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22 June 2011

In This Issue:

International Corner

~ Partnership Report: Food Aid Policy and the 2012 Farm Bill
~ Symposium reviews US government global food security strategy
~ Senate Foreign Relations releases report on aid to Afghanistan
~ US Announces New African Trade Capacity Building Initiative at AGOA Forum
~ Spanish e-learning resource on soil science

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

~ Bisgrove Postdoctoral Scholars
~ Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program
~ Antarctic Artists and Writers Program
~ Water Sustainability and Climate
~ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion
~ NOAA Science Collaboration Program
~ Environmental Engineering
~ Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering
~ Environmental Sustainability
~ Energy for Sustainability
~ Tribal Solid Waste Management Assistance
~ Biodiversity Conservation of Public Lands in the Brazilian Amazon
~ New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science

Conferences, Meetings and Reports

~ Grasslands Conference registration opens
~ ASA-CSSA-SSSA scientists receive Scientist of the Year and other awards
~ Measuring Diversity guide from NSF and AAAS
~ USDA watershed services payment survey
~ USDA OEM releases Farm of the Future profiles
~ Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture 2011 RFP
~ Comments sought on action plan addressing freshwater resources and climate change
~ CSSA Position Statement: Crop Adaptation to Climate Change

Congressional/Administration News

~ House passes FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
~ Strong support for the National Science Foundation
~ House moves on FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Spending Bill
~ Vilsack previews G-20 Summit of Ag Ministers

International Corner


(TOP) ~ Partnership Report: Food Aid Policy and the 2012 Farm Bill

Past Senate Agriculture Committee member, and long-time friend of the Societies, Stephanie Mercier recently wrote Thinking Ahead: What’s Up with U.S. Food Aid Policy in Advance of the 2012 Farm Bill? In the piece, she points out the utility of examining the program and operational changes that have occurred in the area of humanitarian and food assistance as a result of legislative revisions enacted in the 2008 farm bill. Prepared on behalf of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the paper also examines the prospects for gains in efficiency and effectiveness through better coordination of humanitarian assistance with other forms of development assistance undertaken by the U.S. government. The paper concludes by laying out a few key policy issues in these areas that might merit future consideration in preparation of the FY 2012 farm bill. With roughly $2 billion in funding provided for U.S. food assistance programs in FY 2010, and more than $1 billion provided for development assistance aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in food-deficit countries, the effectiveness of these programs remains an important priority for policymakers and all those concerned with addressing hunger and poverty in the developing world. View paper: http://www.partnership-africa.org/content/partnership-report-food-aid-policy-and-2012-farm-bill


(TOP) ~ Symposium reviews US government global food security strategy

On May 24, 2011, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs convened a symposium to review progress on the U.S. government global food security strategy and provide critical thinking on how best to overcome potential obstacles to success. The Council’s 2011 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development – a key publication released at the symposium – evaluates progress to date on the U.S. government’s approach to agricultural development and food security, both celebrating successes and identifying opportunities for further work.


(TOP) ~ Senate Foreign Relations releases report on aid to Afghanistan

In early June, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report on aid to Afghanistan. The report is to be used as a contribution to the ongoing review of US national efforts in Afghanistan.  The report states that we agree that "cutting back our foreign aid budgets is not the most prudent solution," and that USAID and the State Department must have the resources necessary to ensure an effective transition as the military draws down. Development assistance is a key part of an integrated civilian-military plan for achieving success in Afghanistan. For additional information on USAID's response to the report, please see the letter that USAID Administrator Shah and Deputy Secretary of State Nides sent to Committee Chairman, Senator John Kerry. Letter from USAID Administrator Shah: http://www.usaid.gov/press/congressional/2011/kerry_letter_afghanistan.pdf. View Sen. Foreign Relations Committee report: http://foreign.senate.gov/ 


(TOP) ~ US Announces New African Trade Capacity Building Initiative at AGOA Forum

