NIFA Update March 7

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                          March 7, 2018

Making a Difference

Calhoun County agents consider safe routes to rescue livestock. Photo by MSU Extension Service.

Calhoun County agents consider safe routes to rescue livestock in flooded portions of the county. Photo by MSU Extension Service/Anne-Howard Hilbun-Benoit.

MSU Extension Assists with Disaster Responses

The tornado in Lowndes County and widespread flooding in north Mississippi have triggered a variety of helpful “boots on the ground” to provide needed care and guidance. When communities need help coping with a disaster, the Mississippi State University Extension Service is available in all 82 counties. Jane Parish, head of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said Extension agents are making agricultural disaster assessments and assisting with the Lowndes County volunteer reception center. MSU Extension received volunteer and donations management training through a grant from NIFA, in conjunction with the Extension Disaster Education Network. Read the full Mississippi State University Extension story.


Dr. J. Scott Angle

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the new Plan of Work (POW), known as the Institutional Profile, was released in the fall of 2018, delivering on the first phase of the 2015 Plan of Work Panel of Experts recommendations to consolidate POW into the REEport system. We sincerely appreciate the System’s input and support in addressing these recommendations.

I want to update you on a few things regarding this new system. First, NIFA is extending the 2020 Plan of Work reporting deadline from April 1, to June 1. This new deadline is necessary to allow for needed updates to the system that will provide more comprehensive functionality. This deadline will allow users time to successfully complete the report. NIFA is planning a system update that will enable the land-grant university (LGU) user community to manage their roles in the new Institutional Profile. Another new feature will enable the alignment between NIFA’s Science Emphasis Areas with state-defined critical issues that are required in the 2020 POW report. These enhancements are essential to support the 2020 POW reporting process beginning this year.

As we move forward with the new POW system, the development, enhancement, and implementation of several reports and key features will result in the integration of Plan of Work with the REEport information collection. The goal of this integration is to better help "tell the story" of how the LGU partners and NIFA are working together to advance agricultural research and extension across the nation. By continuing to work with our LGU partners, NIFA is striving to achieve innovative solutions for meeting the legislative requirements of the Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Reform Act, improve data quality, and lessen reporting burden.

J. Scott Angle
NIFA Director

Rural Veterinarian Getty Images.

VMLRP Update 

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) team is happy to announce that the 2019 Request for Applications has been posted. Applicants will choose from a pool of 190 Shortages in 44 states, the highest number of states in the program's history. Information on the application process can be found on the NIFA website.

NIFA is hosting a webinar for applicants March 13 at 8 a.m. (ET). If there is additional interest among applicants, we may host another Q&A webinar before the application deadline of April 12. Feel free to distribute this as needed. For additional questions email

Rural Veterinarian, photo courtesy of Getty Images.

News for You

4-H Emblem

Little Girls Survive 44 hours in a California Forest Thanks to 4-H Training

Two little girls who went missing for 44 hours in rugged Humboldt County, California terrain survived by drinking water from huckleberry leaves and huddling under bushes to stay dry in near-freezing temperatures, authorities said. The girls were stranded in a forest anchored by giant redwood and Douglas fir trees, lush with manzanita, and hilly terrain dampened by creeks and streams made swollen from the recent rainstorms. The girls were able to survive without injury thanks to wilderness survival training they received from 4-H. Read the full San Francisco Chronicle article.

RFA Grant Announcements

Methyl Bromide Transition Program

The methyl bromide transition program (MBT) addresses the immediate needs and the costs of transition that have resulted from the phase-out of the pesticide methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has been a pest and disease control tactic critical to pest management systems for decades for soilborne and postharvest pests. MBT focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. Projects should cover a broad range of new methodologies, technologies, systems, and strategies for controlling economically important pests for which methyl bromide has been the only effective pest control option. Research projects must address commodities with critical issues and include a focused economic analysis of the cost of implementing the transition on a commercial scale. Read the full MBT request for applications.

Signals in the Soil (SitS)

NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, is partnering with four directorates of the National Science Foundation and four research councils within the United Kingdom Research and Innovation in a new Request for Applications for convergent, interdisciplinary research that transforms existing capabilities in understanding dynamic, near-surface soil processes through advances in sensor systems and modeling. This program fosters collaboration among the partner agencies and the researchers they support by combining resources and funding for the most innovative and high-impact projects that address their respective missions. Read the full SitS request for applications.