USDA BRIEFS

News Article -

~~Holland Named APHIS' Chief Information Officer~~Marilyn Holland has been selected as the chief information officer (CIO) and director of the information technology division for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In her new role, Holland is responsible for providing leadership related to the agency's information technology planning, design, application development, systems administration, telecommunications, security and information management, and customer support services.

~~Online WIREC Conference Report Launched~~As a follow-up to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008), the WIREC 2008 report will be posted online at

http://www.WIREC2008.gov. In addition, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a preliminary impact assessment of the pledges submitted to the Washington International Action Program at http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/wirec/pledges_08.html. The WIREC 2008 Report is a comprehensive overview of the three-day March conference which focused on crosscutting renewable energy policy issues: research and development; market adoption and finance; agriculture, forestry, and rural development; and involvement of sub-national authorities.http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-16585.pdf. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Aug. 20, see the FR Notice for further information.

~~USDA Seeks Comments on Sirex Woodwasp Program EA~~The Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared an environmental assessment relative to a proposed biological control program for Sirex woodwasp. The environmental assessment (EA) documents APHIS' review and analysis of environmental impacts associated with the proposed biological control program. The EA is available to the public for review and comment. The notice regarding this EA was published in the July 21 Federal Register (FR)

~~ARS Scientists Identify Wheat Fungal Disease Culprits with Molecular Genetics~~A new method that rapidly detects the "genetic fingerprints" of fungi responsible for millions of dollars in losses in western wheat has been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Pullman, Wash. Though not ready for commercial use, the real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays set the stage for building a comprehensive risk-management database that will help farmers decide the best way to counter the fungi, based on how many of them are present in the soil, as well as other factors such as prevailing conditions, the type of crop grown, and other variables. (Contact: Amy Mann or Bob Ehart)