Tag Archives: Grants

USDA undergraduate research and extension experiential learning proposals

The USDA recently released an RFA for undergraduate research and extension experiential learning fellowships. This program is similar to the NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). The USDA RFA is titled “Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative” and you can find the full request for applications online.

The purpose of the grant is to:

  • Provide undergrads with hands-on experience in laboratories.
  • Train undergraduates to join the agricultural workforce or pursue graduate school in the agricultural sciences.
  • Mentor undergraduates in research and extension.
  • Awards of up to a maximum of $300,000 and a period of up to for 3 years.
  • Project costs must be predominantly for student support and up to a maximum of 30 undergraduates can be supported on any single proposal.

A competitive proposal will:

  • Respond to one of the six NIFA foundational areas.
  • Involve undergraduates in research and/or extension.
  • Describe specific activities the students will complete.
  • Explain the significance of the research/extension activities.
  • Engage several faculty to serve as mentors.
  • Recruit at least 50 percent of the undergrads from outside Virginia Tech.

Procedural highlights include:

  • An internal pre-proposal due to CALS on Feb. 11 at noon.
  • A letter of intent due to the USDA on Feb. 18 for the selected preproposals.
  • The full proposal is due to the USDA on May 6.

This grant is a limited submission, so Virginia Tech can only submit three proposals. CALS is conducting an internal competition to select the three proposals that will be submitted to the USDA. The USDA will only award one per institution.

Please submit the pre-proposals no later than noon, Feb. 11 via email to Nancy Dudek.

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External grants in the second quarter fiscal year 2015

A partial list of external grants received by our faculty during the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 (October – December 2014) are included here. Only projects with total awards of $100,000 or more are included. We apologize for any omissions.

Title Sponsor PI and Co-PIs  Award Amount
Quantifying soil health: measuring the impacts of tillage and cover crop practices on nutrient retention and soil physical, biological & chemical properties USDA/NCRS R. Stewart (CSES), M. Reiter (ESAREC), M. Strickland (Biol. Sciences), W. Thomason (CSES), and D. Reed (SPAREC) $381,761
Virginia IPM Program: Protecting Our Farms, Structures and Recreational Lands USDA D. Ames Herbert (TAREC), E. Bush (PPWS), C. Laub (ENT), D. Pfeiffer (ENT), D. Miller (ENT), J. Derr (HRAREC), T. Archibald (ALCE), M. Nita (AHSAREC), M. Weaver (ENT), and D. McCall (PPWS) $271,600
Behavioral Effects of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Aggregation Pheromone and a Pheromone synergist on Overwintering Site Selection by adult H. halys USDA/ARS C. Bergh (AHSAREC) $170,000
Cooperative Agreement between USDA APIS and Virginia Tech USDA/APHIS R. Irwin (BIOCHEM) $144,313
SMIL: Biological Control of the Mi llet Stem Borer and the miller head miner in Niger and Senegal Kansas State University M. Bertelsen (OIRED), R. Maniappan (OIRED), A. Fayad (OIRED), and G. Norton (AAEC) $110,973
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Education (SNAP-Ed) VDSS M. McFerren (HNFE) and J. Midkiff (Southeast District) $6,418,493
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management: Ecological-Systems-based IPM with a Focus on Asia & Africa IPM IL USAID M. Bertelsen (OIRED), M. Maniappan (OIRED), A. Fayad (OIRED), and G. Norton (AAEC) $2,400,000
The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program: A Participatory Beginning Farmer and Rancher Education and Training Initiative USDA/NIFA K. Niewolny (ALCE), K. Morgan (AAEC), and T. Archibald (ALCE) $724,828
Clean WateR3-Reduce, Remediate, Recycle: Informed Decision Making to Facilitate Use of Alternative Water Resources and Promote Sustainable Specialty Clemson University J. Owen (HRAREC), D. Sample (HRAREC), L. Fox (HRAREC) and S. Kumar (CEE) $259,903
Enhancing Adoption of Dairy Manure Injection in the Shenandoah Valley National Fish & Wildlife Foundation R. Maguire (CSES) $210,652
Developing an Alfalfa Hay Export Market in the Humid Eastern United States USDA/NIFA C. Teutsch (SPAREC) $156,140
Targeting Essential Metabolic and Parasitism Genes of the Root-Lesion Nematode to Develop Nematode-Resistant Plants USDA J. Eisenback (PPWS) $150,000
Modeling Amino Acid Transport In The Mammary Gland USDA/NIFA M. Hanigan $150,000
Identification of Host Plant Immune functions that Control Resistance and Susceptibility to the Parasitic Plant Phelipanche aegyptiaca USDA/NIFA C. Clarke and J. Westwood (PPWS) $150,000
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Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community receives planning grant from NIH

The Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community (DRPHC) received an R24 planning grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the Dan River Region POPS: Partnering for Obesity Planning and Sustainability (POPS) study using a community-based participatory research approach.

