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Lab assistant director recognized for F2F work

CNFA (Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture) named Jamie Rhoads, the assistant director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, the group’s volunteer of the year. Rhoads shares the honor with 30 volunteers in Southern Africa who worked together to train hundreds of farmers in peanut cultivation and aflatoxin management. 

As a response to pandemic-related travel restrictions, CNFA worked with the Peanut Innovation Lab to create a system that allowed local volunteers in Southern Africa to take the Peanut Innovation Lab’s online Groundnut Academy courses, then train farmers in what they had learned. As local volunteers and farmers learned through 57 training sessions in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Rhoads held question and answer sessions from the U.S. 

Volunteers also shared their experiences in the field with Rhoads and other volunteers. “Mr. Rhoads was always ready to engage with the local volunteers and had a wonderful rapport with them. The volunteers exhibited great enthusiasm over their assignments and despite often very poor internet always tried to participate in the question-and-answer sessions,” CNFA said in an announcement about the award. 

USAID seeking input on new nutrition program

USAID is seeking information from stakeholders to help shape a planned five-year activity on nutrition.

The Bureau for Global Health is designing a new nutrition activity to fill evidence gaps to improve outcomes through health systems while ensuring local partners design, implement, disseminate, and use such evidence for policies and programs. Four or five to-be-determined nutrition topic areas of health sector relevance will be the project’s center point, but the information collected through this RFI will help to refine the scope of the potential award.

USAID anticipates that the future activity will be funded for a period of five years.

The Request for Information has been translated into French and Spanish. Responses or questions should be sent to and no later than 5 p.m. EST on 3 October 2022 with “RFI” in the subject line.

Sustainable Intensification IL recruiting administrative employees

The Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) at Kansas State University‘s College of Agriculture is recruiting two Program Administrators to support the development of subcontract awards, research project monitoring, knowledge management, communication plans, and oversight of web-based reporting and event planning.

One program administrator will work together with the SIIL Director, and others to coordinate and monitor sub-award research projects, as well as implement SIIL’s knowledge management and communication strategies. The PA will produce communication materials for internal and external target audiences and coordinate SIIL events, scientific meetings, and other activities relevant to the oversight of the SIIL.

The second program administrator will be responsible for similar duties related to the HAUP-CEMARCH and iREACH initiatives. 

You can read more about the positions in detail at Kansas State’s jobs site.

Crop Improvement IL seeking social scientist

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement at Cornell University is looking for a research associate to lead on cross-cutting themes, including gender equity, youth inclusion, nutrition security, and resilience.

The research associate will work on numerous objectives in research, capacity development, and engagement, including developing and implementing an overall strategy for these cross-cutting themes and social inclusion for the innovation lab.

Candidates should have a PhD in a field related to anthropology, rural sociology, and/or related field with specialties in gender, youth, resilience and/or nutrition in development, with preference for candidates who have experience in cross-cutting theme-focused agricultural research and development. The candidate is expected to have demonstrated experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods and analysis. Previous experience with supervision, capacity strengthening/ teaching experience for adult learners/professionals, and contextual knowledge of research in agrifood systems and the environment in international contexts are essential. 

Fluency in English required, but the ability to communicate in other languages including Spanish, French, and/or Portuguese as well is preferred. 

 Apply by 26 August.

Wageningen Univ. seeks PhD student for Burkina

Wageningen University is advertising for a PhD candidate for a new position in Burkina Faso, co-supervised by a team of CIRAD, INERA and WUR-PPS researchers. This position will be part of the second phase of the 3F project, financed by the McKnight Foundation, and focus on “Increasing agrobiodiversity in Sudano‐Sahelian cropping systems ‐ Effect on ecosystem services and farm sustainability.” Deadline to apply is 30 August 2022.
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Extension agents honor Kemerait for work in US and world

UGA plant pathologist Bob Kemerait shows off healthy peanuts at the Isreal Farm on the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour. Kemerait stressed how important fungicide is to farmers’ success. (Photo by Allison Floyd)

Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia crop pathologist and longtime collaborator with the Peanut Innovation Lab, recently won the 2022 Service to American Agriculture Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Extension agents from both Georgia and Florida nominated Kemerait and – according to an announcement from the University of Florida – the nomination team had so much praise to give, their submission was 10,000 words, 10 times the maximum allowed. 

A professor of plant pathology at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station near Tifton, Georgia, Kemerait provides information about managing diseases that affect crops, such as peanut, cotton, corn, and soybean.

He also is passionate about mentoring students and young professionals, as well as offering his experience and knowledge to improve food security.

Dr. Patricia Wolff, founder and CEO of Meds and Foods for Kids in Haiti, offered examples of the ways Kemerait helps.

“He has improved the lives and livelihoods of smallholder peanut farmers in Haiti. Our list of skills needed was long and our list of skills available was short. He rolled up his sleeves and dug into our situation with excellent, pragmatic, and culturally appropriate problem-solving methods.”

A Haitian farmer said, “We’ve received shipments of rice but receiving handouts can take your dignity. This is the first person who said they want to help with the real agricultural base of our region.”  

Achola wins prestigious APRES award

Esther Achola works to understand where resistance to Groundnut Rosette Disease lies in the peanut genome.

Esther Achola won the prestigious Joe Sugg Award at this week’s American Peanut Research and Education Society meeting, presenting, “Novel loci for Resistance to Groundnut Rosette disease in Cultivated Peanut.”

The 54th Annual APRES meeting was held July 12-14 in Dallas, Texas, where 21 PhD and 12 master’s students presented, along with dozens of professionals working in weed science and entomology, food science, plant pathology production, genetics and extension. 

Achola, a PhD student at Makerere University in Uganda, is the first international student to win the award, as well as the first to win while presenting virtually. 

Achola works with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, helping to map the location within peanut’s genome for resistance to groundnut rosette disease. GRD is caused by a complex of viruses transmitted by aphids, and is the most serious disease threat in parts of Africa. By better understanding exactly where GRD resistance is within the peanut genome, breeders can quickly create varieties with different market attributes and reliance to other stresses, while also maintaining strong genetic resistance to GRD through marker-assisted breeding.

The overall project, Mapping GRV resistance, is headed by Josh Clevenger, a scientist who works at Hudson Alpha and who also won the Joe Sugg Award in 2016.