NIFA Announces $4.3 Million for Higher Education Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 20 grants totaling $4.3 million to help higher education institutions teach the next generation of food and agricultural science professionals. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program.

“NIFA invests in the development of future agricultural professionals,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA helps advance education of our nation’s agricultural workforce at our public and private colleges and universities.”

The Higher Education Challenge Grants Program supports colleges and universities in their efforts to educate the next generation of the food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce. The program seeks to improve formal, baccalaureate or master’s degree level food, agricultural, natural resources, and human sciences (FANH) education and first professional degree-level education in veterinary medicine (DVM). HEC projects may improve the economic health and viability of communities through the development of degree programs that emphasize new and emerging employment opportunities. Projects may also address the national challenge to increase the number and diversity of students entering the FANH sciences.

FY 16 grants being announced and project details can be found at the NIFA website.

Among the grants, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University project will create a Sustainability Scholars Program to build and increase the institutional capacity for recruiting and retaining underserved populations into food, agricultural, natural resources, and human (FANH) sciences programs. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln project will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of a 24-month sustained professional development program for postsecondary FANH sciences faculty.

Since FY 2009, NIFA has awarded more than $38 million through the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program. Previously funded projects include a Oklahoma State University project that will improve baccalaureate degree completion in the states of Oklahoma and Kansas by delivering an online degree in the food and agricultural sciences in partnership with three regional two-year colleges. A State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry project is developing a new graduate program that integrates indigenous and scientific knowledge on environmental sustainability. As a result, the program seeks to offer transformational approaches to mentoring, training, and supporting the next generation of Native American environmental professionals entering the FANH sciences workforce.

New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week

How can growers help bees and ensure they get reliable pollination for their crops? That question is being addressed by the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, which is celebrating National Pollinator Week, June 19-25, by highlighting new training videos, crop pollination fact sheets and series of recorded webinars that are available for farmers.

The Integrated Crop Pollination Project aims to improve the sustainability of specialty crop pollination across the U.S. The project is a partnership of 15 different institutions working to identify how best to achieve effective and economical crop pollination.

During spring 2017, the project team developed six webinars on crop pollination. These cover almond, apple, blueberry, cherry, pumpkin, and watermelon pollination issues, and they are all available to watch here.

The project is increasingly focused on getting the research delivered to farmers across the country.

“This team has conducted research from California to Pennsylvania in a wide array of crops and we are now translating our research results into guidelines,” says Rufus Isaacs, Project Director of the Integrated Crop Pollination Project and MSU Professor in the Department of Entomology. “With so much concern about pollinator health, we hope these resources can help farmers do their part to enhance bees on their farms and to also enhance their crop’s pollination.”

So far, the Integrated Crop Pollination Project team has trained more than 20,500 stakeholders in specialty crop pollination techniques via in-person workshops and presentations.

In addition to these resources, the Integrated Crop Pollination team has developed the groundwork for an online Pollination Mapper system.

“Pollination Mapper will provide insights and guidance to specialty crop growers as they make decisions about how best to pollinate their crops by harnessing the results of our research combined with modern online computing power,” says Isaacs. “We look forward to rolling that out in the future.

NIFA Seeking Nominations for Partnership Awards

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (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 was established in 2007.

NIFA invites all Land-Grant Universities and cooperating institutions and organizations supported by NIFA to submit nominations for the 2017 NIFA Partnership Awards Program. This program recognizes outstanding contributions, aligned with NIFA strategic goals, in support of the USDA mission. Awards for this year will recognize excellence in:

• Mission Integration of Research, Education, and Extension
• Multistate Efforts
• Innovative Programs and Projects
• Effective and Efficient Use of Resources
• Program Improvement through Global Engagement

Nominations can be submitted for individuals or teams of up to 20 members. Each institution may submit up to two nominations (combined total across all categories), meaning the entire institution including research, education, and extension functions.

Specific instructions and other information regarding this awards program are in the 2017 NIFA Partnership Awards Criteria. Nominations must be submitted via the NIFA Partnership Awards Nomination Form located on the NIFA web site. All signed nomination forms must be submitted by July 31, 2017, via email using scanned files that have been saved as .pdf or .jpg files to according to instructions in the Awards Criteria.

Winning nominations will be recognized at the NIFA Day of Appreciation scheduled for October 2017. NIFA will pay travel expenses for one person from each winning nomination, whether it is an individual or team award.

Nominations should include only individuals or teams who have performed truly distinguished service. NIFA asks that Deans, Directors, and Administrators thoroughly review each submission for validity of accomplishments before signing his or her approval on the nomination form.

New Funding Opportunities From the USDA

National Training and Development Initiative for Foster/Adoptive Parents (HHS). Department of Health and Human Services announces funds to develop a state-of-the-art foster/adoptive parent training program to include intensive preparation and development components that reflect the capacities required of successful foster/adoptive parents. Deadline: July 10, 2017.

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative – Specialized Supportive Services (HHS). Department of Health and Human Services announces funds to support programs designed to fill gaps in established dementia-capable home and community-based service systems (HCBS) for persons living with or those at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and their caregivers by providing quality, person-centered services that help them remain independent and safe in their communities. Deadline: July 14, 2017

Engagement and Older Adults Resource Center (HHS). Department of Health and Human Services announces funds to support organizations that will enhance the social engagement of older adults to identify successful programs and strategies that can be shared with the aging network. Deadline: July 17,2017

New Innovations in Nutrition Programs and Services Grant Opportunity to Promote the Quality and Effectiveness of Nutrition Service Programs. The Administration on Aging (AoA), part of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), announces a new grant opportunity to increase the evidenced based knowledge base of nutrition providers, drive improved health outcomes for program recipients by promoting higher service quality, and increase program efficiency through innovative nutrition service delivery models. Deadline: August 7, 2017.

Elder Justice Innovation Grants (HHS). Department of Health and Human Services announces funds to support successful approaches to reduce and ameliorate the harm elders experience as a result of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, and to better understand what adult protective service practices produce the best outcomes. Deadline: August 14, 2017

Reminder: IPM Achievement Awards Nominations Deadline is June 30

Don’t miss your chance to make a nomination for the IPM Achievement Awards. Deadline is June 30, 2017. These awards recognize practitioners, groups, and students who have made outstanding achievements in IPM adoption, implementation, and program maintenance.

There are four award categories:
• Lifetime Achievement
• IPM Practitioner
• IPM Team/Group
• Graduate Student (New this year!)
Consider nominating someone today!

The Awards will be presented at a special ceremony during the 9th International IPM Symposium March 19-22, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland.

To apply or learn about the specific criteria for each award, visit our webpage at

In addition to the current Qualtrics Survey, we have also established a Google Form. Please attempt to complete one of these online applications. If you still are having trouble completing the online application process, contact Michelle Marquart, Symposium Coordinator, at for an alternative fillable PDF form.

For more information, contact Janet Hurley or Shaku Nair, Co-Chairs, International IPM Symposium Awards Committee.

Contact Michelle Marquart, Symposium Coordinator, to learn more about attending, exhibiting at or contributing to the Symposium..