NIFA Update - Nov. 2, 2022

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Editor:  Lori Tyler Gula, Ph.D.                                                                   November 2, 2022

Making a Difference NIFA graphic icon.Research scientist Dan Villamor courtesy of University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Fred Miller.

Research scientist Dan Villamor sets up samples in the centrifuge in the Arkansas Clean Plant Center for Berries. The center moved into new and updated facilities in October 2022, courtesy of University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Fred Miller.

National Clean Plant Center for Berries Expands Capabilities with New Home

The Arkansas Clean Plant Center for Berries at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station has moved into a renovated laboratory, expanding its capability to assure that nurseries and growers have plants free of harmful pathogens. The Arkansas Clean Plant Center for Berries is one of four regional centers in the National Clean Plant Network that are dedicated to berries. The network is funded by the USDA under three branches — the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service and NIFA.

From the Director

Upcoming Events

NIFA 2023 National 4-H Conference Save the Date graphic.

National 4-H Conference Information Session

Join USDA NIFA for a virtual information session December 4 at 4 p.m. EST to learn more about the 2023 National 4-H Conference, being held in April 2023, including the registration process, schedule and key events, chaperone roles and travel logistics. For more information about National 4-H Conference, visit our website. Registration is required. Register Now.

NIFA 2023 National 4-H Conference Save the Date graphic.

In Case You Missed It

Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant College of Agriculture Program webinar

Award Announcements

NIFA Invests $1.8M in Pest Management Alternatives

NIFA has invested $1.8 million in four projects as part of the Methyl Bromide Transition Program. The program supports the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives for commodities and uses affected by the phase-out of methyl bromide (MB), an ozone layer-depleting gas that was previously used for pest control. The pressure to completely phase-out MB has created an urgent need for new economical and effective pest control tactics to control soil-borne and postharvest pests, and pests in the processing and shipping industries.

FY 22 Awardees: Oregon State University, University of Florida (two awards) and Virginia Tech University.

NIFA Invests $895K in Rapid Response to Extreme Weather Events Across the U.S.

NIFA has invested $895,000 in three projects as part of the Rapid Response to Extreme Weather Events Across the U.S. Program, which is designed to rapidly deploy strategies and fill knowledge and information gaps to protect the nation’s food and agricultural supply chains — from production through consumption — during and after extreme weather and disasters. Funded projects through the program related to extreme floods, drought and wildfire smoke.

FY 2022/2023 Awardees: Louisiana State University, University of Idaho and University of Kentucky Research Foundation.

Application Deadlines

November 3: AFRI Center of Excellence for Meat and Poultry Processing and Food Safety Research and Innovation 

November 14: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Regional Host Institution Funding Opportunity

November 15: From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals Program (NEXTGEN)

December 8: Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program

NIFA Webinars

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FY23 FASLP RFA Webinar

Join staff members with the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP) for a webinar November 15 at 12:30 p.m. EST for applicants interested in applying to the FASLP competitive program. The webinar will focus on the FASLP Request for Applications (RFA) and general program guidelines for the FY 2023.

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AFRI Food and Agriculture Non-formal Education Webinar

  • Join NIFA staff for an information webinar November 29 at 4 p.m. EST regarding the AFRI Food and Agriculture Non-formal Education program. This program area priority will support content development and activities for non-formal education to foster development of technology-savvy youths. Projects must develop activities that cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and in food and agricultural sciences supported by the six Farm Bill Priority areas of AFRI. Data science, including artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics as well as gene editing, and biotechnology will be supported in this program area priority.

Go online to see more NIFA webinars.

News From USDA

Native American Heritage Month NIFA graphic.

Celebrating The Three Sisters

November is Native American Heritage Month, and USDA has chosen “Three Sisters: The Intersection of Indigenous and Western Knowledge” for its theme.  Adapted from the named intercropping method of planting corn, beans, and squash developed as an indigenous agricultural practice, the three sisters theme represents a continuous cycle in which each generation is responsible for caring for one another and leaving a better world for the next.

Agencies across USDA are taking steps to incorporate and better support indigenous knowledge in meaningful ways. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture started encouraging indigenous traditional ecological knowledge in many of the agency’s Requests for Applications as a strategy to increase applications benefiting tribal communities.

