NIFA Update May 30

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                           May 30, 2019

Making a Difference

Satellite imagery could help wheat breeders find genes that maximize yield, fight stress, and disease. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Satellite imagery could help wheat breeders find genes that maximize yield. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Images from Space Could Help Farmers Grow Better Wheat

A team of researchers at Washington State University (WSU) is putting satellites and drones to work in the hunt for better wheat varieties to help feed a growing world more sustainably. WSU scientists launched a new project this spring, developing techniques that let satellites and flying drones identify and study wheat varieties from overhead. Their effort could speed up research into better, more productive wheat varieties, and could give growers powerful new tools to improve farming. NIFA funded this research through an Agriculture Research and Food Initiative grant. Read the full WSU Insider article.



NIFA Update for Stakeholders and Partners on Indirect Costs

At the FY 2019 National Extension and Research Administrative Officers’ Conference (NERAOC), NIFA provided information regarding the 30 percent indirect cost limit established by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (i.e., 2018 Farm Bill), (Pub. L. 115-334) for many of NIFA’s competitive programs (see NIFA’s Indirect Cost Chart for program applicability). Given the information provided, NERAOC participants requested that NIFA seek further clarification on the application of the new 30 percent indirect cost limit; NIFA committed to doing so and then providing updated and expanded guidance. NIFA received clarification and is pleased to report that for several scenarios, this clarification provides a less restrictive application of the indirect cost limit than what was originally described at NERAOC.

NIFA updated the previously published indirect cost calculation to provide further clarity and prepared Frequently Asked Questions that include scenarios in response to requests of NERAOC attendees. These resources are available on the NIFA Farm Bill webpage. Additionally, available is the 2018 Farm Bill Matching Requirements Frequently Asked Questions

NIFA values the partnership with stakeholders and partners, and the result of these interactions demonstrates the importance and benefit of that relationship.

News for You

University of Tennessee Extension graphic

Seven Habits for Effective Farmers Webinar Series

Direct farm marketers, value-added agriculture entrepreneurs, and agritourism operators are invited to participate in a free “lunch and learn” webinar series developed by the University of Tennessee (UT) Extension. The webinars are held the first Wednesday of each month from May through November noon to 1 p.m. EDT. The series will include discussions related to effective farm business management, marketing, and planning. A list pf topics and speakers is available on the UT website.

“All farmers want to succeed, and one path to success is identifying and developing the habits that can help us reach our goals,” says Iris Cui, coordinator for the webinar series and University of Tennessee Extension area farm management specialist. Read the full UT story.

The webinar series is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Southern Risk Management Education Center. This material is based upon work supported by NIFA under award number 2018-70027-28585.


Webinar graphic image from YouTube

AFRI Food Safety, Nutrition and Health Program Areas 

NIFA will hold a grantsmanship webinar June 11 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EDT to provide information on the AFRI Foundational Applied Science Food Safety, Nutrition and Health Program Area. Use the AFRI-FSNH webinar link to join. Consider viewing in groups as attendee slots are limited. The webinar will be recorded and posted to the NIFA website.

This webinar will provide an overview of:

  • Food Safety and Defense
  • Novel Foods and Innovative Manufacturing Technologies
  • Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases
  • Food and Human Health
  • Mitigating Antimicrobial Resistance across the Food Chain

Award Announcements

NIFA Invests $6.3 Million in Plant Physiology Research

NIFA recently announced 22 Plant Physiology Research awards that advances research to improve plant production, which is critical to the sustainability and competitiveness of United States agriculture. Future improvements to production systems require a better understanding of inter-related factors affecting agricultural plants and their resilience to climate variability, nutritional quality, and water-and nutrient-use efficiency. The Physiology of Agricultural Plants Program supports research that addresses these needs at the molecular, cellular, biochemical, and whole-organism levels. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.