On 9 June, the United States announced an additional commitment of up to $30 million per year for four years, to boost trade capacity in Africa. United States Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, made the announcement during the opening session of the Tenth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum today in Lusaka, Zambia. This support will be directed to African Trade Hubs through the African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative (ACTE). The trade hubs -- located in Accra, Ghana (with a satellite office in Dakar, Senegal); Nairobi, Kenya; and Gaborone, Botswana -- are regional leaders in trade-related technical assistance that promote increased trade between Africa and the United States, among other African countries, and with the world. Enacted in 2000, AGOA aims to boost economic growth in Africa and, by extension, increase regional stability, and reduce poverty by providing duty-free entry to the U.S. market for most goods produced in eligible sub-Saharan African countries. The ACTE initiative reflects the continuing commitment of the U.S. Government to support African trade capacity building and to help Africans to use trade to advance economic growth and development. ACTE also compliments activities taking place under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative. Details: http://www.usaid.gov/press/releases/2011/pr110609_1.html


(TOP) ~ Spanish e-learning resource on soil science

Edafos is a e-learning resource that provides a comprehensive review of the fundamental concepts and processes of soil science in Spanish. It is a multimedia- interactive program with different modules that after outlining the study of soil components goes on to examine the main factors and processes of soil genesis explaining the mechanisms of soil processes. A better understanding of all these new ideas is facilitated by the use of animations, which can illustrate the processes in a more effective manner than static print media. The program ends with the possibility of self-assessment questions obtaining an automatic punctuation. It can be useful from Secondary Education on Natural Sciences to degrees on Agricultural or Environmental Engineering. View: www.cienciadelsuelo.es

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities


(TOP) ~ Bisgrove Postdoctoral Scholars

Arizona State University is looking to recruit several outstanding early career scientists/social scientists as Bisgrove Postdoctoral Scholars. The Bisgrove Postdoctoral Scholars program is designed to attract the nation's best early career scientists who exhibit the potential for outstanding competence and creativity in their research areas, strong communication skills, a passion for communicating the importance of their research to society, and a keen interest in educational science outreach to the community. The Bisgrove Postdoctoral Scholarship provides a competitive salary and research allowance for up to two years. The focus of the scholars research should be in areas related to the mission of Science Foundation Arizona (www.sfaz.org) and benefit the state of Arizona.  Topical areas might include diagnosis and prevention of disease, sustainable energy and the environment, information and communications technologies at the human interface. Deadline 15 Jul. Details: http://graduate.asu.edu/bisgrove.


(TOP) ~ Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announces the opportunity to participate in the Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program (SCEP) with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for fiscal year (FY) 2012. The objective of SCEP is to promote bilateral scientific exchanges designed to promote agricultural cooperation, development, and trade. SCEP supports mutual exchanges of U.S. and Chinese research teams to visit the SCEP partner country for up to 15 days in order to transfer knowledge and technology in agriculture. USDA and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) of PRC consult with the research teams to design multi-city program agendas that initiate or strengthen linkages between our academic, public, and private institutions. The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a U.S. citizen and all team members must be employed by a U.S.-based public, private, or academic institution. Priority will be given to innovative proposals that address food security, climate change, food safety, animal and plant health, biotechnology and other emerging technologies, food processing and product development, non-food product development, and sustainable plant and animal management. Deadline 8 Jul. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=99114


(TOP) ~ Antarctic Artists and Writers Program

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program furnishes U.S. Antarctic Program operational support, and round-trip economy air tickets between the United States and the Southern Hemisphere, to artists and writers whose work requires them to be in the Antarctic to complete their proposed project. It does not provide funds for salary, materials, completion of the envisioned works, or any other purpose. U.S. Antarctic Program infrastructure consists of three year-round stations and numerous austral-summer research camps in Antarctica, research ships in the Southern Ocean, and surface and air transportation. These assets support the artist and writer projects. The main purpose of the U.S. Antarctic Program is scientific research and education. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program supports writing and artistic projects specifically designed to increase understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic and of human activities on the southernmost continent. Deadline 12 Sep. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=99414


