Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program for organic production standards. To view more information on grant cycle and due dates, click here.

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USDA Announces Receipt of 136 Expressions of Interest in Hosting ERS & NIFA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has received 136 expressions of interest from parties in 35 states interested in becoming the new homes of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In August, Perdue announced that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside the National Capital Region by the end of 2019 and invited interested parties to submit proposals, with a deadline which had been extended to October 15, 2018. USDA intends to select the new location or locations by January 2019 and will retain a consultant with expertise in relocations.

“The interest from across the country has been overwhelming as localities, universities, private entities, and elected officials realize the potential for their communities in become the new home for these two agencies,” Perdue said. “It is an old saying that not all wisdom resides in Washington, D.C., but it is gratifying to see so many folks step forward wanting to prove that to be the case. We look forward to working with Ernst & Young in examining all of the proposals and selecting the new locations.”

States represented in the expressions of interest are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The entities expressing interest in hosting ERS and NIFA include educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, state development agencies, county development agencies, municipalities, and for-profit entities. USDA has also received letters of support from a number of governors, members of Congress, farm-related organizations, and state and local officials. It is possible that ERS and NIFA will be co-located when their new homes are found. A yet-to-be-determined amount of staff from the two agencies will remain in the National Capital Region.

To view the whole article and see the locations, click here.

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Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project #4 (IR-4) Grant Open

The purpose of the IR-4 program is to enable the crop protection industry to provide safe, effective, and economical crop protection products for growers and consumers of minor/specialty crops. The crop protection industry cannot justify the costs associated with the research and development, registration, production, and marketing of crop protection products for minor/specialty crops due to the smaller market base and limited sales potential. The IR-4 program provides the assistance needed to ensure that new and more effective crop protection products are developed and made available to minor/specialty crop producers. These efforts require effective collaborations among federal agencies, the crop protection industry, and land-grant colleges and universities.

Who is eligible to apply: 

Applications may only be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, land-grant colleges and universities, research foundations established by land-grant colleges and universities, colleges and universities receiving funds under the Act of October 10, 1962 (16 U.S.C. 582a et seq.), and accredited schools or colleges of veterinary medicine for the purpose of facilitating or expanding ongoing state-federal food and agricultural research programs (Competitive, Special and Facilities Research Grant Act of August 4, 1965 [7 U.S.C. 450i(c)(1)(B)]). Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Request for Applications

Apply for Grant

Posted Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Closing Dates: Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Funding Opportunity Number: USDA-NIFA-SRGP-006701

Estimated Total Program Funding: $11,000,000

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PhD position desired for Invasive Plant Science Lab at Utah State University

The Invasive Plant Science Lab at Utah State University (https://www.invasiveplantslab.com/) seeks to fill a fully funded PhD position to work on a recently awarded grant to improve our understanding of the effects of drought-tolerant (DT) plant hybrids and efficient irrigation systems for water-challenged cropping systems on plant-pest (arthropod and weeds) interactions to develop and optimize sustainable and multidisciplinary integrated pest management. Specifically, we propose to test the effects of DT corn hybrids exposed to water-stressed conditions on the outbreak of spider mites and competitive interactions with weeds. Water-efficient irrigation systems are being increasingly adopted by corn producers to meet the demands of limited water resources and maintaining a healthy crop. Therefore, we also propose to evaluate how changes in irrigation practices impact the interactions among DT corn, spider mites, and shared weed hosts. Our novel approach will improve our ability to predict pest pressures (outbreaks or competition) utilizing water-conservation management strategies (DT plant hybrids and irrigation practices) and develop new pest management strategies in a water-stressed cropping environment.

