NIFA Update - Dec. 19, 2019

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                          Dec. 19, 2019

Making a Difference

Image of a Camelina Field courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Image of a Camelina Field courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Grant to Support Development of Bio-Jet Fuel Processing Technology

A newly awarded grant from NIFA aims to expand the use of oilseeds and other vegetable oil crops in renewable jet fuel manufacturing. The grant supports collaborative research by Washington State University chemical engineer Hongfei Lin and University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) plant scientist Ed Cahoon. Bio-based jet fuel is one of the fastest growing markets for liquid fuels in the renewable energy sector. Lin and Cahoon are teaming to develop new bio-based jet fuel manufacturing technology and crop feedstocks with vegetable oil compositions tailored for this technology. Read the Full UNL news article.


Angle's Update

J. Scott Angle, NIFA Director

Thank you for your partnership in 2019. NIFA has and continues to undergo several important changes and we appreciate your support. We are rebuilding the organization that will be responsive to the needs of our stakeholders and partners – which after all is who we work for. Happy Holidays to you and yours!


USDA symbol

USDA Offers Tribal Students Career-Track Scholarships in Agriculture

The USDA recently announced the opening of the 2020 scholarship application cycle for the USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program. The program aims to increase the number of tribal college and university students studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and other agriculture-related disciplines. The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program was established in 2008 in partnership with the 1994 institutions, tribally controlled colleges, and universities with land-grant status. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and workforce training to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines. Read the full USDA press release.

Michigan Technological University logo


One of our partner forestry programs and recipient of M-S funds, Michigan Technological University, has achieved COLLEGE status with their School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and is now the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Read the full Michigan Tech update.

Stay connected with NIFA

Here are a few ways to stay informed with NIFA:  Programs: • NIFA Search for Funding Opportunities: • NIFA Grants (information for awardees): • NIFA Data Gateway: • Sign up for Weekly Updates:

News for You

Evan Rocheford NutraMaize image

NutraMaize Recognized by Forbes

NutraMaize is commercializing a more nutritious variety of non-GMO orange corn developed by Purdue University Professor Torbert Rocheford and NutraMaize cofounder as part of an ongoing effort to help alleviate severe vitamin A deficiencies in sub-Saharan Africa. His son, Evan Rocheford and NutraMaize cofounder, is now commercializing the product as nutrient-dense grits in the United States, and eventually as a poultry feed ingredient in specialty markets which is the focus of the NIFA SBIR funded work. Forbes recently named Evan Rocheford to the Forbes 30 under 30 Food & Drink list for 2020.

US Department of State study abroad logo

U. S. Department of State Study Abroad Opportunities

USA Study Study Abroad Grants Competition

The Capacity Building Program for Study Abroad, also known as the IDEAS Program (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) will award approximately 21 grants of up to $35,000 each to U.S. colleges and universities for projects that create, increase, or diversify study abroad programming for U.S. undergraduate students. Learn more about the IDEAS program online.

Fulbright’s UK Summer Institute at Aberystwyth University, Wales.

This funded three-week cultural and academic program for current U.S. undergraduates focuses on contemporary issues in farming and agriculture. Based in Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, the program looks at land use and agricultural production systems focusing on livestock agriculture, arable land use, and conservation issues. Learn more out more Summer Institute at Aberystwyth University online.

Fulbright Commission in Uruguay

A three-month fully funded opportunity for U.S. students pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees in viticulture, viniculture, agriculture or related fields. This fully-funded program will support two U.S. students for research and internships with National Institute of Agricultural Research, focused on the wine industry in Uruguay. Learn more Fulbright Commission in Uruguay online.

Funding Opportunity

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. Photo of woman feeding calf links to BFRDP request for application webpage. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)

Beginning farmer education for adult and young audiences in the United States can generally be traced back to the advent of the 1862 and 1890 Morrill Land-Grant Acts. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 appropriated $75 million for FY 2009 - FY 2012 to develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill) reauthorized the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and provides mandatory funds to support education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers. The funding is $15 million a year for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019 and 2020, $17.5 million for FY 2021, $20 million for FY 2022, and $25 million for FY2023. Learn more read the full BFRDP funding opportunity.

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program. Photo courtesy of Getty images.

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program (WAMS)

WAMS supports research, education/teaching, and extension projects that increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). NIFA intends this program to address educational needs within broadly defined areas of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human (FANH) sciences. Applications recommended for funding must highlight and emphasize the development of a competent and qualified workforce in the FAHN sciences. WAMS-funded projects improve the economic health and viability of rural communities by developing research and extension initiatives that focus on new and emerging employment opportunities in STEM occupations. Read the full WAMS funding opportunity.

Image collage of lab flask, farmer with children, small hog, and fuel pumps; photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational and Applied Science

The AFRI Foundational and Applied Science (FAS) Request for Applications (RFA) supports grants in six Farm Bill priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research, Extension and Integrated Research, Education and/or Extension projects are solicited in this FY 2020 RFA. Project types and deadlines vary by program area priority. The RFA also includes eight specific priorities for co-funding with the American Pulse Association, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, The Cotton Board, Kansas Wheat Commission, The National Honey Board, and USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. Read the full FAS request for applications.

Happy Holidays

NIFA Update will be going on holiday hiatus after this issue. We will return in the new year, on Jan. 8, 2020. Everyone at NIFA wishes you all the best holiday season ever and a productive year to come.