Science Policy Report

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18 May 2016

In This Issue:

Policy News

~ Appropriations movement in both the House and Senate
~ Senate gives final approval to energy and water spending bill
~ Stabenow calls for GMO-labeling compromise
~ House Science Committee launches investigation into EPA glyphosate ‘cover up’
~ Flake releases government ‘waste’ report on federal studies
~ Creating a bipartisan climate to discuss climate change in Congress
~ Senate hearing on federal research
~ Agriculture Secretary announces climate smart agriculture and forestry results, soil health investments

Science News

~ Effects of distance from riparian buffers and Conservation Reserve Program land on yields
~ National Academies of Science release GE crop report
~ Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector
~ NSF director unveils big ideas, with an eye on the next president and Congress
~ Application of biochar for soil physical improvement
~ The environmental cost of growing food
~ Half of US wetlands are ailing
~ Can urban farms be more than community hubs?
~ Bayer said to explore bid for $40 billion seed company, Monsanto
~ Farmers want control of ag data, survey shows

International Corner

~ U.N. experts find weed killer glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer
~ Science gets little attention in Australian budget
~ Good rain forecast for parched India lifts growth prospects
~ African farmers need the tools and technology to adapt to a changing climate
~ Head of Taiwan's Academia Sinica resigns
~ U.N. climate science chief: it's not too late to avoid dangerous temperature rise

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

~ Renewable Natural Resources Foundation Awards
~ Project Development for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biopower
~ Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program
~ Stave-Level Conservation Innovative Grants
~ Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge
~ Conservation, Food and Health Foundation
~ Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists
~ Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
~ AFRI - Foundational Program
~ Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area
~ Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

Policy News

(TOP) ~ Appropriations movement in both the House and Senate

This week, Congressional appropriators returned from their weeklong recess to pick up where they left off and continue finalizing funding bills for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the FY 2017 agriculture appropriations bill on May 17. The bill would allocate $2.54 billion to agricultural research, a $70 million increase over current enacted levels. While details of the bill are not yet released, we do know that it includes $375 million for the competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) an increase of $25 million and the same amount proposed in the House. Full committee mark-up of the bill will be held on May 19. The House Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee also released its bill this week. The bill sets funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $7.4 billion – $57 million below the enacted level. While some programs saw cuts, the Research and Related Activates account would see an increase of $45 million. Once again, the full details of the bill have not yet been released, but the bill summary includes concerning language about targeting the increase to “programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness,” but failed to mention the geosciences.

(TOP) ~ Senate gives final approval to energy and water spending bill

Despite being temporarily derailed as Democrats rebelled over an amendment related to Iran, the Senate last week cleared its fiscal 2017 energy and water spending bill, the chamber's first appropriations measure of the season. The $37.5 billion bill to fund the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, passed 90-8. It's the first energy and water measure to be approved on the Senate floor outside of an omnibus in several years. Attention now moves to the House, where a companion measure that emerged from committee last month comes in $93 million below the Senate's version. The House energy and water spending measure also includes several controversial provisions not in the Senate bill, including California drought language from the state's Republicans, as well as funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Stabenow calls for GMO-labeling compromise

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has shared the legislative language of her version of a bill on the labeling of genetically modified foods with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and her staff has briefed groups on all sides of the debate on her proposal. Stabenow has long said she wants to advance federal legislation to prevent companies from having to contend with a patchwork of state labeling laws and provide consumers with information on GMO ingredients without stigmatizing the technology. While Roberts has long called for Stabenow to make clear what she wants in a bill and have it vetted by the industry. A Vermont law requiring labels on genetically modified foods is scheduled to go into effect on July 1 and advocates of labeling and opponents of it have agreed that a federal system would be better than as many as 50 different state labeling schemes, but they disagree over whether it should be voluntary or mandatory and whether it should be on the package or on a website or a “smart” label. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ House Science Committee launches investigation into EPA glyphosate ‘cover up’

A second group of lawmakers is investigating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its review of glyphosate, questioning why it withdrew a report that said the chemical in the world's most widely used weed killer was likely not carcinogenic. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology - which has jurisdiction over environmental and scientific programs - sent a letter to the EPA earlier this month, citing concerns about "the apparent mishandling" of the matter. Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representative's agriculture committee sent a similar letter to the EPA, saying it was examining the agency's review of glyphosate, the chemical in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, and atrazine, another chemical used in agricultural herbicides. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Flake releases government ‘waste’ report on federal studies

