NIFA Update April 24

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                           April 24, 2019

Making a Difference

Bridge Building Challenge at the S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge. Photo courtesy of Clemson University Relations.

The Bridge Building Challenge at the S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge.

4-H Engineering Challenge Helps STEM Students Find Their Passions

Like many people, Jeffery Feaster once thought that 4-H was all about agriculture - sows, cows, and plows, so to speak - but soon after learning about the program during a tour of Clemson University as a 14-year-old, he realized it could also stoke his passion for math and science.

Now a senior at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro, Feaster came to the South Carolina 4-H Engineering Challenge at the State Fairgrounds on March 30 to share his story about how 4-H Youth Development allowed him to develop those skills. Read the full Clemson University article.

The Bridge Building Challenge at the S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge asks each team to design, construct, and test their bridge to determine which can support the greatest suspended mass. Photo courtesy of Clemson University Relations.


Nature’s color abounds in a forest on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Photo courtesy of USDA, Bob Nichols.

Ag Research Extends Beyond Crop Fields into Forests

The word “agriculture” does not usually come to mind when one thinks of forests, but perhaps it’s time that it should. “The forest products industry employs nearly 1 million people and contributes $254 billion to America’s economy through sales and payroll,” said Eric Norland, a national program leader at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In addition to the well-publicized environmental benefit trees have in mitigating the effects of climate change, forests are economically and socially important to individuals and communities. Trees also play an increasingly important role in sustainable energy, including fueling aircraft. Read the full USDA blog.

Nature’s color abounds in a forest on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Photo courtesy of USDA, Bob Nichols.

News for You

4-H Raise Your Hand graphic image.

Raise Your Hand

Only one in three kids say they have the skills to handle what life throws their way. If we don't give our kids the opportunity to succeed, we all fail. That's where 4-H comes in – programs that meet youth and families where they live, serve community needs and build critical life skills young people need to thrive.

To address this concern, National 4-H Council created the Raise Your Hand initiative – a nationwide call-to-action for 4-H alumni, supporters, and friends to vote for their state to win funding and help more kids in their community benefit from 4-H experiences. Learn more online at 4-H.

Prairie View A&M University’s students and faculty at the ARD Symposium.

PVAMU Students Reach Success at ARD Symposium

Prairie View A&M University’s (PVAMU) College of Agriculture and Human Sciences researchers, faculty members, and their students represented well at the 19th Biennial Association of 1890 Research Directors (ARD) Research Symposium. Faculty, staff, and students from the 19, 1890 land-grant universities shared research in more than 800 oral and poster presentations that focused on food safety and security, nutrition, public health, small farm production and marketing, natural resource stewardship, the bioeconomy, and job growth and economic health. Read the full PVAMU article.

USDA Messages

USDA Launches Ace the Waste! Food Waste Contest for Students

Food waste is a problem everyone can tackle, including our nation’s youth. As part of Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is launching Ace the Waste! A student competition for food waste reduction ideas. This first-ever competition calls on students to come up with creative solutions to reduce food loss and waste in the United States. Read the full USDA press release.

USDA logo symbol

Deadline Approaches: Submit Your Nomination for NAREEE Advisory Board 

USDA seeks qualified individuals for the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. The 15-member NAREEE Advisory Board reviews and makes recommendations on top priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension, and economics. Current open positions include: specialty crop committee, genetic resources advisory, citrus disease subcommittee, and NAREE advisory board. For more information visit the NAREEE Advisory Board website or the Federal Register Notice. To be considered, a complete AD-755, a resume or CV, and any letters of support must be submitted by April 26 to

Award Announcements

NIFA Invests Over $2 Million in Antimicrobial Resistance Research

NIFA recently announced five Antimicrobial Resistance awards that will lead to a better understanding of antimicrobial resistance in food and agricultural systems. This knowledge will identify opportunities and strategies to make agricultural antimicrobial resistance less persistent; identify innovative alternatives to control farm animal diseases, which could also affect humans; and help understand how drug resistance occurs. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

RFA Grant Announcements

Food Safety Outreach Program

The Food Safety Outreach Program complements and expands the national infrastructure of the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program. The Food Safety Outreach Program develops and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Grant applications will be solicited directly from those in local communities. Read the full Food Safety Outreach Program request for applications.