Outcrossing between johnsongrass, sorghum studied

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, Texas A&M AgriLife

Johnsongrass and sorghum might be considered “kissing kin,” but a Texas A&M AgriLife Research team wants to know if there is more going on in the grain sorghum production fields and bar ditches of South and Central Texas than meets the eye.

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, weed scientist; Dr. Bill Rooney, sorghum breeder; and Dr. Patricia Klein, sorghum geneticist and molecular biologist, all with AgriLife Research in College Station, have teamed up to study gene flow between sorghum and johnsongrass. Continue reading

BeeMORE Undergraduate Summer Research paid internship

If you are an undergraduate science major who is interested in pursuing a career in STEM, there is an exciting new opportunity to develop your skills while studying the interface between microbes and beesBeeMORE is a USDA-funded Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates who are interested in significantly advancing their research skills in the field, the laboratory, or both. Continue reading

APHIS Publishes Final Rule to Standardize Phytosanitary Treatment Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its treatment regulations to standardize the process for approving new cold treatment facilities in Southern and Western U.S. States. We are also establishing generic criteria that these facilities must follow to safely treat imported commodities. While the new process will eliminate the rulemaking requirement for new cold treatment facilities in Southern and Western States, APHIS will still evaluate each proposed location and approve it only after sufficient safeguards are identified and concurrence from the pertinent State is obtained.  Continue reading

Four USDA NIFA funding opportunities

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support to Strengthen Hispanic-Serving Institutions

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for higher education programs in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences (FANH) at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Funding is made through the HSI Education Grants Program, which aims to strengthen the ability of the institutions to recruit, retain, train, and develop the next generation of scientists, leaders, and highly-skilled workforce.

The purpose of the HSI Education Grants Program is to encourage innovative teaching or education proposals with the potential to impact institutions that serve underrepresented students. Projects supported by this program attract and support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, prepare them for careers related to the FANH sciences in the U.S., and enhance the quality of postsecondary instruction at institutions within these disciplines. Projects also provide opportunities and access to FANH careers in the public and private sector, and align the efforts of HSIs and other non-profit organizations in support of the academic development and career attainment of underrepresented groups. Continue reading

Upcoming Webinar – Good Bugs vs. Bad: Using Biological Controls in SWD Management

The Spotted Wing Drosophila research team will be presenting the second of their annual webinar series on on Feb. 23, 2018, from 12 to 1 p.m. Titled “Good Bugs vs Bad: Using Biological Controls in SWD Management,” this webinar will include an overview of the project, an update on the native biocontrol agents that have been found in surveys at farms from Oregon to Maine, and the latest information on their search for parasitic wasps from Asia.

This webinar is free and open to all thanks to funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Register with your name and email address at Good Bugs vs Bad: Using Biological Controls in SWD Management.

Learn more about this webinar.

USDA ARS seeks stakeholder input on priorities

The mission of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Veterinary, Medical, and Urban Entomology National Program 104 (NP 104) is to improve the protection of humans and livestock from blood-sucking arthropods, and from stinging, or otherwise damaging insects. NP 104 research is divided into three components: (1) Medical entomology for the public and military; (2) Veterinary entomology; and (3) Fire ants and other invasive ant pests. The ultimate goal is to protect humans and livestock from these arthropod pests, through the development of safe and effective methods of management and control.

We are interested in obtaining stakeholder input on research, education and extension priorities to be addressed in our program over the next five years.  The first step in this process is collecting vital information and expert opinions from you, our stakeholders, customers and partners, on how Federal investments can best address current needs and challenges. This information will be incorporated into the next ARS National Program 104 Action Plan.  Continue reading

USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced speakers for the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), to be held Feb. 22–23, 2018, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

This year’s forum is themed “The Roots of Prosperity,” and the opening plenary session will feature keynote remarks from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, welcoming comments from Deputy Secretary Steve Censky, and “The 2018 Economic Outlook for Agriculture” presented by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. The forum distinguished speaker is Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. Speaking at dinner on the first day is Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer for PepsiCo. Continue reading