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Science Policy Report

Address all comments to the Science Policy Office at:
sciencepolicy@sciencesocieties.org

Note: Due to the August recess there will be no SPR on August 12 or 26. The next SPR will be posted on September 9.

Thank you, The Science Policy Office team.

15 February 2012

In This Issue:

International Corner

~ New Norman Borlaug Field Award
~ Germplasm Resources Information Network-Global (GRIN-Global)
~ The implementation of the Soil Thematic Strategy

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

~ Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes Program
~ Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)
~ Connecticut Conservation Innovation Grant
~ Michigan Conservation Innovation Grants
~ FY12 Region 6 Wetland Program Development
~ USAID’s Agro-Inputs Project in Bangladesh
~ Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
~ 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building
~ San Francisco Bay Area Water Quality Improvement
~ FY12 Region 7 Wetland Program Development
~ South Carolina Conservation Innovation Grants

Conferences, Meetings and Reports

~ Call for entries: ASA, CSSA, & SSSA Awards and Scholarships
~ Changing Farm Structure, Distribution of Farm Payments
~ Herbicide-Resistant Weeds
~ Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011
~ North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
~ Nominations sought to serve on Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee

Congressional/Administration News

~ Obama Rolls out $3.8 Trillion 2013 budget: good news for science

International Corner


(TOP) ~ New Norman Borlaug Field Award

Nominations for this award, which is endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, are invited now through June 30, via the following online nomination form www.worldfoodprize.org/borlaugfieldaward. The $10,000 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, will be presented every October in Des Moines, Iowa, by the World Food Prize Foundation. This award will recognize exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40 who has clearly demonstrated intellectual courage, stamina, and determination in the fight to eliminate global hunger and poverty. The award will honor an individual who is working closely and directly “in the field” or at the production or processing level with farmers, animal herders, fishers or others in rural communities, in any discipline or enterprise across the entire food production, processing, and distribution chain. To nominate a deserving individual, please visit this form. Nominations are due June 30, 2012.


(TOP) ~ Germplasm Resources Information Network-Global (GRIN-Global)

Germplasm Resources Information Network-Global (GRIN-Global), an Internet-based information management system for the world's plant genebanks, has been launched by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in partnership with Bioversity International and the Global Crop Diversity Trust – Genebanks support agricultural productivity and global food security goals by ensuring access to plant genetic resources in the face of daunting challenges such as crop diseases and pests, an expanding human population, environmental deterioration, and changing climates. Gene banks also safeguard genetic resources and biodiversity that help provide farmers with access to new, more productive varieties of crops and animals. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is an independent international organization whose mission is to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. Bioversity International is the world's largest international research organization dedicated solely to the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity. View details on the Germplasm Resources Information Network-Global (GRIN-Global) project


(TOP) ~ The implementation of the Soil Thematic Strategy

On 13 Feb the European Commission adopted a report on 'The implementation of the Soil Thematic Strategy and ongoing activities', COM(2012) 46. This report is supported by a JRC reference report on 'The State of Soil in Europe', EUR 25186 EN. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "These reports highlight the importance of preserving European soils if we are to safeguard supplies of quality food and clean groundwater, healthy recreational spaces, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. We need to use the resources from our soils more sustainably. The best way to do this would be through a common approach across the EU. The Commission has put legislative proposals on the table, and I hope our new reports will help Council and Parliament move towards action." A press release is available here 

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities


(TOP) ~ Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes Program

The Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes (PASI) Program is a jointly supported initiative between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes are short courses ranging in length from ten to twenty-one days, involving lectures, demonstrations, research seminars, and discussions at the advanced graduate, post-doctoral, and junior faculty level. PASIs aim to disseminate advanced scientific and engineering knowledge and stimulate training and cooperation among researchers of the Americas in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, the geosciences, the computer and information sciences, and the engineering fields. Proposals in other areas funded by NSF may be considered on an ad hoc basis as long as they are multidisciplinary; in this case, lead investigators must consult with the PASI Program before proposal submission. Deadline 24 Apr. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) seeks proposals under authority of the National Defense Education Act (1959) and under the Pre-Engineering Program (PEP) to stimulate young pupils in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  Deadline 15 May. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ Connecticut Conservation Innovation Grant

NRCS Connecticut requests applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies on agricultural lands. Applications will be accepted from any eligible entity within the 50 States, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and the Pacific Basin Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) for projects within the state of Connecticut. For fiscal year 2012, up to $192,000 may be available for the Connecticut statewide CIG competition. NRCS will reserve the right to offer more or less funding at the discretion of the State Conservationist. Deadline 30 Mar. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ Michigan Conservation Innovation Grants