The PhD student will conduct research on the weed science (i.e., plant competition) component of this study and work with researchers, a postdoc, and summer undergraduate students in the Departments of Plants, Soils, & Climate and Biology. The successful candidate is expected to associate with faculty in the College of Agricultural and Applied Sciences to gain broad experiences in entomology, plant physiology, entomology, hydrology, and weed science. Candidates should have an MS degree in plant ecology, weed ecology, agroecology or agronomy, plant physiology (or a closely related field); the ability to communicate effectively both in writing and orally; laboratory or field research experience; and a willingness to work in inclement weather including extreme heat. Ideal candidates will have strong quantitative and statistical skills and a demonstrated ability to perform independent field research.

The position will start in late spring 2019 (start date negotiable), and interested candidates should apply no later than April 1, 2019. To apply, submit (1) a cover letter describing experience and interests, (2) CV, (3) transcripts, (4) GRE and TOEFL (if required) scores, and (5) contact information for three professional references to: steve.young@usu.edu

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Crop Protection and Pest Management RFA Open

The Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) program RFA, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is now open.

The purpose of the CPPM program is to address high priority issues related to pests and their management using IPM approaches at the state, regional and national levels. The CPPM program supports projects that will ensure food security and respond effectively to other major societal pest management challenges with comprehensive IPM approaches that are economically viable, ecologically prudent, and safe for human health. The CPPM program addresses IPM challenges for emerging issues and existing priority pest concerns that can be addressed more effectively with new and emerging technologies. The outcomes of the CPPM program are effective, affordable, and environmentally sound IPM practices and strategies needed to maintain agricultural productivity and healthy communities.

The grant window closes on April 16, 2019.

To view the RFA or to apply, please click here.

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Farmer and Grower economic input desired for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Northeastern IPM Center is seeking assistance nationwide to help contribute to a project on the economic impacts of brown marmorated sting bug.

A nationwide survey is currently underway to gather information from farmers and growers on the economic impact of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) on agriculture. The objective of the survey is to better provide you with the help you need in managing this pest. We’d like to find out when BMSB became a problem for you, where you currently get information on how to control them, how much damage you have suffered, your use of and interest in various management practices, and your feelings about biological control methods and their potential for your operation. The results of the survey will be used by Extension programs across the United States to fine tune management advice for the BMSB and help prioritize research and outreach activities.

If you’d like to participate, the survey should take you about 20–25 minutes to complete. Your individual survey responses will be confidential and the data collected will only be reported in summaries. Your participation is voluntary and you can decide not to answer a given question if you choose.

Link to the online survey:
https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_09tpBgDGchNpXPD

If you have any questions about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Management Survey for Commercial Producers, please contact Jayson Harper by e-mail at jkh4@psu.edu or call (814) 863-8638.

 

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Sustainable Food Group Manager Position

Management position available in Madison, Wisconsin with a rapidly growing independent non-profit organization working to improve sustainability in agriculture and communities through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and other best practices. Primary responsibilities are to provide leadership and oversight of the organization’s Sustainable Food Group programs. Our team helps food companies, supply chains, certification programs and others generate and communicate credible, science-based
improvements in sustainability outcomes, including through grower support. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated passion for food and agriculture and management experience in sustainable agriculture.

The successful candidate will report to the IPM Institute director and manage relationships with project partners including developing and meet timelines and budgets. The candidate will manage our Sustainable Food Group team to ensure operational excellence and growth in impacts. This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced professional with a deep understanding of agriculture to generate positive impacts. Strong leadership skills and a proven track record of establishing and building productive relationships are essential.

Experience and Qualifications:
 Demonstrated passion for food, agriculture and sustainability.
 Demonstrated ability to identify and overcome challenges, work creatively to set strategies and achieve objectives.
 Excellent communication, interpersonal, networking, advocacy, and strategic and decision-making skills.
 Highly motivated and self-directed.
 Successful track record managing impactful projects, including setting and meeting budgets, managing staff and client relationships.
 Bachelor’s Degree (Masters Degree preferred) in biological sciences related field with management-level experience or above.
 Multiple years of experience in agriculture and/or food industry.

Salary and Benefits:
 We offer a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package.
Application Process:
 Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, references and salary history to info@ipminstitute.org.
 Position will remain posted until filled.
 We will not contact references without prior approval. All applications will be held in
confidence.
 Position available immediately.

