[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 130 (Monday, July 8, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40689-40690]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-16204]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding the New Water 
Challenge Area Within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of web-based listening session and request for 
stakeholder input.

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SUMMARY: As part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's 
(NIFA) strategy to successfully implement the Agriculture and Food 
Research Initiative (AFRI), NIFA intends to initiate a new challenge 
area within AFRI in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 to address water issues. NIFA 
will be holding a web-based listening session in order to solicit 
stakeholder input on this new challenge area. It is open to the public 
and the focus of the listening session is to gather stakeholder input 
that will be used in developing the Request for Applications (RFA) in 
FY 2014. NIFA is particularly interested in input on how best to 
achieve the most impact, within budget constraints, in the early years 
of this new challenge area.
    All comments must be received by close of business on July 30, 
2013, to be considered in the initial drafting of the FY 2014 AFRI 
Water program RFA.

DATES: The web-based listening session will be held on Tuesday, July 
16, 2013, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). All 
written comments must be received by 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 30, 
2013.

ADDRESSES: The web-based listening session will be hosted using Adobe 
Connect. On July 16th, please access the following Web site, http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/afri-water/. In addition, audio conference 
call capabilities can be accessed at 1-888-858-2144, participant code 
1512861.
    You may submit written comments, identified by NIFA-2013-0010, by 
any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Email: AFRI@nifa.usda.gov. Include NIFA-2013-0010 in the subject 
line of the message.
    Fax: 202-401-1782.
    Mail: Paper, disk or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to 
AFRI; Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS), National 
Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 
2240, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2220.
    Hand Delivery/Courier: AFRI, IFPS, National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 3444, Waterfront 
Centre, 800 9th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
(NIFA) and reference to NIFA-2013-0010. All comments received will be 
posted to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Terri Joya, (202) 401-1282 
(phone), (202) 401-1782 (fax), or tjoya@nifa.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Additional Web-based Listening Session and 
Comment Procedures--Persons wishing to present oral comments during the 
web-based listening session on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 are requested

[[Page 40690]]

to pre-register by contacting Ms. Terri Joya at (202) 401-1282, by fax 
at (202) 401-1782 or by email to tjoya@nifa.usda.gov. Participants may 
reserve one 5-minute comment period. More time may be available, 
depending on the number of people wishing to make a presentation. 
Reservations will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. All 
other participants may provide comments during the web-based listening 
session if time permits, or submit written comments. All written 
comments must be received by close of business July 30, 2013, to be 
considered. All comments and the official transcript of the meeting, 
when they become available, may be reviewed on the NIFA Web page, 
http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri/afri_listen_session.html for 
six months. Additional AFRI Program-specific web-based listening 
sessions may occur after July 16, 2013 to obtain public comments for 
use in developing other AFRI RFAs. Dates and times will be posted to 
the following URL: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri/afri_faq_webinars.html.

Background and Purpose

    Significant variations from the historical rate of water supply and 
availability are projected to have major impacts on agricultural, 
forest, and range production systems. The new water program area within 
AFRI will be coordinated with, and leverage, efforts in other AFRI 
challenge areas, such as the Food Security, Food Safety, Climate 
Variability and Change and Sustainable Bioenergy challenge areas, and 
help solve critical water resource problems in rural and agricultural 
watersheds across the United States. The program will focus on 
developing solutions for water management that link food, water, 
climate change, energy, and environmental issues. Funding will be used 
to develop and transfer management practices, technologies, and tools 
for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, and citizens to 
improve water resource quantity and quality. NIFA's approach will link 
social, economic, and behavioral sciences with traditional biophysical 
sciences and engineering to address watershed- or aquifer-scale 
problems. NIFA has tentatively identified three critical topics that 
warrant immediate, comprehensive, and coordinated efforts in research, 
education, and extension. These three topics are: (1) Ensuring 
agricultural water security, addressing surface water, groundwater and 
reclaimed water needed to produce a wide array of agricultural goods 
and services now and into the future; (2) Improving nutrient management 
in agricultural landscapes with focus on nitrogen and phosphorous; and 
(3) Reducing impacts of chemicals of emerging concern and the presence 
and movement of waterborne pathogens in the landscape. Information 
regarding the AFRI program can be found at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri/afri.html. AFRI grants are authorized for FYs 2009-2013, 
of which the Secretary may retain no more than 4 percent for 
administrative costs. Grants will be awarded on the basis of merit, 
quality, and relevance and may have terms of up to 10 years. Subject to 
the availability of appropriations to carry out the research component 
of the AFRI program, the Secretary may award grants to State 
agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university 
research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; 
Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations or 
corporations; individuals; or any group consisting of two or more of 
the aforementioned entities. The integrated component of the AFRI 
program, the Secretary may awards grants to colleges and universities; 
1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and Hispanic-serving agricultural 
colleges and universities.

Implementation Plans

    NIFA plans to consider stakeholder input received from this web-
based listening session as well as other written comments in developing 
the FY 2014 solicitations for this program.

    Done at Washington, DC, this 26th day of June, 2013.
Sonny Ramaswamy,
Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2013-16204 Filed 7-5-13; 8:45 am]
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