State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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January 17, 2008, Mandan

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Approved Minutes - January 17, 2008
Seven Seas, Mandan, ND

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met at the Seven Seas in Mandan, North Dakota, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on January 17, 2008. Members present were Ole Aarsvold, Bob Bahm, John Bollingberg, Tom Borgen, Randy Christmann, D.C. Coston, Jerry Effertz, Carol Goodman, Ken Grafton, Duane Hauck, Rodney Howe, Doyle Johannes, Roger Johnson, Paul Langseth, Larry Lee, and Doyle Lentz.

Chairman Jerry Effertz called the meeting to order and called for introductions. Effertz indicated that the day’s agenda would provide an opportunity for research extension center directors to present overviews of each center’s activities and visit about budgetary needs.

Before the directors began their discussions with the board, Dan Wogsland, executive director of the North Dakota Grain Growers, introduced Byron Richard as the new president of the Grain Growers. Richard talked with SBARE about the industry, including the future, and expressed support for continued cooperation.

Following a motion by John Bollingberg, with a second by Paul Langseth, the minutes of the December 13 SBARE meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.

The following REC directors provided brief overviews of center activities and responded to questions:

Paul Nyren – Central Grasslands Research Extension Center

Chris Schauer – Hettinger Research Extension Center

Kris Ringwall – Dickinson Research Extension Center

Jerry Bergman – Williston Research Extension Center

Jay Fisher – North Central Research Extension Center

Roger Johnson reported that North Dakota will host the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) annual conference this September in Bismarck for the first time in history. He would like to find a way to show some of North Dakota’s prettiest crops in full bloom, even if it means viewing (sunflowers, canola, flax, etc.) in a greenhouse.

Chairman Effertz encouraged Commissioner Johnson to consider SBARE when planning the NASDA agenda, noting that SBARE is a one of a kind organization, and he would be willing to share information about the board with conference participants.

REC overviews continued with:

Blaine Schatz, Carrington Research Extension Center

Randy Mehlhoff, Langdon Research Extension Center

Randy Christmann reminded SBARE members that the Legislature appropriates money to implement worthy programs and added that he has concerns about using ag research and extension funds to support programs that should/could be covered through other agencies.

Tom Teigen, director of the Agronomy Seed Farm, gave an overview of the seed farm operations and explained why they do not request state appropriated money.

Teigen also updated the board on the potential sale of land adjacent to the Agronomy Seed Farm, indicating that the sheriff’s auction, scheduled to be held January 2, was called off and it is questionable if the acreage will actually come up for sale.

Lori Capouch, administrator for the Agricultural Research Fund, provided SBARE members with a synopsis of the fund, summarizing projects and funding available. She noted that many innovative research projects have been supported with ARF resources and the process often affords new researchers a way to break into the system.

Board members talked about the dwindling income from the gas tax and discussed the need to look for alternative ways to increase the funds available for distribution. Members were reminded that the Legislature did allocate $300,000 of general fund dollars to the fund during the last biennium.

Ole Aarsvold suggested sending out a press release encouraging individuals to apply for the gas tax refund to help increase the Agricultural Research Fund.

Ken Grafton talked with board members about the description of the "new and emerging crops" category in the ARF allocations and suggested it would be more inclusive if the words "minor crops" were used. Ole Aarsvold suggested such a revision could be made by ag administrators.

D.C. Coston shared the most recent status report regarding 2007 funded initiatives.

Duane Hauck reaffirmed that the extension positions funded by the 2007 Legislature were being filled, but added that the extension leadership continues to be concerned about the number of vacancies for county agents. Hauck also shared a copy of a national publication, "Strategic Opportunities for Cooperative Extension."

Ken Grafton spoke to SBARE about discussions he has had with Neal Fisher and Brian O’Toole of the North Dakota Wheat Commission, and Al Schneiter, head of the plant sciences department, about a review of the wheat research activities at NDSU. He said that because of the significant resources invested, this would be a fluid time to review and talk about what should be done if additional resources become available. O’Toole suggested the review be conducted by the SBARE Wheat Granting Committee.

Effertz reported that Paul Langseth and Larry Lee represented SBARE at the recent variety release meeting and they reported on the results. Effertz reminded the board that SBARE is allowed a vote at the variety release meetings and he asks SBARE members with experience in specific areas to participate in the meetings.

Effertz told board members that they have absorbed a lot of information over the past four months and there is an important function ahead. He said that ag administrators have prepared discussion papers that attempt to summarize all of the input that has been gathered.

Ken Grafton and Duane Hauck reviewed their summarized narratives with the board, identifying needs specified during input gathering sessions.

D.C. Coston told SBARE that the Grow 21 document used during the last legislative session received very positive feedback and there was encouragement to continue that process, emphasizing program efforts.

Effertz said that ag administrators would like board members to review the discussion papers and respond to Ken, Duane and D.C. with comments so they can refine the summaries, include associated dollars, and bring revised versions to the next meeting for SBARE discussion.

Paul Langseth reminded other board members that this is an extremely important responsibility and he encouraged them to review their materials carefully and work thoughtfully on their responses.

Doyle Johannes asked about the need for regional 4-H specialists and Duane Hauck explained the positions that are requested are state specialists that may be located outstate and he emphasized that they are not a replacement for county agents.

Doyle Lentz expressed concern about some terms used in the narratives and stressed the importance of using language that accurately describes program/initiative requests to avoid misunderstandings. D.C. Coston agreed and asked for suggestions to help with clarity.

Jerry Effertz reminded board members to email or phone in with comments, indicating that he feels it will be necessary to work on some sort of ranking at the February 11 meeting. He added that board members should consider whether everything has been covered and also be sure that the projects/programs that are considered can be sold to legislators.

D.C. Coston encouraged board members to respond with their input by January 31 to allow ag administrators time to refine the working narratives.

Board members discussed the process of evaluating and prioritizing the input received and suggested a decision should be made whether to rank all research and extension initiatives together on one list or if the programs should be evaluated and ranked separately.

Following discussion, Doyle Johannes made a motion, seconded by Larry Lee that SBARE consider and evaluate research and extension initiatives separately (two lists). The motion passed unanimously.

Effertz told board members it is important to keep in contact with individuals and constituents that have provided input throughout this budget planning process.

The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Recorded by Margaret Olson


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