The Michigan Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture, is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications are accepted from Michigan only. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2012 will be approximately $225,000.00. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ FY12 Region 6 Wetland Program Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants to build or refine State/Tribal/local government wetland programs as described in Section I, FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION, of this announcement. States, Tribes, local government agencies, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia are eligible to apply under this announcement, as further described herein. Universities that are agencies of a state government are eligible, but must include documentation demonstrating that they are chartered as part of a state government in the proposal submission. Non-profit organizations are not eligible to compete under this RFP. Deadline 23 Mar. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ USAID’s Agro-Inputs Project in Bangladesh

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bangladesh is issuing this Request for Applications (RFA) for a five-year Cooperative Agreement titled USAID’s Agro-Inputs Project in Bangladesh to stimulate agricultural development to increase production and productivity, to reduce rural poverty and to improve food security in the southern delta of Bangladesh. The project will achieve this goal by directly supporting private sector activities that result in the improved availability, quality and safe usage of agricultural inputs, such as: fertilizer, seed, pesticides which improve yields, mitigate environmental degradation at the farm level and improve product quality and export opportunities. Additionally, this project will provide enhanced access to and knowledge of agricultural inputs so that both male and female farmers can become educated consumers and can purchase appropriate quality inputs from trusted supply sources. Deadline 20. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program

FSMIP provides matching funds on a competitive basis to assist eligible entities explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. marketing system. FSMIP funds a wide range of applied research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. food and agricultural products domestically and internationally. Proposals may address issues throughout the marketing chain including direct, wholesale, and retail. Proposals may involve small, medium or large-scale agricultural entities but should potentially benefit multiple producers or agribusinesses. Proposals that address issues of importance at the State, multi-state, or national level are appropriate for FSMIP. Proprietary proposals that benefit one business or individual will not be considered for funding. Deadline 23 Mar. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building

The 1890 CBG is intended to strengthen teaching, research and extension programs in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, and Tuskegee University. The CBG program supports projects that strengthen teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences in the need areas of curriculum design and materials development, faculty development, and others. CBG supports projects that strengthen research and extension programs in need areas of studies and experimentation, extension program development support systems, and others. The CBG also support integrated project grants. The intent of this initiative is to increase and strengthen food and agriculture sciences at the 1890s through integration of education, research and extension. Deadline 27 Mar. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ San Francisco Bay Area Water Quality Improvement

EPA has been administering the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund (SFBWQIF), a competitive grant program for the protection and restoration of San Francisco Bay watersheds, since 2008. To date, EPA has awarded over $22 million in ten grants supporting 38 projects, matching and leveraging over $40 million, and involving 53 partners. Information on these awards is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/watershed/sfbaywqfund/index.html.In February 2012, EPA will issue two solicitations for the SFBWQIF. Under this Request for Initial Proposals (RFIP), EPA is soliciting proposals with remaining fiscal year 2011 funding of approximately $1 million. Deadline 16 Mar. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ FY12 Region 7 Wetland Program Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants to build or refine State/Tribal/local government wetland programs as described in Section I, FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION, of this announcement. States, Tribes, local government agencies, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia are eligible to apply under this announcement, as further described herein. Universities that are agencies of a state government are eligible, but must include documentation demonstrating that they are chartered as part of a state government in the proposal submission. Non-profit organizations are not eligible to compete under this RFP.  Deadline 12 Apr. Read full announcement here


(TOP) ~ South Carolina Conservation Innovation Grants

The SC Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture, is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications are accepted from all South Carolina conservation partners, county conservation districts, and individuals. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Funds will be awarded through a one-phase statewide competitive grants process that will include a full proposal process. This notice identifies the objectives, eligibility criteria, and application instructions for CIG projects. Deadline 6 Apr. Read full announcement here

Conferences, Meetings and Reports


(TOP) ~ Call for entries: ASA, CSSA, & SSSA Awards and Scholarships

The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America are accepting nominations for 2012 Awards, which honor researchers, educators, professionals, and students. Nominate someone for one of the dozens of awards (scholarships allow for self-nominations). Deadlines: March 21 to initiate online nominations and March 28 for reference letters and final submission. www.agronomy.org/awards, www.crops.org/awards, and www.soils.org/awards


(TOP) ~ Changing Farm Structure, Distribution of Farm Payments

“Changing Farm Structure, Distribution of Farm Payments and Federal Crop Insurance" is the title of a report released by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) which found that the distribution of commodity-related payments and Federal crop insurance indemnities to U.S. farmers has shifted to larger farms as more and more U.S. agricultural production is done on those farms. Since the operators of larger farms tend to have higher household incomes than other farm operators, commodity-related program payments and Federal crop insurance indemnities also have shifted to higher income households. Current payment limits and income eligibility caps affect few recipients and only a small share of total payments. Several of the recent proposals to lower payment limits or income eligibility caps would still only affect a few recipients. Payment limits do not apply to Federal crop insurance indemnities or premium subsidies. Read report summary here


