State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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February 18-19, 2010, Devils Lake

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Approved Minutes – February 18-19, 2010
Devils Lake, ND

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met at the Ransom County Courthouse in Devils Lake beginning at 1 p.m. on February 18, 2010.  Members present were Bob Bahm, John Bollingberg, Tom Borgen, Wayne Carlson (for Doug Goehring), D.C. Coston, Jerry Effertz, Carol Goodman, Ken Grafton, Duane Hauck, Rodney Howe, Doyle Johannes, Jerry Klein, Paul Langseth, and Larry Lee.

Chair Rodney Howe called the meeting to order and introductions were made.  Larry Lee asked to add the following agenda item: the relationship between the North Dakota State Seed Department and the NDSU Research Foundation.

The minutes of the January 15 SBARE meeting were approved with a correction to the list of members attending.

Ken Grafton provided the following update:

  1. The search for a plant sciences chair is ongoing as two candidates interviewed were not acceptable.
  2. ABEN Chair Les Backer has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2010.  Grafton noted the position will not be filled immediately because college funds associated with the position were returned to the university’s budget to help with a shortfall.
  3. NDSU Variety Release Committee met recently and approved release of three specialty soybean varieties and a durum wheat variety, Tioga.

Grafton called on Blaine Schatz, Carrington Research Extension Center Director, to clarify a statement that was made at the January SBARE meeting.  Schatz confirmed that GMO flax is a brown flax, not to be confused with other atypical flax varieties.

Several board members raised questions about the return of college funds to the university budget.  Following discussions, Jerry Effertz made a motion that in view of the challenges SBARE has in meeting the timelines established by the SBHE, and the apparent lack of oversight, the SBARE budget be removed from the SBHE and report directly to the Office of Management and Budget.  The motion was seconded by John Bollingberg.

Board members discussed the issues of budget oversight and the apparent bureaucracy associated with working through the SBHE system.  Howe reminded the board that because NDSU is a land grant institution and there are laws associated with that status, SBARE needs to be cautious.

Larry Lee made a motion to amend the motion to explore implications and relationship of removing connection with SBHE.  Doyle Johannes seconded the amendment which was supported unanimously. 

Chair Howe entertained a motion to table the amended motion until more information is gathered.

Following discussion, the board passed the amended motion on a vote of 5-3.

Howe told SBARE he would visit about the issue with Lt. Governor Jack Dalrymple, OMB, Legislative Council and Senator Klein and report back to the board.

Ken Grafton talked about a feature in the current “Science” magazine which references the importance of support for agricultural research.  He agreed to share copies of the article with board members.

Duane Hauck reported:

  1. Glenn Muske has accepted the position of Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise specialist, a position funded in the last legislative session.
  2. Appreciation to SBARE for their action in submitting a letter to the congressional delegation in support of federal funding for Extension.
  3. The Extension Service is gearing up and preparing for potential statewide flooding.

As a matter of business, Chairman Howe reminded board members that, by law, they will be reimbursed for expenses and compensation for regularly scheduled SBARE meetings.  Compensation and travel for other meetings/events must be preapproved by SBARE chair.

Larry Lee expressed concern about the breakup of the long-standing relationship between the North Dakota State Seed Department and the NDSU Research Foundation, and asked about the long-term implications of the relationship issues to public varieties.

Ken Grafton, who serves on both the North Dakota State Seed Department and NDSU Research Foundation Boards, talked about the history related to the relationship and what led to problems with the contracts.  He indicated there have been efforts to resolve the board differences to no avail.

In the essence of time, Effertz recommended that the SBARE chair appoint three people to check into the implications and report back to SBARE.  Chairman Howe indicated he would take the recommendation under advisement.

Chair Rodney Howe called on Duane Hauck to begin review of the Extension proposed program themes/initiatives.  Hauck explained each program theme and answered questions associated with the initiatives.