NIFA funds programs that promote learning, opportunity and health in tribal communities through numerous grant and Extension programs. Learn more about NIFA’s tribal support here.

Corn, beans, and squash have been planted by traditional Native American gardeners in many different regions of North America. A form of companion planting, the intercropping of these three plants protect and nourish each other in different ways as they grow and provide a solid diet for their cultivators. The beans provide nitrogen for the soil, including for the corn which is a nitrogen intensive plant, and the broad squash leaves reduce the pest and weed population-decreasing the need for pesticides and herbicides.

To learn more about growing the Three Sisters together in your vegetable garden, visit these Extension resources.

Native American Heritage Month NIFA graphic.

Read More
Impacts of NIFA-funded research and Extension programs on our blogs page.

Impact of NIFA-Funded Research and Outreach

Researchers from the UGA Bee Lab study hives, courtesy of UGA’s Keith Delaplane.

CAES Partners with Dalan Animal Health to Advance World's First Honey Bee Vaccine

Vaccines are a proven benefit in the world of animal science. People have vaccinated both pets and livestock for decades. Soon beekeepers may be able to protect their colonies through vaccination. With support from NIFA, the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Dalan Animal Health have teamed up to advance the world’s first honey bee vaccine.

Researchers from the UGA Bee Lab study hives, courtesy of UGA’s Keith Delaplane.

Crew members monitor a prescribed fire at the Arboretum at Penn State, courtesy of The Arboretum at Penn State.

Prescribed Fire Could Reduce Tick Populations and Pathogen Transmission

Prescribed fire — a tool increasingly used by forest managers and landowners to combat invasive species, improve wildlife habitat and restore ecosystem health — also could play a role in reducing the abundance of ticks and the transmission of disease pathogens they carry, according to a team of scientists from Penn State, the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in West Virginia, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Crew members monitor a prescribed fire at the Arboretum at Penn State,
courtesy of The Arboretum at Penn State.

Five different fields of crop, illustrating a complex crop rotation, courtesy of UNH.

Droughts Are a New Reality for New England. Diverse Crop Rotations Can Help.

When it comes to crop rotations, complexity is key to boosting levels of nitrogen—a soil nutrient that is critical to crop production. However, new research from an international group of scientists—among them NH Agricultural Experiment Station scientist Stuart Grandy at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) —shows that complex crop rotations can benefit levels of nitrogen even during droughts, when application of nitrogen fertilizers can be less effective.

Five different fields of crop, illustrating a complex crop rotation, courtesy of UNH.

NIFA in the News

News from USDA

Biden-Harris Administration Provides $759 Million to Bring High-Speed Internet Access to Communities Across Rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the department is providing $759 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working across 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

USDA Opens Registration for the 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum

USDA announced that registration is now open for the 99th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), USDA’s largest and premier annual event. The two-day event will be held in-person at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott on February 23-24, and all sessions will be livestreamed on a virtual platform.

Visit USDA for additional USDA news.

2022 Census of Agriculture graphic.

Census of Agriculture Coming In November

Check your mailbox. USDA will mail the 2022 Census of Agriculture to millions of agriculture producers across the United States and Puerto Rico this fall. Changes to the 2022 questionnaire include new questions about the use of precision agriculture, hemp production, hair sheep and updates to internet access questions.

2022 Census of Agriculture graphic.

Tweet of the Week

Tweet of the Week – Nov. 2 2022 – UF pumpkin facts

DYK that most pumpkin varieties need about 3½ to 4 months to mature? The pumpkins you carve for Halloween were most likely were most likely planted no later than early July. Check out more pumpkins facts from the University of Florida IFAS.

LinkedIn Post of the Week

Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The pandemic upended the #food and #beverage industries in ways that are just coming to light. In response, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded a three-year grant to Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) to bring free food-safety and business development training to #entrepreneurs and #manufacturers in minority and underserved communities in metro Atlanta, Middle and South Georgia, and Puerto Rico.

As part of this initiative, GaMEP is partnering with Fort Valley State University, Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension (PRiMEX), and the Georgia MBDA Business Center to rebuild the critical networks of the largest industry in Georgia and train food industry entrepreneurs in food safety practices and regulations.