Unable or unwilling to tackle the runaway costs of entitlement programs, lawmakers sometimes try to turn attention to more manageable problems. For example: Sen. Jeff Flake's new crusade against wasteful government studies. The Arizona Republican released Twenty Questions: Government Studies That Will Leave you Scratching Your Head, a new report aimed at cracking down on government-funded studies that he considers worthless. Among the questions Flake says researchers are trying to answer: Where does it hurt the most to be stung by a bee? Why does walking with coffee cause it to spill? Do drunk birds slur when they sing? Are Republicans or Democrats more disgusted by eating worms? How many shakes does it take for a wet dog to dry off? But like many of the traditional crusades against government "waste, fraud and abuse," this one doesn't add up to much money. The 20 listed studies come from government grants for larger projects that total more than $35 million, the report says. Read the press release here and ScienceInsider’s take on the new report here.

(TOP) ~ Creating a bipartisan climate to discuss climate change in Congress

Across the country, the challenges posed by warming temperatures, storm surge, and severe flooding represent mere previews of the consequences to come due to climate change. In New Jersey, the storm surge that accompanied a recent blizzard left shore towns flooded by icy waters. In Charleston, South Carolina, the number of flood days more than quadrupled in the last half a century. Even in Colorado, warmer winters and reduced snowfall has disrupted tourism and the ski industry. This research makes clear that the time to debate whether climate change threatens our economy and our security has long past.  It should also lend credence to our decision to establish the Climate Solutions Caucus ­ the first bipartisan task force in the House of Representatives devoted to addressing climate change. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Senate hearing on federal research

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a full committee hearing last week titled “Leveraging the U.S. Science and Technology Enterprise.” Witnesses were asked to testify about ways to improve the roles of the federal government, private sector, and academia in science and technology research and development, STEM education and workforce opportunities, and the application of research and development to commercial uses. The hearing also informed the efforts of the Commerce Committee’s bipartisan Innovation and Competitiveness Working Group, led by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.). The working group is preparing legislation directing science and technology policy last authorized by the America COMPETES Acts. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Agriculture Secretary announces climate smart agriculture and forestry results, soil health investments

Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the targeted allocation of $72.3 million for conservation practices, including those that promote soil health and carbon storage. The funding will be delivered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) during the current fiscal year, and will support conservation practices that advance the agency’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture. USDA also released a new report that catalogues the agency’s progress on climate change responsiveness over the past year, and provides details on their framework for helping farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners in their efforts to mitigate and respond to climate change. During the announcement, Secretary Vilsack highlighted the critical role American farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners have played in mitigating the negative effects of climate change. Read the full article.

Science News

(TOP) ~ Effects of distance from riparian buffers and Conservation Reserve Program land on yields

Riparian buffers (RB) and land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) help improve ecosystem services such as enhancing wildlife habitat and soil and water quality while providing additional income. However, these practices compete for resources with annual grain crops. In an article in the March–April 2016 issue of Agronomy Journal, researchers compared corn–soybean yields from 2007 to 2010 as influenced by RB, CRP, and RB with root pruning (RRP). The goal of the study was to understand the effects of distance from the crop–buffer interface on crop yields. The researchers observed reduced corn yields near the crop–buffer interface for RB and RRP treatments. Riparian buffers and CRP had no effect on soybeans. Crop yields decreased with distance from the interface as the buffer matures. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ National Academies of Science release GE crop report

Genetically-engineered crops are as safe to eat as their non-GE counterparts, they have no adverse environmental impacts, and they have reduced the use of pesticides. That’s according to a comprehensive report released by the National Academy of Sciences—a group founded by the U.S. Congress to provide expert scientifically-based advice on a wide variety of issues. But the academy also found that GE or (genetically-modified organisms or GMO) crops didn’t increase those crops’ potential yields, and they did lead to widespread and expensive problems with herbicide-resistant weeds. The report acknowledges that beyond safety, other issues need to be addressed, including earning the public’s trust. It recommends a more transparent and inclusive conversation about GE crops going forward. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector

Global pesticides, seeds and fertilizer companies may be forced to re-engineer their business models as farmers adopt specialist technology that helps maximize harvests while reducing the use of crop chemicals. New businesses are springing up that promise to tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilize or pick crops based on algorithms using data from their own fields. Their emphasis on reducing the use of chemicals and minerals known as farming inputs is a further challenge for an industry already struggling with weak agricultural markets worldwide. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ NSF director unveils big ideas, with an eye on the next president and Congress

France Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia, has unveiled a research agenda intended to shape the agency’s next few decades and win over the next U.S. president and Congress. The nine big ideas illustrate how increased support for the type of basic research that NSF funds could help answer pressing societal problems, she says, ranging from how humans interact with technology to how climate change in the polar regions will impact the global economy, environment, and culture. It’s unusual for a federal agency to talk publicly about its long-range budget plans, Córdova acknowledges. But she is betting that touting the agency’s capabilities during an election year will pay dividends after voters have chosen a successor to President Barack Obama. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Application of biochar for soil physical improvement

The quality of a soil is inherently determined by its composition and properties. A healthy soil always possesses desirable physical, chemical, and biological properties and demonstrates great soil tilth, moderate drainage, adequate supply of nutrients, high populations of beneficial organisms, and strong resistance to erosion and degradation. The common quality constraints of cropland soil are identified as compaction, poor aggregation, poor drainage, low water and nutrient retention, low organic matter content, and high population of soil-borne pathogens. Many of these constraints can be minimized by ameliorating soil physical properties in structure, porosity, aeration, and hydraulic conductivity. Biochar amendment boosts the overall quality of a soil by improving its physical, chemical, and biological properties. In particular, biochar amendment at appropriate rates can significantly alter soil physical properties including color, bulk density, porosity, specific surface area, aggregate stability, water-holding capacity, water infiltration, and permeability. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ The environmental cost of growing food

Let's say you're an environmentally motivated eater. You want your diet to do as little damage as possible to our planet's forests and grasslands and wildlife. But how do you decide which food is greener? Take one example: sugar. About half of America's sugar comes from sugar cane, and half from sugar beets. They grow in completely different climates. Each one has an impact on the environment — sometimes a dramatic impact — but in very different ways. If you go to south Florida, for instance, to the town of Belle Glade, there's a silent yet dramatic measure of the cost of growing sugar there. Environmental advocates and the government of Florida have been putting pressure on farmers to use less fertilizer and keep more of the peat soil immersed in water. Protecting the environment is important, farmers say — but it can't be more important than growing food. This conflict between growing food and protecting the environment is not just playing out in the Everglades. It's everywhere, actually. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Half of US wetlands are ailing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the first-ever National Wetland Condition Assessment. The report shows that nearly half of the nation’s wetlands are in good health, while 20 percent are in fair health and the remaining 32 percent are in poor health. The ecoregion west of the Rocky Mountains scored lowest overall, with 21 percent of the wetlands in good condition, 18 percent in fair and 61 percent in poor condition. The findings come amid fierce debate over which wetlands warrant federal protection and what those protections should look like, including an EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule to increase the number of streams and wetlands that receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Can urban farms be more than community hubs?

When fresh food sprouts on urban rooftops, floating barges, and in once-abandoned buildings and schoolyards, people take notice. But are these farms good for more than turning urban blight into tomato blossoms? A new report suggests that many of us might be seeing the benefits of urban farming through rose-colored glasses. The Center for a Livable Future reviewed 167 studies on urban agriculture (looking mainly at community gardens) and found mixed results. First, the good news: The research links urban farming to better access to fresh foods (at lower prices), potential reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved carbon sequestration, workforce training opportunities, increased property values, and opportunities for community involvement. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Bayer said to explore bid for $40 billion seed company, Monsanto

Germany's Bayer is rumored to be pitching a bid to buy U.S. chemicals giant Monsanto, which is valued at $40 billion. The two companies have held preliminary talks, and with advisers, with discussions including how to finance the deal. If the deal goes ahead, it would create the world's largest farming chemicals and seeds company; Bayer also makes pharmaceuticals. Last year the world's biggest asset swap deal saw drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis swap $20 billion of marketed and pipeline drugs. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Farmers want control of ag data, survey shows

Agricultural producers overwhelmingly want to be in control of the “big data” they collect and use on their operations, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey, conducted with about 400 participants the first four months of this year, showed that 77 percent of farmers are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the entities that can access the data generated by new precision technology on farm machinery and whether the information could be used for regulatory purposes. A similar survey in 2014 had the figure at 78 percent. The survey also showed support for a data management system similar to what is being developed by Ag Data Coalition, of which AFBF is a founding member. Read the full article.

International Corner

(TOP) ~ U.N. experts find weed killer glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer

The pesticide glyphosate, sold by Monsanto in its Roundup weed killer product and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, is unlikely to cause cancer in people, according to a new safety review by United Nations health, agriculture and food experts. In a statement likely to intensify a row over its potential health impact, experts from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) said glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans" exposed to it through food. It is mostly used on crops. Having reviewed the scientific evidence, the joint WHO/FAO committee also said glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic in humans. In other words, it is not likely to have a destructive effect on cells' genetic material. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Science gets little attention in Australian budget

Science got barely a mention in Australia’s 2016–17 federal budget released last week. Total spending won’t be known until someone tallies the line items scattered across government departments. But there is little to suggest any recovery from the $2.2 billion decline in support for science, innovation, and research since 2014. It was “no surprise that there is little new for science in [the] budget,” says Catriona Jackson, CEO of Science and Technology Australia in Canberra, the country’s top scientific society. It was cautiously crafted, being released days before Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to call a federal election. The one big-ticket item for science in the budget, announced in Canberra last night by treasurer Scott Morrison, is $820 million for the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), launched last December. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Good rain forecast for parched India lifts growth prospects

After back-to-back droughts battered India’s farmers, a forecast for above-normal rainfall this year is brightening the outlook for Asia’s third-largest economy. Economists at DBS Bank Ltd., State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Plc say India’s gross domestic product this year may grow more than they previously predicted if the monsoon is as good as the government’s initial forecast in April. The June-September rains water more than half of the nation’s farmlands, making them crucial for the more than 70 percent of Indians who depend on agriculture.  A revival in the countryside would ignite another engine for India’s economy, which is expanding below potential despite boasting the fastest growth rate among major emerging markets. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ African farmers need the tools and technology to adapt to a changing climate

Climate change has condensed the cycles of devastating drought, and agriculture across Africa and the world is feeling the heat. Lack of rain in southern Africa delayed this year’s planting season by up to two months. Planted areas have shrunk, crops have wilted and food production in South Africa is already down 25%. Meanwhile, far to the north in Ethiopia, the worst drought in 30 years threatens the food security of more than 10 million people, and in neighboring Somalia, around 3 million people have been hit by crop failures and food shortages. Across Africa and the globe, farmers need tools and technologies that will enable them to adapt to a changing climate. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ Head of Taiwan's Academia Sinica resigns

The head of Academia Sinica, Taiwan's collection of national laboratories, stepped down yesterday under pressure for alleged insider stock trading and a conflict of interest. Wong Chi-Huey, a biochemist, had been president of Academia Sinica since 2006 and was close to completing his second 5-year term of office. The controversy centers on the Taiwanese startup pharmaceutical company OBI Pharma, which had developed a treatment for breast cancer. On 21 February, the company announced that the treatment had shown mixed results in a clinical trial, falling short of its primary goal of progression-free survival but showing some benefit for certain patients. The stock price immediately slumped. Wong was later quoted in Taiwanese media as saying the company still had promise. Read the full article.

(TOP) ~ U.N. climate science chief: it's not too late to avoid dangerous temperature rise

The head of the United Nations climate science panel has declared it is still possible to avoid a dangerous 2C increase in global warming – despite more than a dozen record hot years since 2000. But the costs could be “phenomenal”, he said. In an interview with the Guardian, Hoesung Lee, the leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), defied the bleak outlook of climate scientists who warn the world is hurtling to a 2C rise far faster than anticipated. Governments set 2C as the danger limit for global warming at the Paris climate conference last year – and agreed to work to limit warming to 1.5C. Read the full article.

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

(TOP) ~ Renewable Natural Resources Foundation Awards

RNRF has three annual awards to recognize outstanding achievements in the renewable natural resources fields. The Sustained Achievement Award recognizes a long-term contribution and commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources by an individual. The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes a project, publication, piece of legislation, or similar concrete accomplishment. The Excellence in Journalism Award honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources. It recognizes work by an individual, group, or organization. Deadline, June 3. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Project Development for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biopower

This FOA will identify, evaluate, and select applications proposing project development and execution plans for the manufacture of Advanced or Cellulosic Biofuels, bioproducts, refinery compatible intermediates, or biopower in a domestic pilot or demonstration scale Integrated Biorefinery (IBR). The FOA seeks applications for projects to first design, and then construct and operate IBR facilities. There will be a down-select review between the design phase (Phase 1) and the construction/operation phase (Phase 2). The FOA will include three topic areas as follows: 1) Pilot scale production of Biofuels from high impact cellulosic, algal, or biogas feedstocks; 2) Demonstration scale production of Biofuels from high impact cellulosic, algal, or biogas feedstocks; and 3) Production of either biopower or Biofuels from biosolids and other allowable Wet Waste Feedstock streams. Concept paper deadline, June 6. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program

Within the states and territories, the Cooperative Extension System has repeatedly served as the trusted community organization that has helped to enable families, communities, and businesses to successfully prepare for, respond to and cope with disaster losses and critical incidents. Once a disaster has occurred, the local extension outreach includes: 1) Communicating practical science-based risk information, 2) Developing relevant educational experiences and programs, 3) Working with individuals and communities to open new communication channels, and 4) Mitigating losses and facilitating recovery. NIFA intends to fund Special Needs projects to implement applied scientific programs that serve public needs in preparation for, during and after local or regional emergency situations. Deadline, June 13. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Stave-Level Conservation Innovative Grants

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Proposals will be accepted from the following several states. See the links for full announcement details and deadlines.

Rhode Island – Deadline June 3

South Dakota – Deadline June 17

Pennsylvania – Deadline June 24

(TOP) ~ Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge

Throughout the world, increasingly fragile coastal and inland lake ecosystems face a common and persistent threat; "dead zones" caused by hypoxia continue to challenge the integrity and productivity of environments that are home to a diverse biota and highly valued natural resources. Dead zones result from excess nutrients flowing from rivers to near-shore areas. Though hypoxia is often thought of as a challenge particular to the northern Gulf of Mexico dead zones are a problem of global proportions.  The Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Challenge seeks innovative in-field solutions to combat hypoxia, a deadly deficiency of oxygen in water created by the excessive growth of phytoplankton. The Challenge will seek innovative in-field solutions that will reduce crop fertilizers and runoff, with the goal of combatting hypoxia and global "Dead Zones". Deadline, June 30. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Conservation, Food and Health Foundation

The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation seeks to promote the conservation of natural resources, improve the production and distribution of food, and improve health in the developing world. The foundation helps build capacity within developing countries in its three areas of interest with grants that support research or projects that solve specific problems. The Conservation, Food & Health Foundation supports special projects and programs of non-governmental organizations in three primary fields of interest: conservation, food, and health. Concept paper deadline, July 1. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists

Science/AAAS and SciLifeLab, a coordinated effort of four universities, have joined forces in creating the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. Both Science/AAAS and SciLifeLab recognize that global economic health is dependent upon a vibrant research community and we need to incent our best and brightest to continue in their chosen fields of research. Considering the difficult economic environment, we feel it is important to provide extra encouragement to young scientists as they begin their scientific careers. Each year, the grand prize winner will receive a prize of US$30,000; each of the three category winners will receive US$10,000. The grand prize winning essay will be published in Science and essays from the three category winners will be published online. Science/AAAS and SciLifeLab look forward to reviewing the research findings from future entrants. Application deadline, August 1. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Water for Agriculture Challenge Area

This AFRI Challenge Area addresses critical water resources issues such as drought, excess soil moisture, flooding, quality and others in an agricultural context. Funding will be used to develop management practices, technologies, and tools for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, public decision makers, public and private managers, and citizens to improve water resource quantity and quality. The long-term goal of the AFRI Water for Agriculture Challenge Area is to tackle critical water issues by developing both regional systems for the sustainable use and reuse, flow and management of water, and at the watershed and farm scales, water issues focused on production and environmental sustainability efforts. Project types supported within this Challenge area are multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects and Food and Agricultural Enhancement (FASE) Grants. Deadline, August 4. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ AFRI - Foundational Program

The AFRI Foundational Program is offered to support grants in the six AFRI priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge critical for solving current and future societal challenges. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Single-function Research Projects, multi-function Integrated Projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants are expected to address one of the Program Area Priorities. Deadline, September 30. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area

In the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area specific program areas are designed to achieve the long term outcome of reducing the national dependence on foreign oil through the development and production of regionally-appropriate sustainable bioenergy systems that materially deliver advanced liquid transportation biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. Deadline, September 22. Read the full announcement.

(TOP) ~ Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

The National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 STEM teachers. The program invites creative and innovative proposals that address the critical need for recruiting and preparing highly effective K-12 STEM teachers, especially in high-need local educational agencies. The program offers four tracks: Track 1: The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships and Stipends Track, Track 2: The NSF Teaching Fellowships Track, Track 3: The NSF Master Teaching Fellowships Track, and Track 4: Noyce Research Track.  In addition, Capacity Building proposals are accepted from proposers intending to develop a future Track 1, 2, or 3 proposal. Deadline, September 6. Read the full announcement.

Sources: USDA; EPA; NSF; RNRF; DOE-SC; The CFH Foundation; AAAS; ScienceInsider; The Hagstrom Report; AgroNews; The Hill; National Geographic; Reuters; NPR; Civil Eats; Bloomberg; Agri-Pulse; LA Times; The Guardian;

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.