(TOP) ~ Water Sustainability and Climate

The goal of the Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) solicitation is to understand and predict the interactions between the water system and climate change, land use (including agriculture, managed forest and rangeland systems), the built environment, and ecosystem function and services through place-based research and integrative models. Studies of the water system using models and/or observations at specific sites singly or in combination that allow for spatial and temporal extrapolation to other regions, as well as integration across the different processes in that system are encouraged, especially to the extent that they advance the development of theoretical frameworks and predictive understanding. Specific topics of interest include:* Developing theoretical frameworks and models that incorporate the linkages and feedbacks among atmospheric, terrestrial, aquatic, oceanic, and social processes that can be used to predict the potential impact of (1) climate variability and change, (2) land use and (3) human activity on water systems on decadal to centennial scales in order to provide a basis for adaptive management of water resources. Deadline 19 Oct. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=100076


(TOP) ~ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) seeks to increase the number of students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Type 1 proposals are solicited that provide for full implementation efforts at academic institutions. Type 2 proposals are solicited that support educational research projects on associate or baccalaureate degree attainment in STEM. Deadline 27 Sep. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=100077


(TOP) ~ NOAA Science Collaboration Program

The NOAA Science Collaboration Program represents an effort to support the development of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers and scientists with expertise in NOAA-related sciences.This will be accomplished through collaborations between these scientists and professionals in areas of mutual interest across the full spectrum of NOAA sciences. It is expected that some of the scientists will collaborate on-site at NOAA facilities and laboratories. NOAA will also support associated workshops that will serve to further enhance collaborative relationships. Through this funding opportunity, NOAA is also interested in supporting research that evaluates the impact of NOAA-related science to society and seeks to find ways to determine how environmental and related sciences can be communicated and utilized more effectively to protect life and property, assist decision makers, and enhance economic development. Deadline 20 Jul. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=100473


(TOP) ~ Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering program supports fundamental research and educational activities across the broad field of environmental engineering. The goal of this program is to encourage transformative research which applies scientific principles to minimize solid, liquid, and gaseous discharges into land, inland and coastal waters, and air that result from human activity, and to evaluate adverse impacts of these discharges on human health and environmental quality. The program fosters cutting-edge scientific research based on fundamental science for identifying, evaluating, and developing new methods and technologies for assessing the waste assimilative capacity of the natural environment and for removing or reducing conventional and emerging contaminants from polluted air, water, and soils. The program fosters environmental sustainability through pollution control and resource management/conservation, and development of techniques to minimize or avoid generating pollution. Deadline 17 Feb. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98353


(TOP) ~ Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering

The Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering (BBBE) program supports fundamental engineering research that advances the understanding of cellular and biomolecular processes (in vivo, in vitro, and/or ex vivo) and eventually leads to the development of enabling technology and/or applications in support of the biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, and bioenergy industries, or with applications in health or the environment. Quantitative assessments of bioprocesses are considered vital to successful research projects in the BBBE program. Fundamental to many research projects in this area is the understanding of how biomolecules and cells interact in their environment, and how those molecular level interactions lead to changes in structure, function, phenotype, and/or behavior. Deadline 15 Sep. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98355


(TOP) ~ Environmental Sustainability

The Environmental Sustainability program supports engineering research with the goal of promoting sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining natural (environmental) systems.These systems provide ecological services vital for human survival. The long-term viability of natural capital is critical for many areas of human endeavor. Research in Environmental Sustainability typically considers long time horizons and may incorporate contributions from the social sciences and ethics. Deadline 17 Feb. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98373


(TOP) ~ Energy for Sustainability

This program supports fundamental research and education that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and transportation fuels. Processes for sustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources. Current interest areas in sustainable energy technologies are highlighted below. Biomass Conversion, Biofuels; Bioenergy. Photosynthetic processes used by plants or algae use sunlight to convert atmospheric CO2 to energy-rich metabolites (carbohydrates, lipids, or hydrocarbons) which can be processed into transportation fuels. Fundamental research on innovative approaches for the intensification of biofuel and bioenergy processes is an emphasis area of this program. Deadline 17 Feb. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98374


