CSREES-USDA Update to NC-1014_ Oct

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                                         Report to ESCOP
                                         February 22, 20101

GENERAL NIFA GRANT INFORMATION                                              2

        NIFA Grants Through Grants.Gov                                      2

CURRENT NIFA GRANT OPPORTUNITIES                                            2
    Current Grant Opportunities                                             2
    AFRI--March                                                             2

NIFA—RESPONSE TO FARM BILL PROVISIONS                                       3

BUDGET MATTERS                                                              5

        FY2011 Budget Proposal                                              5

STAFFING NEWS                                                               7

PEER REVIEW AND GRANTS PANELS                                               8

POLICY AND PLANNING INFORMATION                                             8

1. Franklin E. Boteler, Deputy Administrator NIFA. fboteler@NIFA.usda.gov
        (202) 720-5305
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▪All NIFA Grants Through Grants.Gov.
Grants.gov <http://www.grants.gov/> is the source to find and apply for Federal government
grants. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) uses Grants.gov to post NIFA
discretionary funding opportunities and, in some cases, other NIFA funding opportunities, and
receive electronic applications. Applicants are advised to submit early.

For information on currently open NIFA grant opportunities go to
▪Major Programs Currently Open:
      Beginning Farmer and Rancher
         Open Date: 02/05/2010
         Due Date: 04/06/2010

      Biotechnology Risk Assessment
         Open Date: 02/02/2010
         Due Date: 03/17/2010

      Crops At Risk
         Open Date: 01/21/2010
         Due Date: 03/22/2010

      Methyl Bromide Transitions
       Open Date: 01/21/2010
       Due Date: 03/22/2010

      IPM: Risk Avoidance and Mitigation
        Open Date: 01/21/2010
        Due Date: 03/22/2010

▪NIFA Plans to Release Agriculture and Food Research Initiative RFA in March
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) expects to release its request for applications
(RFA) for the 2010 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in March 2010.

AFRI will support work in the following priority areas: plant health and production and plant products;
animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy,
natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and
rural communities. Programs focused on these areas will use a disciplinary-based approach to building a
foundation of knowledge critical for solving current and future problems.

Within these priority areas, AFRI will support interdisciplinary, multi-functional projects in five “societal
challenge” areas to achieve significant and measurable outcomes and achieving goals. The five goals in-

    1. Keep American agriculture competitive while ending world hunger
    2. Improve nutrition and end child obesity
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    3. Improve food safety for all Americans
    4. Secure America’s energy future through renewable biofuels
    5. Mitigate and adapt agriculture to variations in climate

NIFA will issue a series of RFAs to address these program areas. Grants in 2010 will be larger in size
with funding up to $25 million and longer in duration with five year grants awarded that are eligible, in
some cases, for renewal upon achieving specific goals. NIFA expects such grants will lead to greater col-
laboration among institutions and organizations and will integrate basic and applied research with delibe-
rate education or extension programs.

In addition, up to $5 million in funding opportunities for pre- and postdoctoral fellowship grants will be
offered. This program area will create a cadre of "NIFA Fellows" poised to become the next generation
of agricultural scientists, educators and practitioners.

All RFAs will be available on NIFA’s Web site and on Grants.gov. Some program areas require letters of
intent, which will be requested no sooner than three weeks after the RFA’s release. Submission of full
proposals to those program areas will be no sooner than six weeks after the letter of intent deadline, with
deadline dates determined based on proposal complexity. Applicants will be allowed a minimum of 90
days to prepare proposals for large, complex projects. For program areas that do not require letters of
intent, proposal submission deadlines will be no sooner than four weeks after the RFA’s release and will
be determined with consideration of application complexity.
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3. NIFA—Response to Farm Bill Provisions
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Creation of the Office of the Chief Scientist
       Roger Beachy, Acting Chief Scientist.
       Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Director of the Office of Chief Scientist.
       Jill Auburn, Agricultural Economics, Communities, and Sustainability.
       Molly Kretsch, Food Safety and Health; Steve Shafer, Agricultural Systems and Tech
       Jeff Steiner, Renewable Energy and Environment.

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▪Rajiv Shah, former REE Undersecretary, Confirmed as Director USAID

▪Roger Beachy Director, NIFA
   Acting Chief Scientists

▪Molly Jahn, Deputy Under Secretary
Molly Jahn was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for research, Education and Economics at
USDA on November 9, 2009. Jahn most recently served as Dean of the College of Agricultural
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and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the Wisconsin Agri-
cultural Experiment Station after establishing a highly recognized research career as a plant
breeder and geneticist at Cornell University.

During Jahn's tenure at UW Madison, extramural funding in the college nearly doubled, 70 new
faculty were hired and funding for several major facilities was secured including the Wisconsin
Energy Institute for sustainable and renewable energy research. Her efforts were instrumental in
securing and funding the $140M DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center with a major re-
search thrust on sustainability of biofuels, and in launching the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative.

