State Board of Agricultural Research and Education

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February 4, 2003, Fargo

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Conference Call Minutes - February 4, 2003
Morrill 313, NDSU Campus

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education held a conference call at 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 4, 2003 originating in Morrill 313 at NDSU in Fargo. Members participating in the call were Sharon Anderson, Tom Archbold, Tim Bryan, Randy Christmann, Jerry Doan, Neal Fisher, Ed Goerger, Carol Goodman, Ken Grafton, Patricia Jensen, and Burdell Johnson.

Chair Jerry Doan welcomed Senator Randy Christmann, recently appointed to SBARE by the Legislative Council, and indicated the purpose of the call was to update board members on ag-related legislative matters.

Doan told the board that there has been a lot of misinformation about SBARE at the Capitol and that his SBARE leadership is being criticized. He emphasized to everyone that he has a passionate support for North Dakota agriculture and wants to make the SBARE system continue to work. He praised board members for their support and help with legislative contacts and their presence at ag-related legislative hearings.

Doan indicated that the subcommittee hearing last week for H.B. 1021 went well. Tim Bryan and Burdell Johnson attended the hearing and responded to committee member's questions regarding vacant positions in agriculture and programs associated with them. He said there were also questions about indirect costs and commodity group support. The subcommittee eliminated approximately 25 FTE from the research and extension budget and recommended accepting the remainder of the governor's budget as presented.

Ken Grafton told SBARE members that there was talk in Bismarck about salary increases and a raise in health insurance premiums for state employees and he said the shortage of funds for those items would create a terrible budget dilemma for NDSU agriculture.

Patricia Jensen added that if federal earmarks do not come through as expected the problem will be compounded because of resources budgeted from the earmarks for salaries.

Jensen shared an email message from Representative Phil Mueller stating his opposition to H.B. 1389. He said he plans to continue to oppose the bill, which would make significant changes to the legislation that created the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education.

Doan thanked the board for the great response at the hearing on H.B. 1389 last week. He said the representation and the positive testimony from many sent a clear message of support for SBARE and the process. Doan told board members not to let their guard down on this bill and to continue to press for continuation of the board as it is currently structured.

Burdell Johnson asked about changes in H.B. 1389 that reference removing SBARE's oversight of the NDSU Extension Service. Sharon Anderson stated that she would not be in favor of such an amendment. She told board members that she has talked with Keith Bjerke and told him that there is no reason to change anything at this time.

Neal Fisher said that he sees the biggest issue with H.B. 1389 to be that which makes it an advisory board.

Jerry Doan again indicated there is a lot of misinformation about agriculture being discussed and it is important for board members to continue to provide facts about SBARE's ag-related successes.

Burdell Johnson stated there is a legislative bill, which would create a beef systems center for excellence, being discussed. He suggested that Jody Hauge be asked to testify in support of the bill on SBARE's behalf. Board members concurred.

Cathy McDonald, NDUS finance director, told board members that the State Board of Higher Education recently voted to oppose H.B. 1389.

The conference call session adjourned at 9:00 a.m.

Recorded by Margaret Olson


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