed through NIFA’s research, education, and extension programs?”
  • “What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?”


Last year, NIFA listening sessions focused on learning the top priorities NIFA should address in agricultural research, extension, and education and which science opportunities to focus on. Stakeholders provided feedback that demonstrates the interconnectedness of agricultural production, ecological, social, economic, and technical challenges that face agriculture and the interdependence between research, extension, and education. The information gathered helped NIFA to prioritize work within and across science emphasis areas, as well as identify gaps in programming. Read the full NIFA announcement

News for You

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EDEN Annual Meeting – Premier Event for Extension Professionals Focused on Disasters

EDEN's Annual Meeting takes place Oct. 16-19 in College Station, Texas. Kickoff the meeting with a tour exploring Texas A&M University. Stops include Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Disaster City where tragedy and training meet, the state-of-the-art Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, and the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing. This meeting will celebrate the 24th anniversary of EDEN and local Texas hosts are preparing to make this the most impactful meeting yet. Breakout sessions, panel discussions and keynote speakers will provide a glimpse into disaster programming throughout Extension. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in College Station! Learn more about the EDEN Annual Meeting

Award Notifications

NIFA invests $48 million in Specialty Crop Research

NIFA recently awarded 18 new Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grants to develop high-tech solutions that meet the needs of U.S. farmers and processors. SCRI supports the specialty crop industry by addressing problems in production, distribution, processing, and consumers markets. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. SCRI encourages collaboration and open communication that accelerates the application of scientific discovery and technology making U.S. producers more competitive in a global market.

NIFA Invests $3 Million towards Supporting Healthy Rural Communities

NIFA recently awarded nine Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive grants to address the needs of rural Americans through individual and family health education programs delivered through cooperative extension. For FY 18, these awards focus on the prevention and/or reduction of opioid misuse and abuse in rural areas. The projects represent a range of educational programs and approaches that focus on strengthening families, developing youth life skills, training health providers, supporting producer mental health, building community-capacity, and providing substance abuse education.

USDA SBIR Program awards $500,000 in Rural and Community Development Grants to Small Businesses

The USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, which is administered by NIFA recently awarded five grants to US small business to improve the quality of life in rural America. These projects will create and commercialize new and existing technology, products, processes, and services that will:

  • Enhance efficiency and equity of public and private investments;
  • Builds a diversified workforce;
  • Increases resilience to natural and human disasters; and
  • Improves economic vitality of rural communities and the reduction of poverty.