NIFA Update Feb. 28

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                            Feb. 28, 2019

Making a Difference

Rural landscape panoramic, image courtesy of Pixabay.

Rural landscape panoramic, image courtesy of Pixabay.

Opportunities in Agriculture

Austin Community College District's (ACC) Opportunities in Agriculture program developed an associate of science degree program in agriculture and an associate of applied sciences degree in sustainable agriculture to increase access to agricultural sciences careers for underrepresented students in central Texas. The project will support 48 students through enrollment in the new courses, 25 through scholarships, 15 through stipends, and an additional 50 students during the "Agricultural Career Day" to promote careers in agricultural science. Learn more about ACC’s Sustainable Agriculture program.

NIFA supports this project through the Hispanic Serving Institutions Grants Program, Grant No. 2017-38422-27109.


2018 Farm Bill graphic

2018 Farm Bill: Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) Eligibility Listening Session

Section 7102 of the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act amended the definition of “NLGCA Institution” and “non-land-grant college of agriculture” to mean a public college or university offering a baccalaureate or higher degree in the study of agricultural sciences, forestry, or both, which is any of the 32 specified areas of study. Additionally, Section 7102 established a process of review within 90 days of enactment of each NLGCA to ensure compliance with the revised definition and to propose revocation of the designated NLGCA for noncompliance.

This listening session, March 5, 2019 from 2 to 3 p.m. (EST), provides the opportunity for public comment on the process for determining if an institution is or is not eligible to be certified as a non-land-grant college of agriculture.

Join online:

The 2018 Farm Bill NLGCA Webex online, meeting number: 963 461 293. Click if you require closed captioning. Enter the event code 3941792 at the start of the webinar.

Join by phone:

  • Call-in toll-free number (ATT Audio Conference): 888-844-9904 (US/Canada)
  • Call-in number (ATT Audio Conference): 816-423-4261 (US/Canada)
  • Access Code: 928 107 9

Attend the listening session in person:

National Institute of Food and Agriculture
800 9th St. SW
Washington, DC 20024
Room 4103

**If you plan to attend in person, please let Ariela Zycherman know by noon on March 4. You must bring photo identification to enter the building.                        

News for You

Image of lemons, USDA photo by Sergio Pina.

When Life Gives You Sour Lemons, Use Genetics to Find Out Why

A team of researchers, including two from the University of California, Riverside, has identified the genes responsible for the hallmark sour taste of many citrus fruits. Published Feb. 25 in Nature Communications, the research could help plant breeders develop new, sweeter varieties. Modern citrus varieties have been bred over thousands of years to generate a broad palette of sour and sweet-tasting fruits. Analyses of their pulp reveals that a single chemical element—hydrogen—is largely responsible for the difference between sour and sweet-tasting varieties. Read the full NIFA blog article.

Image of lemons, USDA photo by Sergio Pina.

Earth and nature sustainability graphic, courtesy of Pixabay.

Harnessing Our Collective Energy to Address the Rising Tide

Are you working to tackle today's complex and seemingly intractable environmental challenges?  You are not alone. Let's collaborate to cultivate solutions. The National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit (NSS+NEES 2019) is a forum for connection and exchange at the nexus of science and stewardship. Join fellow extension agents, educators, researchers, students, community partners, and sustainability and energy leaders from across the United States. Learn the latest research, exchange innovative programming strategies, update or reinvigorate your educational toolbox, and cultivate new communities of practice around energy, water, food systems, land, climate, and community resilience. Learn more about the NSS+NEES summit.

Earth and nature sustainability graphic, courtesy of Pixabay.

Image of the International Space Station courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Flickr.

One Tiny Step for a Nematode, One Big Step Toward Sustainable Agriculture in Space

An exciting collaboration between USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Pheronym will send nematodes (small round worms) into space to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission represents a look into the future when food crops will be grown in space. The goal is to develop environmentally friendly methods for space travel that are not harmful to humans. This will be the first biological control experiment in space. The experiment will test the movement and infection behavior of beneficial nematodes. NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is funding the research. Read the full Phys.Org article.

Image of the International Space Station courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Flickr.

RFA Grant Announcements

Crop Protection and Pest Management

The Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPRM) program addresses high priority issues related to pests and their management using integrated pest management (IPM) approaches at the state, regional, and national levels. CPPM supports projects that ensure food security with comprehensive IPM approaches that are economically viable, ecologically prudent, and safe for human health. CPPM addresses IPM challenges for emerging issues and existing priority pest concerns more effectively with new and emerging technologies. CPPM outcomes are effective, affordable, and environmentally sound IPM practices and strategies to maintain agricultural productivity and healthy communities. Read the full CRPM request for applications.

Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas

This program promotes and strengthens the ability of insular area institutions to carry out teaching and education programs within a defined arena of food and agricultural sciences-related disciplines. Strengthening institutional educational capacities in instruction and curriculum will enhance the quality of teaching and learning, thereby helping the institutions meet their needs. Read the full Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas request for applications.