NIFA Update

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                           June 5, 2019

Making a Difference

NMSU Assistant Professor Rajan Ghimire

NMSU Assistant Professor Rajan Ghimire.

NMSU Researchers Test New Water Conservation Practices 

When New Mexico State University (NMSU) Researcher Dr. Sangu Angadi, was traveling to his science center office in Clovis, New Mexico, one spring day, he was engulfed in a prairie dust from a windstorm. Angadi, a crop scientist, had a pretty good idea of the source of the dust - dried fallow fields that had turned to powder over the winter. What he learned later would spur him into seeking new solutions to this decades-long challenge.

The dust storm consequences heightened Angadi’s level of urgency to study new ways for efficient water use. Angadi had an idea that was simple yet innovative: Why not create special, non-irrigated “circular buffer strips” within the irrigated fields in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas with center-pivot irrigation? Reduced water availability in recent years had caused many farmers to irrigate only two-thirds of their fields, with a third left fallow an ideal opportunity for the buffer strip project. Read the full NMSU article.

NIFA funds this research through an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant.

NMSU Assistant Professor Rajan Ghimire and his team are studying how cover crops, crop rotation and diversification, and biomass can increase efficiency of water use. Photo courtesy of NMSU by Darrell J. Pehr.



Seeking Nominations for the 2019 William Henry Hatch Lecture

NIFA and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) are seeking nominations for the prestigious Hatch Lecture. We are seeking an insightful topic and a dynamic speaker who can provoke discussion among meeting participants. The speech will highlight the APLU Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, Nov. 10-12. Centered on the theme of "In Service," the meeting’s sessions will examine how public universities can better serve their students, communities, and country at a time when their work is more essential than ever. Recommendations should include the name of the nominee, title, organization, address, email address, and discussion topic. Please submit your potential topic and presenter to Kimberly Whittet by July 15. 

News for You

Wildfire image courtesy of Shutterstock/Christian Roberts-Olsen.

Managing for Disturbance Stabilizes Forest Carbon

Forest ecosystems sequester approximately 12 percent of anthropogenic carbon emissions, and efforts to increase forest carbon uptake are central to climate change mitigation policy. Managing forests to store carbon has focused on increasing forested area, decreasing area lost to logging and clearing, and increasing forest carbon density. Warming, drought, and wildfires challenge the stability of carbon stored in forests. By contrast, natural cycles of low-intensity fires in dry forests can, over the long term, promote forest carbon storage by protecting carbon in soil and in large, old trees. The conundrum is how to balance immediate, disturbance-driven carbon loss with long-term, stable carbon storage and account for these risks. Read the full Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article.

This article is from the interagency program on carbon cycle science on forest carbon and forest management. NIFA supported this research through the Climate Land Use Change and the Soil Carbon Cycle Grant 2017-67004-26486.

Wildfire image courtesy of Shutterstock/Christian Roberts-Olsen.

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Midwest Flooding Resources and Information

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has resources for families, homeowners, businesses, and agriculture. Learn more by visiting UNL Flood Resources page. There may be additional government resources to help you recover at

Learn about warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress related to floods and other disasters by visiting's Floods page.


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Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding Under the AFRRI Competitive Grants Program

The Federal Register on June 5 published a notice entitled "Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program.”

NIFA is soliciting topics commodity board entities (federal and state-level commodity boards, as defined below) are willing to co-fund equally with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program Requests for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the established priority areas of AFRI. Commodity boards may submit topics at any time; however, all topics received by 5 p.m. EDT on Aug. 5, will be considered for fiscal year 2020 AFRI RFAs. Read the full Federal Register notice.