Ken Grafton began review of the AES proposed program themes.  To present a more complete opportunity for discussion, it was decided that the meeting would adjourn at 5 p.m. and Grafton would continue the briefing when the board reconvenes in the morning.

Prior to adjournment Senator Jerry Klein told SBARE that based on some recent conversations, there is a significant feeling of a national trend to reign in spending and he anticipates North Dakota legislators will tend to be more fiscally conservative, as well.  He reminded SBARE to keep that in mind as they prepare budget requests.

SBARE reconvened at 8 a.m. on Friday, February 19, 2010.  The following board members were present:  Bob Bahm, John Bollingberg, Tom Borgen, Wayne Carlson (for Doug Goehring), Carol Goodman, Jerry Effertz, Ken Grafton, Duane Hauck, Rodney Howe, Doyle Johannes, and Paul Langseth.

Ken Grafton continued his review of the proposed program themes/initiatives.  Board members had few questions or comments on the AES initiatives.

Rodney Howe called on Duane Hauck to talk about other needs for the NDSU Extension Service and Hauck noted the following considerations:

  1. Building concept at Western 4-H Camp
  2. One-time funding to upgrade IVN centers
  3. One-time funding to upgrade land valuation model for Agribusiness and Applied Economics
  4. The State Soil Conservation Committee has questioned where they fit in the budget planning, noting they are included in the NDSU Extension Service budget.

Ken Grafton initiated discussion regarding deferred maintenance and capital projects for the AES.  He distributed handouts outlining the needs and priorities prepared and agreed to by research Extension center directors.  He stated that finishing the greenhouse project is priority, noting the project has been in the works for many years and it is important to move on to other areas of need.

Grafton indicated that agronomy laboratories at Carrington, Hettinger Langdon and Streeter need consideration for updates, if not this year, it will be important in the next biennium.  He noted several issues of concern, one of the most important being safety.

In reviewing the list of capital needs, Jerry Effertz asked if the seed cleaning facility and agronomy labs at Carrington could be in one building.  Ken Grafton responded that seed cleaning is a very dusty activity and the agronomy lab would house very sophisticated equipment that could be damaged by cleaning activities.

Grafton told SBARE that he recommends working on plant priorities this legislative session and submitting livestock/animal needs in the 2013 session.  Effertz asked if would be feasible to combine agronomy and livestock labs to get the best value, but Blaine Schatz, Carrington REC director, stressed that they are two very different programs/projects with very different needs.

In response to questions about the need for the seed conditioning plants, Grafton stated that the current facilities are not functional and do not fit the crops.  He added there is need to incorporate new technologies.  Grafton stated that the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association recently supported a resolution to update the seed cleaning facility at Minot and he indicated that there are parallel issues/concerns at Carrington, Williston and Langdon - all poor facilities for today’s state-of-the-art needs.

In reviewing the proposed requests, Rodney Howe said the amounts requested seemed high for some projects and that may make for a hard sell in the Legislature.  He stressed the need for justification in presenting to legislators.

In response to Howe’s concern about the accuracy of the project estimates, Grafton reminded SBARE that estimates now need to include equipment and demolition costs per SBHE guidelines.  He told the board that the REC directors voted on the recommendations and now SBARE needs to provide their input, adding he realizes that it is likely not everything will be funded.

Carol Goodman reminded board members that the individuals working with the programs/projects prepared the priority list and it is important to respect their expertise.

After the discussions, Chairman Howe asked board members if they would like to work on preliminary program prioritization today or if they would prefer to take more time. 

Carol Goodman stated that she would not be happy to see individual initiatives go forward for funding and that it is imperative to emphasize the SBARE process.

Ag administrators said they would like some sort of direction from the board prior to the March 5 meeting in Bismarck.  In response, Paul Langseth suggested board members take the ranking sheets home, rate the program themes by high, medium or low importance and return to Margaret Olson for tabulation by mid-week (February 24-25). 

Howe reminded board members the next SBARE meeting will be in Bismarck on March 5.

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

Recorded by Margaret Olson


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