About us:
The IPM Institute was formed in 1998 to leverage marketplace power to improve health and environment through Integrated Pest Management and other best practices. Our team currently includes 20 motivated individuals working on more than a dozen major projects. Clients and funders include USDA, US EPA, Lamb Weston, McCain Foods, Simplot, Sysco, General Mills and others. Major projects include the Sustainable Food Group, Potato Sustainability Initiative, Sysco Sustainable/IPM Initiative, Green Shield Certified and IPM STAR, Tick IPM Working Group and others.

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Important Notice to NIFA’s Stakeholder Community

NIFA is back and open for business! We thank you for your patience during the lapse in appropriations. It has not been easy for our grantees, but we are committed to resuming normal operations as soon as possible. Thank you also for your strong support for our employees. They are truly dedicated to you, and while we are operating under a three-week continuing resolution, we will work hard to get back to business as usual.

First, we will prioritize items and start with the matters needing the most attention, including the processing of the backlog of awards and payments, rescheduling canceled peer review panels, processing no-cost extensions and other grant actions, responding to ASAP and other grant and program inquiries, and reopening requests for applications (RFAs) that were open during the lapse. The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants and the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program RFAs will be reposted and extended for seven business days from the date of re-publication. The Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program (BRAG) RFA deadline of February 20, 2019, will be extended seven additional business days. Please sign up for NIFA updates on RFAs at https://www.nifa.usda.gov to be notified when these RFA’s are reposted. Additionally, in coordination with Sec. Sonny Perdue and his staff, we’ll start working on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill.

Thank you, again. We appreciate your continuing support. If you haven’t already signed up for our weekly stakeholder update, sign up for updates here (link is external).

Dr. J. Scott Angle
NIFA Director

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

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NIFA Career Opportunities

Director of Communications
NIFA is recruiting for the position of Director of Communications. This is a crucial leadership position for NIFA. The position is posted on USA Jobs under two announcement numbers. NIFA-M19Y-0534 is open to current permanent federal employees with competitive status. NIFA-S19Y-0533 is open to all U.S. citizens. All applications must be received by Feb. 5, 2019.

Please note that this vacancy was previously announced in December and the closing date was impacted by the Government shutdown. The vacancy has been re-announced and is open for five business days. All applicants who previously applied must resubmit their application to the new vacancy announcement in order to be considered. If you have any questions, please contact HR Specialist Jensen Dobbins at 703-259-9463.

Planning and Accountability Officer
NIFA is recruiting for the position of the Planning and Accountability Officer. This is a crucial leadership position for NIFA. The position is posted on USA Jobs. Job announcement NIFA-M19Y-0531 is open to current permanent federal employees with competitive status and NIFA-S19Y-0532 is open to all U.S. citizens. All applications must be received by Feb. 5, 2019.

Please note that this vacancy was previously announced in December and the closing date was impacted by the Government shutdown. The vacancy has been re-announced and is open for five business days. All applicants who previously applied must resubmit their application to the new vacancy announcement in order to be considered. If you have any questions, please contact HR Specialist Frederick Kirby at 703-259-9350.

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Corn Growth and Development-University of Nebraska, CropWatch

Corn ear issues that affronted Nebraska in 2016 still plague some farmers, reducing productivity and causing us, as researchers, to continue to ponder possible causes.

In July 2016, ear formation issues in the state were reported in several corn fields ranging from the Texas Panhandle to eastern Colorado and through Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. Nebraska’s reports ranged from Dawson to Saunders counties and south to Kansas with numerous reports in Clay and Thayer counties. A CropWatch article was released to raise awareness of these issues (Elmore et al., 2016). In 2017, a follow up article was released in the Crop Production Clinic Proceedings (McMechan et al., 2017). Our current article summarizes what we’ve learned to  date.

To review the full article from University of Nebraska’s CropWatch, click here.

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