(TOP) ~ Tribal Solid Waste Management Assistance

This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities for the Tribal Solid Waste Management Assistance Project. Eligible entities may apply for funding under one of four categories: (1) proposals to characterize/assess open dumps; (2) proposals to develop integrated waste management (IWM) plans and tribal codes and regulations; (3) proposals to develop and implement alternative solid waste management activities/facilities (including equipment acquisition); and (4) proposals to develop and implement cleanup, closure, and post-closure programs for open dumps in Indian Country. Deadline 22 Jul. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98439


(TOP) ~ Biodiversity Conservation of Public Lands in the Brazilian Amazon

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to Brazil intends to award one Cooperative Agreement (CA) for an amount up to approximately $6 million over two years, financed under the United States Congressional funding earmark for Biodiversity Conservation in the Amazon. This CA will support improved biodiversity conservation and management of public lands in Brazil western Amazonia including lands in Brazil National System of Conservation Units (SNUC), such as parks and reserves, and indigenous lands and strengthening incentives to promote their economic use when it is foreseen by their management plan and/or by applicable legislation. Deadline 18 Jul. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98694


(TOP) ~ New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science

This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits proposals for supporting basic and applied research and technology across a broad range of Earth and space science program elements relevant to one or more of the following NASA Research Programs: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics. Deadline 31 Aug. http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=98735

Conferences, Meetings and Reports


(TOP) ~ Grasslands Conference registration opens

The National Wildlife Federation and South Dakota State University are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the upcoming Americas Grasslands: Status, Threats, and Opportunities conference, to be held in Sioux Falls on August 15-17. The conference will bring together biologists, policy experts, ranchers, federal and state agency staff, representatives of elected officials, and conservationists for two days to discuss the latest information on the status, threats and opportunities related to North American grasslands in order to raise the national profile of this endangered ecosystem and inform those interested in developing a roadmap for its conservation. The event will be immediately followed by a Grasslands Policy Summit on August 18th sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund. Conference details: http://www.sdstate.edu/wfs/grasslandconference


(TOP) ~ ASA-CSSA-SSSA scientists receive Scientist of the Year and other awards

On 15 June, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced Scientists of the Year and other awards.  ASA-CSSA-SSSA scientists recognized include: Robert A. Graybosch (CSSA), ARS Grain, Forage and Bioenergy Research Unit, Lincoln, Neb., for sustained research innovation and productivity leading to wheat cultivars with improved yield, quality, and disease resistance; Karamat R. Sistani (ASA, SSSA), ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit, Bowling Green, Ky., for outstanding research and team leadership in using animal wastes to increase crop yields, while protecting water and air quality and controlling pathogens; Thomas E. Carter, Jr. (ASA, CSSA), ARS Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Unit, Raleigh, N.C., for pioneering research on genetic diversity in soybean breeding and the development of the first high-yielding, drought-tolerant soybean germplasm; C. Corley Holbrook (ASA, CSSA member), ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, Tifton, Ga., for development and transfer of Tifguard, the first high-yielding peanut cultivar with resistance to both the peanut root-knot nematode and tomato spotted wilt virus.


(TOP) ~ Measuring Diversity guide from NSF and AAAS

A new guide, Measuring Diversity, was recently released by the National Science Foundation and American Association for the Advancement of Science which will help universities evaluate their efforts. Many universities are working to increase the number of minority graduate students in science fields. Now there are new tools to help them evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. Details: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2011/0525agep_evaluate.shtml?sa_campaign=Internal_Ads/AAAS/RSS_News/2011-05-25/ 