Dr. Jahn's research has focused on the genetics, genomics and breeding of crop plants, releasing
more than two dozen varieties currently grown commercially on six continents including an All
America Selection Gold Medal winner. She founded the Public Seed Initiative in 2001 and later
the Organic Seed Partnership with major funding from the USDA as outreach activities that have
engaged hundreds of farmers in participatory plant breeding and germplasm conservation activi-
ties across the US. She has also worked extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America to link
crop breeding objectives to improvement in human nutrition and income, and has held leadership
roles in major international agricultural projects. Her innovative approaches to inter-sector part-
nerships, engagement with emerging institutions and integrated research and extension projects
focused on impact and technology transfer have been the focus of published studies by econo-
mists and sociologists. She has numerous publications, lectureships, and awards for her research,
teaching and extension including Dairy Communicator of the Year in 2008 and the Award of
Excellence from the American Society for Horticultural Science in 2009, and has served on nu-
merous boards, panels and national committees including the Plant Cell Editorial Board and the
Executive Committee, Capsicum and Cucurbitaceae USDA Crop Germplasm Committees,
World Dairy Expo, The World Vegetable Center-AVRDC, and 10 years as a founding member
of the Collaborative Crops Research Program of the McKnight Foundation. She has consulted
widely in the private sector, and has served as an advisor for venture capital and other invest-
ment interests in the life sciences and agriculture.

She holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Genetics and Agronomy. Dr. Jahn re-
ceived her BA with Distinction from Swarthmore College, holds graduate degrees from Cornell
and MIT and was named a AAAS Fellow in 2006.

The integrity of competitive programs depends upon the fairness and scientific skill of peer
reviewers and panelists from universities, government, and profit and non-profit organiza-
tions. Faculty are encouraged to participate in this process as peer reviewers or as panel
members. Involvement in panels increases a participant’s knowledge of agency programs
and processes, encourages collaboration between parties, and advances research, education,
and extension in agriculture. To be considered, please send an e-mail to newreview-

▪New Biology Report:
A recent report from the National Research Council entitled "A New Biology for the 21st Cen-
tury: Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution" is gaining a lot of atten-
tion from NIFA leadership.
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▪Biomass Crop Assistance Program

Release No. 0046.10
                                                                     Kent Politsch 202-720-7163

 Biomass Crop Assistance Program to Spur Production of Renewable Energy, Job Crea-
            USDA Farm Service Agency Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule

WASHINGTON, February 3, 2010 – As President Obama announced earlier today, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture today issued a proposed rule for the new Biomass Crop Assistance
Program (BCAP) that intends to spur the expansion of dedicated non-food crops for renewable
energy and biofuel production. A public comment period will continue for 60 days after the
rule is published in the Federal Register.

"Advancing biomass and biofuel production holds the potential to create green jobs, which is
one of the many ways the Obama Administration is working to rebuild and revitalize rural
America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Facilities that produce renewable fuel
from biomass have to be designed, built and operated. Additionally, BCAP will stimulate bio-
mass production and that will benefit producers and provide the materials necessary to generate
clean energy and reduce carbon pollution."

Authorized in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, BCAP is designed to ensure
that a sufficiently large base of new, non-food, non-feed biomass crops is established in antici-
pation of future demand for renewable energy consumption. BCAP is intended to reduce the
financial risk for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners by providing incentive payments to
those who invest in the production, harvest, storage and transportation of new first-generation
energy crops that displace hydrocarbon-based materials now used for heat, power and vehicle

On May 5, 2009, President Obama issued a Presidential Directive to accelerate the investment
in and production of biofuels. On June 11, 2009, a notice of funds availability (NOFA) was
published for certain portions of BCAP, and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) issued the
first payment in August 2009. Early program beneficiaries to date include a Vermont school
that will replace 100 percent of its fossil fuel consumption with biomass, a start-up pellet com-
pany that uses locally-grown agriculture residues from Iowa farms and a rural electric coopera-
tive that displaces fossil fuels with woodchips to generate low-cost electricity in northeastern

BCAP is authorized to fund two main types of activities. First, it provides funding for agricul-
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ture and forest land owners and operators to receive matching payments for eligible biomass
materials sold to qualified biomass conversion facilities for the production of heat, power, bio-
based products or advanced biofuels. The payment rate is intended to assist producers with the
cost of collection, harvest, storage and transportation of the biomass to the facility, for up to
two years. This is the part of the program covered by President Obama's Presidential Directive.

Additionally, BCAP will provide funding for producers of eligible renewable crops within a
select geographical area to receive payments up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing the
crop and annual payments for up to 15 years for crop production.

Other proposed notable goals of BCAP include improvements in forest health by removing un-
economical forest thinning, reducing the risk of disease, invasive species and forest fires and
providing new options for improving air quality by avoiding open-air burning of scrap bio-

A copy of the proposed rule is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap. Comments on the
proposed rule are invited and may be submitted to:

Email: cepdmail@wdc.usda.gov
Fax: 202-720-4619
Mail: Director, CEPD
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-0513

Comments are also accepted through the Federal e-rulemaking portal at
http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

To learn more about the BCAP program, please contact your local county Farm Service Agen-
cy office or www.fsa.usda.gov . To read more about the President's announcement go to:
with-governors-energy-policy . A press release is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-

# USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrim-
ination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW,
Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).