NIFA Update Feb. 5, 2020

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                            Feb. 5, 2020

Making a Difference

Tomato plant affected by bacterial canker. Image courtesy of Cornell University.

Wild Tomatoes Resist Devastating Bacterial Canker

Many New York tomato growers are familiar with the scourge of bacterial canker – the wilted leaves and blistered fruit that can spoil an entire season’s planting. For those whose livelihoods depend on tomatoes, this pathogen – Clavibacter michiganensis – is economically devastating. The pathogen causes wounding and is spread by wind-blown rain; if one tomato gets infected, it can spread from plant to plant.

In a new paper, Cornell researchers showed that wild tomato varieties are less affected by bacterial canker than traditionally cultivated varieties. This work was supported be funding from NIFA. Read the full Cornell University article.

Tomato plant affected by bacterial canker. Image courtesy of Cornell University

Angle's Update

J Scott Angle, NIFA Director

NIFA recognizes there are many outstanding contributions that our partners in the Land-grant Universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations have achieved. To recognize these achievements, the Partnership Awards Program along with the NIFA Hall of Fame Awards was established. These award programs recognize outstanding contributions, in support of our mission, and aligned with the USDA Strategic Goals. We invite all Land-grant Universities and cooperating institutions and organizations supported by NIFA to submit nominations for the NIFA Partnership Awards and NIFA Hall of Fame Awards.  


NIFA Hall of Fame award

Don't Forget NIFA Awards Nominations Due

NIFA Partnership Awards Program 

Nomination forms must be submitted by Feb. 12. Specific instructions and other information regarding this awards program are in the 2020 NIFA Partnership Awards Criteria. Nominations must be submitted via the NIFA Partnership Awards Nomination Form.

Hall of Fame Awards

The NIFA Hall of Fame Nomination Form and NIFA Hall of Fame background and criteria are located on the NIFA website. Nominations must be emailed to Kimberly Whittet no later than Feb. 12.  

USDA Message

USDA Radio graphic

Annie's Project - Enabling Women Ag Operators

Created as both a tribute to a mother, and a resource to educate and empower women agricultural operators, "Annie's Project" has grown over the years to encompass many states and provide women farmers and ranchers the skills they need to succeed. Rod Bain looks at "Annie's Project" in this edition of "Agriculture USA". Listen to the full USDA broadcast.   

News for You

NASA plans to grow food on future spacecraft and on other planets as a food supplement for astronauts.

NASA Early Career Faculty Solicitation Seeks Proposals to Address the Topic of Advanced Plant / Food Production Technologies for Space

NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program has released its Early Career Faculty (ECF) solicitation, which requests proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of their outstanding new faculty members seeking to pursue innovative, early-stage space technology research in a topic area specifically requested in the solicitation. The solicitation topic of Advanced Plant / Food Production Technologies for Space seeks proposals to advance technologies for plant and food production for human spaceflight that address the development and genetic engineering of crops with a high harvest index as well as cutting-edge technologies to enhance and monitor plant growth for long-duration exploration missions. Only accredited U.S. universities are eligible to submit proposals on behalf of an untenured Assistant Professor on the tenure track at the sponsoring U.S. university. A single, eligible Principal Investigator must lead the proposed research; resultant grant awards are up to 3 years in duration and $600K in total value. To learn more read the ECF Solicitation

NASA plans to grow food on future spacecraft and on other planets as a food supplement for astronauts. Fresh food, such as vegetables, provide essential vitamins and nutrients that will help enable sustainable deep space pioneering. Image courtesy of NASA.

Listening Session

Webinar image courtesy of YouTube

New Beginning for Tribal Students Program

NIFA is excited to implement the New Beginning for Tribal Students competitive grants program, as per the 2018 Farm Bill and the FY 2020 Further Consolidation Appropriations Act. This program will help increase Tribal students attendance at 1994’s, 1862’s, and 1890’s institutions. Increasing graduation rates and student enrollment by creating an inviting space for Tribal students to be successful. At this listening session, NIFA will gather information on what our partners and stakeholders think this Request For Application should contain.

The listening session will be held on Feb 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET). Contact Erin Riley if you have any questions. Join into the listening session online.

Meeting number: 966 104 794
Join by phone call-in number: 1-816-4234261 (US) 
Toll-free number: 1-888-8449904 (US) 
Access Code: 421 323 3 

Press Clips

Bay Mills Community College student Alyssa McGlinch is placing her sample in the Direct Mercury Analyzer.

Grant Provides Students with Unique Lab Experience

Thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, students at Bay Mills Community College will be able to get hands-on experience with a high-tech mercury analyzer while working in the classroom. The Direct Mercury Analyzer will allow students to collect their own samples to check for mercury concentration, process them, and evaluate the data. The college is working with Bay Mills Biological Services, which allows students to evaluate the mercury levels of fish from the local area. Bay Mills Community College is one of NIFA’s 1994 institutions. Read the full Sault News article.

Bay Mills Community College student Alyssa McGlinch is placing her sample in the Direct Mercury Analyzer.  

Image of lemons courtesy of the USDA. 

Dog Sleuths Sniff Out Crop Disease

Dog detectives might be able to help save ailing citrus groves; research published Monday suggests. Scientists trained dogs to sniff out a crop disease called citrus greening that has hit orange, lemon and grapefruit orchards in Florida, California, and Texas. The dogs can detect it weeks to years before it shows up on tree leaves and roots. Dog sleuths are also faster, cheaper and more accurate than people collecting hundreds of leaves for lab analysis. Read the full PBS News Hour article.

Image of lemons courtesy of the USDA.