(TOP) ~ USDA watershed services payment survey

The USDA Office of Environmental Markets (OEM) recently released a new report produced by EcoAgriculture Partners with funding and support from OEM and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.  Innovations in Watershed-Based Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners surveys payments for watershed services (PWS) schemes to understand their current role in the U.S. and future potential for increasing cost-effective watershed protection on private lands. Water is crucial for many human needs; yet water resources in the United States face serious threats from increasing pollution and overuse.  PWS can address these challenges effectively as a complement to USDA conservation programs and other existing incentives. Under PWS programs, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can choose to provide watershed protection services—improvements to water quality or increases in water efficiency—and in return receive payments or other forms of compensation from the beneficiaries of these services.  PWS can be more affordable than traditional engineering solutions while offering co-benefits including job creation, economic development, cleaner air, and open space. In addition to the report, a map-based inventory of the identified PWS systems is available online through The Conservation Registry, a repository of conservation projects in the United States.  The PWS inventory is a “living” database and can be updated regularly.  Combined, the report and inventory are intended to help policymakers, landowners, conservationists, and water management professionals explore PWS opportunities in their areas.  USDA Office of Environmental Markets: http://www.usda.gov/oce/environmental_markets/index.htm


(TOP) ~ USDA OEM releases Farm of the Future profiles

OEM also recently released the new Farm of the Future project which profiles working farms, forests, and ranches that are participating in environmental markets or receiving payments for ecosystem services. In the five case studies just released, landowners changed their management practices to provide water quality, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and carbon benefits—generating new revenue from the sale of ecosystem services to supplement traditional income.


(TOP) ~ Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture 2011 RFP

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is looking for innovative ideas that will help fulfill its mission to identify and reduce negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of agricultural practices and contribute to the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources. Specifics are outlined in the Leopold Center’s 2011 Request for Pre-proposals (RFP) that is part of its long-running competitive grants program. The deadline for submitting ideas, in the form of a 2-3 page concept paper, is August 15, 2011. Download RFP: www.leopold.iastate.edu/research/rfp/2011.html


(TOP) ~ Comments sought on action plan addressing freshwater resources and climate change

The public is invited to submit comments on the draft National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate using the comment submission form provided below.The draft National Action Plan is available at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation. This National Action Plan provides an overview of the challenges that a changing climate presents for the management of the Nation’s freshwater resources and describes actions that Federal agencies propose to take in response to these challenges. Comments due 15 July. Submit comments: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation/freshwater-plan


(TOP) ~ CSSA Position Statement: Crop Adaptation to Climate Change

The Crop Science Society of America recently released its Crop Adaptation to Climate Change position statement. Throughout history, farmers have adopted new crop varieties and adjusted their practices in tune with environmental change. But as global temperature continues to rise, the pace of change is expected to be unprecedented, and experts are now warning that climate change could trigger a global food crisis as farmers struggle to keep up. Researched and composed by a working group of scientists from academia and industry, the statement reviews the impacts of variable weather conditions arising from climate change on cropping systems; reports the progress to date in adapting crops and management practices to these new conditions; and offers focus areas for increasing the speed at which global agricultural systems can further adapt. In particular, the statement calls for rapid expansion of research programs to understand the physiological, genetic and molecular basis of adaptation to the drought, heat and biological stresses that will likely result from climate change. View the Crop Adaptation Statement (pdf)

Congressional/Administration News


(TOP) ~ House passes FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

On 16 June, the House passed its Agriculture appropriations bill, the third fiscal 2012 spending bill to pass in the chamber. Thanks to those of you taking part in the action alert; we believe strongly that your actions, at a minimum, reduced the size of the cuts to the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) budgets. The good news is that we did help to take down Rep. Chaffetz’s proposed amendment which, if passed, would have cut $650 million out of the ARS budget. The bill passed 217-203, with all Democrats and 19 Republicans opposing the measure. The bill cuts discretionary spending by 13 percent. In an action that will likely occur on future spending bills, Democratic leaders urged all their members to oppose the measure (HR 2112) because of its spending cuts. The bill provides a total of $125.5 billion, but just $17.3 billion of that is discretionary funding — 13 percent below current levels and 23 percent less than the president requested. Democrats have argued that the discretionary spending caps set by House Republicans for this year’s spending will cause harmful cuts to many programs. The 19 Republicans who voted against the measure mostly represent parties who think that the cuts were not enough. The bill included the amounts for the following:

