Jacobs-Young Announces Shanower as Acting NIFA Director

Media Contact: Damon Thompson, 202-720-1375

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education, Economics and Acting Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young announced today that Thomas Shanower will become Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Shanower will be replacing outgoing NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

“Dr. Shanower brings more than 20 years of experience in scientific research and management, and he will maintain a steady hand at the helm of NIFA,” said Dr. Jacobs-Young. “NIFAs’ support of the best and brightest scientists has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, explore new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. We salute Dr. Ramaswamy for his tireless enthusiasm at NIFA in support of agriculture-related research and education.”

Dr. Shanower comes to the post from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), where he served as the Associate Area Director for the Pacific West Area (PWA). From 2007 to 2015, he served as the Center Director for ARS’ Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas.
Raised in Naperville, Illinois, Shanower received a B.S. in Biology from Marietta College in Ohio, followed by a M.S. in Entomology from the University of Illinois. As a member of the Peace Corps, he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests in the Kingdom of Tonga (South Pacific) for 2½ years. After returning to the United States, he attended the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in Entomology in 1989. 
Dr. Shanower worked 8 years at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, and 2 years at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Bénin, West Africa. In 1998, he accepted a research entomologist position at the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, Montana, where his personal research focused on biological control of the wheat stem sawfly. He was research leader for the Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL from 2000 to 2007.

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/Impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA (link is external), #NIFAImpacts.


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April 20, 2018
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Kansas SBDC Cybersecurity Forum, April 25th in Manhattan, Ks.

Jeremy Jackson with Anneal Initiative, Inc. was the guest on Friday’s 580 WIBW Ag Issues program.  Jackson previewed the Kansas SBDC Cybersecurity Forum that will be held on April 25th in Manhattan, Kansas, which will include some agricultural components.  Jackson also discussed the abundance and severity of cyber threats in general.  To register for the Kansas SBDC Cybersecurity forum, go to https://ksbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/23618.

No Drought Relief in Latest 30 and 90-day Weather Outlooks


The latest 30-day weather outlooks for the month of May show the drought will not weaken its grip across the southwest part of Kansas and into the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. The 30-day temperature outlook for May shows most of the southern half of the United States will be warmer than normal. Most of the east coast will be normal than normal as well.  Most of Montana and North Dakota are forecast to have below normal temperatures during May.




The 30-day precipitation outlook for May calls for below normal precipitation chances across southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle extending back west through most of Colorado and New Mexico through most of northern California and the pacific northwest. Most of the east coast as well as a good portion of Montana, western North Dakota and northwest South Dakota will have above normal precipitation chances.



The 90-day weather outlook for May-July calls for Above normal temperatures across most of the central and southern plains including Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, southern Nebraska and a good portion of Missouri. A good portion of the eastern and western U.S. will also have above normal temperatures.



The 90-day precipitation outlook for May-July calls for equal chances for normal precipitation chances across much of the central U.S. Most of the eastern corn belt and northeast U.S. will have above normal precipitation chances.  The pacific northwest will have below normal precipitation chances.


Source: NOAA


The Kansas Drought Continues to Strengthen its Grip


The latest Kansas drought monitor map continues to show that over 83 percent of the state is in the midst of the 2018 drought. Over 27 percent of the state is in the D3 (Extreme Drought) or D4 (Exceptional Drought) categories.  Those areas are in southwest and a good portion of south central Kansas. It shows how dry it’s been since the start of the year when only 10 percent of the state was considered in drought conditions.

The area of D4 (Execeptional drought) continues to grow. The area extends from southwest Kansas, through the Oklahoma panhandle and northwest Oklahoma, the eastern part of the Texas Panhandle and goes back westward through far northeast New Mexico.

The worst of the drought areas have a better than decent chance to see some rains starting on Friday.


Source: National Drought Mitigation Center

Newsom: Wait and See Attitude in the Grains


Darin Newsom, Senior Ag Analyst with DTN/Progressive Farmer, said grain and oilseed markets are biding their time.  Weather is certainly one factor, with major HRW areas still much in need of moisture and corn planting far behind in many areas due to wet and cold conditions.  Another major factor that has yet to play out are NAFTA negotiations and the threat of Chinese tariffs on a wide range of U.S. agricultural products.


Kansas Ag Issues Podcast – 04/18/2018


Kansas House Bill HB 2618 better known as the Ad Astra Rural Jobs Act was the topic of discussion on Wednesday’s Ag Issues program. We were joined by Ab Basu, Executive Director with the Rural Jobs Coalition and Sandy Moore, Managing Director/Chief Impact Officer with Advantage Capital Partners. HB 2168 would create the Ad Astra Rural Jobs Act, which would authorize nonrefundable tax credit applicable to income, premium, or privilege taxes for taxpayers who contribute capital to an “approved investment company” to fund a “rural business concern” in a “rural area.”


4-H Youth is ‘Making a Difference’ One Community Food Pantry at a Time

“Kenzie” was a 10-year-old member of Jordan's Chapel and Bowevelle 4-H clubs when her life changed forever. “I did a speech, ‘Hunger in Our Communities,’ for a 4-H competition and learned how many people in my community and state suffer from hunger,” she said. “It was a problem right here!”

KAN Bonus Podcast: KS Gov Jeff Colyer Comments on China Taking More Action Against U.S. Grain Sorghum


The U.S. sorghum industry took another hit on Tuesday after China ordered importers of U.S. sorghum to pay deposits for possible higher tariffs in an anti-dumping investigation and adding to the growing trade conflict with Washington.

Tuesday’s preliminary ruling by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said U.S. sorghum was being sold at improperly low prices, hurting Chinese farmers. It said importers must post bonds of 178.6 percent of the value of their goods to cover possible anti-dumping duties while the probe is completed.

President Trump, back on January 22, hiked tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines and solar modules. The Chinese government launched the sorghum investigation on February 4 in what many saw as a warning shot after President Trump’s announcement.

The National Sorghum Producers released a statement, Tuesday morning, saying they are deeply disappointed by China’s Ministry of Commerce announcement stating U.S. sorghum is not being dumped in China, and U.S. sorghum producers and exporters have not caused any injury to China’s sorghum industry.

NSP says alongside their producers, stakeholders and partners, has cooperated fully with China’s antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, including submitted several thousand pages of data demonstrating conclusively that U.S. sorghum is neither dumped nor causing any injury to China. They say none of that information appears to have been seriously considered or used in the Ministry’s preliminary determination, which is neither fair nor appropriate.

The statement went on to say that NSP greatly values their Chinese customers and what has been a win-win business relationship between U.S. sorghum producers and their Chinese partners. They say Tuesday’s decision in China reflects a broader trade fight in which U.S. sorghum farmers are the victim, not the cause and that U.S. sorghum farmers should not be paying the price for this larger fight.

NSP says they along with their partners will continue to demonstrate that U.S. sorghum farmers are not injuring China and are evaluating all legal options moving forward.

Since the late January announcement of trade tariff hikes by the President, the U.S. has threatened to raise duties on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy. Beijing has responded with its own list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation.

Investigators concluded dumping of U.S. sorghum “substantially damaged” Chinese competitors, the Commerce Ministry said. It said prices of U.S. sorghum fell 13 percent from 2013 to 2017, while shipments increased 14-fold.

The ministry said results of a parallel anti-subsidy investigation of U.S. sorghum would be released later.

Kansas Ag Network’s Greg Akagi also spoke with Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, Tuesday afternoon about China’s announcement and the effects it would have on Kansas agriculture and the Kansas economy.