NIFA Update - Dec. 14, 2022

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Editor: Maggie Lawrence                                                                          December 14, 2022

Making a Difference NIFA graphic icon.Close up on pumpkin in a pumpkin patch. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Close up of pumpkin in a pumpkin patch. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Building a Culture of Composting

Illinois grows more pumpkins than any other state, and University of Illinois Extension professionals are using the fall favorite to build awareness of the importance of composting in Cook County. Supported by NIFA, the Illinois Extension team is leading an effort to foster a culture of composting in the greater Chicago area.  Read more about their work here.

In Case You Missed It

Assortment of fresh healthy food, courtesy of Getty Images.

NIFA Nutrition Security Webinar: The Role of 1890 LGUs in Prioritizing Nutrition Security

In November, NIFA held the latest edition of its Nutrition Security Webinar Series. The event focused on the role of 1890 Land-grant Universities in prioritizing nutrition security. The session began with Acting NIFA Director Dr. Dionne Toombs providing an overview of the recent White House Conference for Hunger, Nutrition and Health and sharing how NIFA is working to implement the National Strategy with the goal of ending hunger, improving nutrition and physical activity, and reducing diet-related diseases and disparities. Dr. Manoharan Muthusamy provided an overview of the 1890 Centers of Excellence Program, followed by featured panelists highlighting work being done through the Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness and Quality of Life. Watch the recording.

Assortment of fresh healthy food, courtesy of Getty Images.

2023 National 4-H Conference Informational Webinar

Last week, NIFA’s Division of Youth and 4-H hosted an informational webinar about the 2023 National 4-H Conference. The event is scheduled for April 14–19, 2023, in person at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, and online. This webinar shares details about the event, including a preliminary look at the agenda, registration process, costs and more. Registration is scheduled to open January 11, 2023. View the recording.

Crop Protection and Pest Management RFA Technical Assistance Webinar

NIFA's Crop Protection and Pest Management program addresses high-priority issues related to pests and their management using integrated pest management approaches at the state, regional and national levels. In this recent webinar, NIFA staff provide technical assistance for the Crop Protection and Pest Management Request for Applications. Watch the recording.

Specialty Crop Research Initiative RFPA Technical Assistance Webinar

NIFA staff discuss the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Request for Pre-Applications (RFPA) requirements and provide technical assistance to applicants. The purpose of the SCRI program is to address critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and Extension that address key challenges of national, regional and multistate importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Watch the recording of the SCRI RFPA technical assistance webinar.

2022 Census of Agriculture graphic, courtesy of NASS.

2022 Census of Agriculture is Here!

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has mailed invitations to respond online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Starting December 13, NASS will mail paper questionnaires to all known agricultural producers. The deadline to respond is February 6, 2023.

Join NASS in encouraging producers to respond by amplifying NASS’ messages on social media and sharing census information with your field offices, partners and producers. NASS’ Partner Tools site has resources for outreach, including ads for newsletters, banners for web pages and email signatures, videos and web ads for social media, flyers for printing, posters and more.

2022 Census of Agriculture graphic, courtesy of NASS.

Upcoming Events

2023 Agriculture Outlook Forum graphic, courtesy of USDA.

Registration Now Open for 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum

USDA’s 99th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held in-person at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia on February 23 - 24, 2023, and all sessions will be livestreamed.

More than 30 sessions and 100 agriculture leaders and subject matter experts will discuss key issues impacting the sector. Learn more about the Forum and register here.

2023 Agriculture Outlook Forum graphic, courtesy of USDA.

Funding Announcements

NIFA Invests Nearly $28M to Establish Institute for Rural Partnerships

NIFA announced funding of nearly $28 million to establish Institutes for Rural Partnerships which will support research and outreach activities, including partnership development, that address the unique challenges facing rural communities. These efforts will lead to regional benefits that promote equitable, resilient, and prosperous food and agricultural systems; an equitable and competitive marketplace for all agricultural producers; and expanded opportunities for economic development and improved quality of life.   

Awardees: Auburn University, University of Vermont, and University of Wisconsin


NIFA Invests Additional $10M to Support Community Food Projects

NIFA announced an investment of nearly $10 million through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP). This funding, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, bolsters USDA’s food and nutrition security efforts by promoting the self-reliance of communities in providing for the unique food needs of their community members.  The funds will be invested in 29 Community Food Projects.  Read more here.