•           Agricultural Research Service: $986 million (down $146 million from FY 2011)

•           AFRI: $229,500,000 (down $37 million)

•           Section 406: $8,000,000 (down $29 million)

•           Hatch Act: $206,000,000 (down $30 million)

•           SARE: $12,200,000 (down $2.3 million)

•           Smith Lever (Extension): $408,000,000 (down $71 million)

The Agricultural Research Service was under attack in several amendments, namely the Chaffetz Amendment: Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] H.AMDT.428 to H.R.2112 . An amendment that called for reducing funding for the Economic Research Service by $43 million; the National Agricultural Statistics Service by $85 million; and the Agricultural Research Service by $650 million; so that $1,818,198,000 would be included in the savings reduction account. The measure was not passed, with a final vote of 83 (yea) to 338 (nay). See if your member voted against the amendment here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll424.xml. Thanks again to those of you who called your Representative to urge them to vote against the measure. As things move forward in the Senate, we will keep you up-to-date on the fate of this and other bills.  


(TOP) ~ Strong support for the National Science Foundation

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) recently sent a letter to Congress recommending an FY 2012 NSF budget of $7.767 billion, a $960 million (14%) increase over FY 2011. This budget level consistent with the FY 2012 Budget Request and with the America COMPETES Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358), signed into law on January 4 of this year. This level is also compatible with the funding schedule initiated by the previous administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative and with the original America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) passed in August 2007. In the letter, CNSF (ASA, CSSA, and SSSA are long-standing members) argues that robust federal support for NSF, the cornerstone of America’s research enterprise, is absolutely critical to the nation’s economic health and global competitiveness.  View letter: http://www.cnsfweb.org/CNSFStatementFY2012.pdf


(TOP) ~ House moves on FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Spending Bill

On 15 June, the full House Appropriations Committee passed, on a largely party line basis, its version of an FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  This bill provides funding for the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and several independent agencies.  Total funding in this bill- $30.6 billion - is close to that of the funding level for FY 2005. The bill’s price tag is down 3.3 percent, or more than $1 billion, from this year’s figure, and is approximately 19 percent less than that requested by the Obama Administration. For the DOE Office of Science (OS), the House Appropriations Committee recommends $4,800.0 million, a decrease of 0.9 percent or $42.7 million as compared to the current budget. Within OS, the bill recommends the following changes in program budgets from this year: * Basic Energy Sciences: Up 0.6 percent; and Biological and Environmental Research: Down 10.6 percent.


(TOP) ~ Vilsack previews G-20 Summit of Ag Ministers

Thomas J. Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, spoke at a National Press Club luncheon on June 13, 2011, in advance of the G-20 Summit of Agricultural Ministers that will take place in Paris on June 23. The Science Policy Office, Senior Science Policy Associate, Caron Gala Bijl attended the Luncheon. During his speech, Vilsack highlighted the need for ongoing research, education, and extension around the globe, recognizing R&D that focuses on outcomes that meet the needs of a growing global population while adapting to climate change. He complimented the work of Dr. Thomas Carter, of the ARS Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Unit in North Carolina, for work on the genetic diversity in soybean breeding that led to the development the first high-yielding, drought-tolerant soybean germplasm. The Secretary also commented on Feed the Future, saying that the USDA is closely coordinating its efforts with USAID, with a focus on its core competencies in: innovation through collaborative research; in-country capacity building—regulations, natural resource management, trade and extension, and efficient market development; and basing its work on country-identified needs. Finally, at the G-20 meeting taking place tomorrow, the Secretary will focus on neutralizing misconceptions about the influence that U.S. biofuels have on rising commodity and food prices. You can view the luncheon here: http://press.org/news-multimedia/videos/npc-luncheon-sec-tom-vilsack

Sources: American Institute of Physics; 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.



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