(TOP) ~ Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) will co-sponsor the "National Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds" for May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC - A Steering Committee of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies is organizing the open national summit of weed scientists, agronomists, and ecologists, along with representatives of federal and state research and regulatory agencies, the crop protection industry, and agricultural producers, to consider a coordinated strategy for managing herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds in the United States. The summit will use the findings and recommendations of the 2010 NRC report on The Impact of Genetically-Engineered Crops on Farm-level Sustainability in the United States and the conclusions of a Weed Science Society Association white paper (expected in 2011) to focus the summit discussions on best management practices to avoid, mitigate, and control the evolution and proliferation of herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds. The committee will develop the agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Read summit details here


(TOP) ~ Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011

"Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011" is the title of a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech\\ Applications (ISAAA) which notes that global adoption of biotech crop technology continues at unprecedented rates. During 2011, an additional 12 million hectares were planted representing an annual growth rate of 8 percent over 2010. Read full report here


(TOP) ~ North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

 (NCR-SARE) is seeking nominees for four seats on its Administrative Council (AC) as follows: *Producer representative; * Nonprofit organization representatives (two slots, one a 2 year term and one a 4 year term); and *Representative of a minority-serving college or university (1890 or 1994 institution). *Should be actively engaged in farming or ranching in one of the twelve North Central** states. **Council members must be from one of the 12 states that comprise the North Central SARE region. Those states are IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI. The term for each of these SARE Administrative Council slots is normally four years (an exception is being made for one of the two nonprofit slots listed above due to the need for a staggered rotation of nonprofit representatives). Council members attend two meetings a year, typically 3-day meetings in July and Feb./March at various Midwest locations (first meeting for newly elected Council members will be July 24-26, 2012, in Madison, WI). Travel expenses are fully covered for travel to AC meetings, and farmers/ranchers receive a modest daily honorarium. Nominees should have a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture and be comfortable with reviewing grant proposals and participating in a group decision-making process. Deadline 29 Feb. More information about NCR-SARE and the AC


(TOP) ~ Nominations sought to serve on Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee

The FRRCC addresses specific topics of relevance to agriculture as identified by the Agricultural Counselor to the Administrator, and reports its policy advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator through the Agricultural Counselor. Deadline 15 Mar. Read EPA Federal Register Notice

Congressional/Administration News


(TOP) ~ Obama Rolls out $3.8 Trillion 2013 budget: good news for science

President Obama’s budget blueprint included strong funding for science. View details here for USDA, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, NASA, and Department of Education.

-USDA Agricultural Research Service--ARS is funded at $1.130 billion, a $4 million increase, though laboratory closures are still scheduled.

-USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture—NIFA accounts are to be funded as follows:

*Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is funded at $325 million, a $60 million increase over FY 2012 enacted.

* Hatch formula is funded at $235 million, a $1 million decrease.

* McIntire-Stennis forestry formula is flat-funded at $33 million.

* Smith-Lever 3 (b&c) is funded at $292 million, a $2 million decrease.

* SARE, is flat-funded at $19 million.

* (new) Sustainable Agriculture Federal-State Matching Grants funded at $ 4 million.

* Higher education programs flat-funded at $48 million, a small $1 million increase.

* Mandatory research programs including Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Organic Agriculture Research and Education Initiative, and Biomass Research and Development must all be reauthorized in the next Farm Bill if they are to be funded.

-National Science Foundation is funded at $7.373 billion, an increase of $340 million, or 4.8 percent over the FY12 estimate of $7 billion. View details at the Association of American Universities budget webpage

-Department of Energy Office of Science’s (DOE OS) budget would grow to $4.99 billion, an increase of $118.4 million, or 2.4 percent, above the FY12 funding level of 4.84 billion. A detailed summary of DOE OS’s budget can be viewed here

-NASA--the FY13 budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is $17.71 billion, a reduction of $59 million or 0.3 percent, below the FY12 level of $17.77 billion. However, Earth Sciences would be funded at $1.784 billion, an increase of $19 million, or 1.1 percent, over the FY12 level of $1.760 billion. Budget details can be viewed here

-Department of Education--The FY13 budget would provide $69.8 billion in discretionary appropriations, an increase of $1.7 billion (2.5 percent), above FY12. This would represent the largest increase for any domestic agency. Details on the education program budget and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education budget can be viewed here

Sources: Association of American Universities; Congressional Quarterly; E&E Publishing; Food Industry Environmental Network, LLC

Vision: The Societies Washington, DC Science Policy Office (SPO) will advocate the importance and value of the agronomic, crop and soil sciences in developing national science policy and ensuring the necessary public-sector investment in the continued health of the environment for the well being of humanity. The SPO will assimilate, interpret, and disseminate in a timely manner to Society members information about relevant agricultural, natural resources and environmental legislation, rules and regulations under consideration by Congress and the Administration.

This page of the ASA-CSSA-SSSA web site will highlight current news items relevant to Science Policy. It is not an endorsement of any position.