The POPS initiative has two main objectives:

  • Intervention testing of a childhood obesity treatment program aimed at reducing BMI z-scores. As guided by the RE-AIM framework, the intervention testing objectives are to determine the potential reach (i.e., proportion of target population and representativeness), effectiveness (i.e., changes in child BMI z-scores over a six-month period), feasibility (i.e., the degree to which the intervention can be adopted, implemented, and sustained as intended) and cost (i.e., resource and staffing costs) of the program.
  • To develop and assess community capacity related to the development, implementation, and sustainability of the childhood obesity treatment program.

Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community

To date, the study has successfully developed an academic and community partnership that includes representatives from Danville Parks and Recreation, Danville/Pittsylvania Health District, Children’s Healthcare Center, and Danville Boys & Girls Club.

The Virginia Tech investigators include Paul Estabrooks, Jamie Zoellner, Jennie Hill, Madlyn Frisard, Wen You, and their graduate students. Using evidence based practices from the Bright Bodies childhood obesity intervention program, the partners have created the iChoose program that is specifically tailored to the needs of the Dan River Region. Continue reading

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DoD/USDA award goes to Military Families Learning Network

The Military Families Learning Network has been selected to continue and expand its work serving military family service professionals around the world, receiving a DoD/USDA grant that will continue its work for the next four years.

Cooperative Extension faculty from Virginia Tech Sarah Baughman and Brigitte Scott are working with the receiving a DoD/USDA grant that will continue its work for the next four years.as part of the leadership team. Baughman is the National Project Leader while Scott is the evaluation and research leader for the network.

Kyle Kostelecky, project director, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Elbert Dickey, principal investigator for the current project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced that the new award will be housed at the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education on the University of Illinois campus. The current Military Families Learning Network originated as a special project of eXtension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010 and work will continue at the University of Nebraska until completed.

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Virginia Tech receives award for quantifying soil health research

Researchers at Virginia Tech recently received a USDA grant for “Quantifying Soil Health: Measuring the Impacts of Tillage and Cover Crop Practices on Nutrient Retention and Soil Physical, Biological and Chemical Properties.”

Modern agricultural practices, such as monoculture cropping systems and mechanized tillage, have resulted in widespread soil degradation, erosion and biodiversity loss. The resultant degraded, “unhealthy” soils require increased inputs such as fertilizers and irrigation in order to maintain productivity.

In recent years, however, proactive agricultural producers, extension agents and agencies have worked together to develop management methods such as cover cropping and conservation tillage that restore, maintain or improve the health of agricultural soils, thus reducing production inputs and improving soil properties.

The overall objective is to increase the acreage of land that is being managed with conservation tillage including no-till and multi-species high-residue cover crops, by demonstrating and quantifying the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils managed under conventional tillage, conservation tillage and conservation tillage with high-residue multispecies cover crops.

This project will incorporate several innovative strategies to increase the awareness and practice of soil health management tactics, building on a legacy of interrelated investigation, outreach and extension.

Ryan Stewart from the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences will serve as the PI on the grant. Mark Reiter from the Eastern Shore AREC, Wade Thomason from the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Michael Strickland from the Department of Biological Sciences, and David Reed from the Southern Piedmont AREC are the Co-PIs. Congratulations!

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Virginia Agricultural Council pre-proposal instructions

A pre-proposal system has been approved by the Virginia Agricultural Council that is designed to streamline proposal preparation and review. Pre-proposals will be screened by VAC members and selected investigators will be invited to submit full proposals for further consideration. Although an invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding, the prescreening process will increase the chances of approval for the invited projects and save investigators from preparing proposals for projects that are considered unsuitable for support.

The VAC Council will divide pre-proposals into commodity groups and members from the council have been appointed, based on their expertise, to review and evaluate pre-proposals within each group.