Application Deadlines

News From NIFA

A gloved chef cuts salmon fillets. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month

Each year, December is observed as Worldwide Food Service Safety Month. NIFA supports Extension program efforts nationwide that offer food safety certification through the ServSafe program. ServSafe is a nationally recognized food safety certification, and many states require at least one person to be certified in each licensed commercial operation. Read more here.

A gloved chef cuts salmon fillets. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.


Trophy image, courtesy of Adobe Stock

NIFA, APLU & Cooperative Extension Award Top Honors in Extension Excellence and Diversity

NIFA, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Cooperative Extension recently awarded the 2022 Top Honors in Extension Excellence and Diversity. NIFA, APLU and Cooperative Extension have sponsored the awards since 1991. Read more about the award winners here.

Trophy image, courtesy of Adobe Stock

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

NIFA Webinars

NIFA webinar graphic.


Food Safety Outreach Program FY 2023 RFA Technical Assistance Webinar

On December 19 at 3 p.m. EST, NIFA will host a technical assistance webinar to discuss the FY 2023 Request for Applications (RFA) for the Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program (FSOP). Webinar participants will learn the FSOP priorities and requirements and other essentials for applying to the program. Topics will include an overview of the FSOP; introduction of the new Technical Assistance – Grant Writing Skills Project program area; guidance on adhering to the RFA and the evaluation criteria; and grant writing fundamentals. Registration is required.

NIFA webinar graphic.

Methyl Bromide Transition RFA Technical Assistance Webinar

Join NIFA staff December 20 at 2 p.m. EST for a technical assistance webinar about the Methyl Bromide Transition (MBT) Program which addresses the immediate needs and the costs of transition that have resulted from the phase-out of the pesticide methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has been a pest and disease control tactic critical to pest management systems for decades for soilborne and postharvest pests. This program focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated Extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions.

Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS) Presentation

On January 23, 2023, at 1 p.m. EST, Dr. Pete Ziegler will discuss in this presentation the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS). FAEIS is a federally mandated survey that compiles nationwide higher education data for the life, food, veterinary, human, natural resource, and agricultural sciences. These data include student enrollment, degrees awarded, transfer, and placement at all degree levels by gender and race

Impact of NIFA-Funded Research and Outreach

Purdue researcher holds vials of nanocarrier treatments. Image courtesy of Purdue University

Purdue Ag Faculty Member Devising New Drug Delivery Tactic for Citrus Greening Disease

Purdue University researcher Kurt Ristroph is working to develop nanocarriers as an antibiotic delivery system to help plants fend off citrus greening disease. The bacteria that cause citrus greening live inside the trunks and roots of trees, attacking their vascular systems. Previous attempts to kill the bacteria with antibiotics have failed. Read more here.

Purdue researcher holds vials of nanocarrier treatments. Image courtesy of Purdue University.

Clemson researchers discuss the field design for growing cover crops. Image courtesy of Clemson University

Clemson University Researchers Look to the Past for Answers to the Present

Long ago, the Cherokee and Iroquois Indians discovered benefits of planting beans, corn and squash together to develop a central food system. Each crop offers something vital to the other two crops.  A Clemson University researcher, Sruthi Narayanan, is taking this idea of companion crop production and applying it to a study involving interseeding cover crops with organic corn, a cash crop. Learn more about the research funded by NIFA through the Sustainable Agriculture and Research and Education program.  

Clemson researchers discuss the field design for growing cover crops. Image courtesy of Clemson University.


Career Opportunities

NIFA career opportunities graphic.

NIFA has career opportunities in a variety of scientific disciplines covering engineering, food science, forestry, education, animal and crop sciences, and many other agriculture-related disciplines. NIFA job openings are listed on

NIFA career opportunities graphic.

USDA Internship Opportunities

Several paid internship opportunities are available with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

NIFA In the News

News from USDA

USDA graphic symbol.

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $981M to Expand Market Opportunities for Rural Businesses and Entrepreneurs

USDA has announced that the Department is investing $981 million to help create new and better market opportunities and expand essential services for rural people, businesses and entrepreneurs in 47 states, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The funding will help keep resources and wealth made by rural people right at home through affordable financing and technical assistance. Read more here.

USDA graphic symbol.

Visit USDA for additional USDA news.

Tweet of the Week

Tweet of the Week

Chickens are generally more susceptible to environmental stress and diseases. So, keeping chickens healthy can be a challenge. Read a few recommendations from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences on how to keep your backyard birds healthy.

Linked In Post of the Week

Linked In Post of the Week

To celebrate National Illinois Day on December 7, NIFA highlighted the innovative NIFA-funded research being conducted by the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station.  Read more: