- Author: Wendy Powers
During our meeting this week, NIFA Director Scott Angle met with the group and shared a number of updates. Things are moving quickly to relocate NIFA to Kansas City. About a dozen staffers and 8 program people will remain in DC. Program staff have until the end of this week to apply to remain in DC. While it's disheartening to think about UC ANR's budget this coming year, I can't even imagine how those within NIFA feel about things. Director Angle talked about NIFA priorities, citing that efforts will focus on 5 areas: climate change, nutrition and health, policy, artificial intelligence, and sustainable intensification. This isn't new information though he emphasized that NIFA is committed to addressing climate change which is a bit of a different direction than previous messages that have come out of USDA. We also heard about plans to take a look at the capacity fund allocation method. It's unclear what this means but good to know it is coming. Hopefully it means good things for California.
We heard quite a bit about the matching requirement for NIFA funds. Efforts are underway to have a fix in place for next year's call for proposals. Unfortunately, there isn't a fix for the current RFA. Rumor has it Glenda played a big role in conversations to make headway.
We received an update from National 4-H Council. Good things are happening there. Mary Ciricillo's success in receiving $60,000 as a result of Foundation efforts was called out. And Fe Moncloa's co-leadership of the Access, Equity, and Belonging Committee was recognized for the resources under development. Of particular interest was a True Leaders in Equity Institute that was held in DC in April. Take a look at what some of the participants shared about what equity means to them.
It has been fun to hear what's going on in other states. Ten schools in Albuquerque, previously rated as ‘failing' now have 4-H Fridays where the last hour of the day is a 4-H meeting. Every student goes to a ‘club classroom' and works on projects. Attendance during the week and completed homework assignments are required in order to participate in the club that week. The result – better attendance, better grades, excitement over school! In Oregon, OSU Extension has partnered with REI to launch an outdoor economy initiative. Non-profits, for-profits, and agencies will be engaged as partners as the initiative develops.
I'm ready to head back to CA and put my new knowledge to use. If the ambient temp is going to be in the high 90's I would rather have that at home.
- Author: Wendy Powers
Last week it rained in southern California. And no one warned me. Despite that, it was a productive trip to the South Coast REC to talk about a different model for calculating recharge rates. No surprise that Chris, Darren, Kat, Deb and Lisa were way ahead of the topic and had an approach ready to propose. It made for easy work that will meet the goals of providing a better experience for the researcher by being able to provide multi-year rates at time of proposal submission. The researcher costs would be guaranteed for specified services and space, thus eliminating the uncertainty of budgeting costs. Mid-October we will have the conversation at Kearney and then work with the remaining RECs to meet the same goals.
October is a busy month. My entire career, it seems that October, March and July have been heavy travel months. This position promises to maintain the trend. If I had more time, I'd like to hear the conversation next week at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research meeting to be held in Irvine, October 2 – 4. NAS conducted a study “to identify ambitious scientific opportunities in food and agriculture” and identified five focal areas for the Breakthroughs 2030 Study including Greener Plants, Greener Animals, Reducing Food Waste, Safer Food Supply, and Pathways for Resilience. These areas will be explored in greater depth by experts at the approaching "Jamboree Meeting" on October 2-4 in Irvine, CA. Anyone planning to attend?
Had the study identified ‘developing new foods' as a focal area, the study group might be interested in a news piece Ruth Dahlquist-Willard sent along about the moringa (http://abc30.com/2433622/). I had never heard of the moringa before. I suspect it might still be a while before I actually come across the ingredient on a menu, but it is good to know how it ties to CA and UC ANR.
This week I am in Philadelphia attending the annual Ag Experiment Station Directors meeting. NIFA presented a session on Big Data and talked about their upcoming listening sessions to seek stakeholder input on science opportunities. There is one in Sacramento on Nov 2 that I hope will be well attended by UC, including UC ANR. The Big Data session was interesting, particularly comments that Amazon and social media are the biggest contributors to big data – I typically think of remote sensing and automated data acquisition as sources of big data and don't give much thought to these other sources. I learned a lot in this session, including what the term georectification means and how it ties to deep learning used by Siri and Watson. I also learned about DRYAD – an open platform for sharing data. This might be of use to a MultiState Research Project that I have been involved with and now work with as the administrative advisor.
Next week, instead of heading south to Irvine, I head back east (Vermont) to the annual Extension Directors meeting. I preferred the arrangement last year when the Ag Experiment Station Directors and the Extension Directors met jointly, and in the west. I haven't looked at the agenda yet but hope to learn a few things there. I need to stay focused on the fact that I am the secretary and have to take minutes – not my strong suit and perhaps explains my calculus grade (the first time through).
In the meantime, more learning tomorrow, another manuscript to read, some position descriptions to wrap up before next week and what looks to be a full day in Davis on Friday. I will keep you posted how these progress.