Pre-proposals must be submitted electronically using the “Virginia Agricultural Council Pre-proposal Form.” Text must be single-spaced, 12 point, and should address the following:

  • Objectives: What are the scientific objectives of the proposed project?
  • Approach: What methods will be used to accomplish the objectives?
  • Justification: What impact will the proposed research have on Virginia agriculture? Include cost benefit.

In the space below the text box, include the investigator name(s), project duration one-year and total budget request. Also, check the appropriate block for which commodity group your project should be classified.


Pre-proposals must be electronically submitted to Don Ayers by Nov. 15, 2014.

Applicants will be notified as to the status of their pre-proposals by Dec. 31, 2014 and selected investigators will be invited to submit full proposals by the Feb. 28, 2015 deadline.

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Water quality benefits funding opportunity

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of its Science to Achieve Results program, is seeking applications proposing research to advance knowledge of how changes in water quality, including incremental or step improvements, can be valued at appropriate spatial scales using advanced non-use valuation methods for the nation’s inland fresh water small streams, lakes and rivers, estuaries, coastal waters, and the Great Lakes. For purposes of this Request for Applications, small streams are defined as streams that are perennial and wadeable. 

Award Information

Anticipated type of award: Grant or Cooperative Agreement 
Estimated number of awards: Approximately four regular awards and two early career awards
Anticipated funding amount: Approximately $4 million total for all awards
Potential funding per ward: Up to a total of $800,000 for regular awards and up to a total of $400,000 for early career awards, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of three years. Cost-sharing is not required. Proposals with budgets exceeding the total award limits will not be considered.

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Special call for proposals — Cover crops in the Southern SARE Region

This special call invites proposals that address the status of cover cropping in the Southern SARE Region and follows the successful North Central SARE cover crop conference held in February 2014 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Proposals should focus on convening a symposium to document the (1) current status, (2) research needs, and (3) challenges that producers face in the southeastern United States regarding cover crops and soil health. The output of the symposium should address current knowledge and adoption levels, identify research locations in the South, and outline new areas needing research. The funds may be used to gather a region-wide group of researchers and producers together to develop the output information. There is the potential for sub regional sessions identifying particular challenges associated with the different climate zones and cropping systems in the South. The goal is to provide guidance for future work on increasing the adoption of cover crops in current commodity crop systems, as well as specialty crop systems in the Southern SARE Region.

General Guidelines
Projects should include or involve the following:

  • The development of a case for relevancy to southern agriculture and significance to the state(s) involved.
  • Participation or support from both 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities.
  • Effective participatory training methods.
  • Systems approach that includes environmental, societal, and economic impacts to the community.
  • Interdisciplinary efforts and multi-institutional partnerships that can endure beyond the life of the project.
  • Farmer involvement in planning, evaluation, and delivery of training.
  • When possible, multiple formats should be used in the delivery of proposal outcomes.

The proposal deadline is Jan. 16, 2015.

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EPA Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant request for proposals

The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting proposals for the management of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium grant. The purpose of the grant is to accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds across the country. The EPA expects to issue a cooperative agreement to fund a single grantee to manage the Healthy Watersheds Consortium grant program and issue sub-awards on a competitive basis.

Eligible applicants are non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, interstate agencies, and inter-tribal consortia which are capable of undertaking activities that advance healthy watershed programs on a national basis. Eligible entities for the sub-awards include public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, states, local governments, U.S. territories or possessions, and interstate agencies. Anticipated federal funding under the competition is approximately $3.75 million over six years. Proposals are due Jan. 5, 2015. For detailed information regarding this request for proposals, please visit the website and the associated deadline table.

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Virginia Tech receives grant award for National AgrAbility Program

Agriculture is the largest industry in the state and to be sustainable, both beginning and established farmers must succeed. Adequate services, training, and outreach programs are critical to accomplish this goal.

The AgrAbility Virginia program was initiated twelve years ago with an overall goal of assisting farmers with disabilities and their families to continue living on farms and pursuing their passion while preventing primary or secondary injuries. Many have been helped to fulfill their dreams. AgVA’s strength is the partnership established between Virginia Tech, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Easter Seals and other public and private agencies. This partnership has helped AgVA deliver needed services to the farmers with disabilities swiftly and efficiently without duplication of effort. Types of assistance provided include modification of farm and ranch operations, use of Assistive Technologies, improving farmstead accessibility, providing financial counseling, locating funding sources and coordinating delivery of services.

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