State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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March 2, 2012, Fargo

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Approved Minutes - March 2, 2012
NDSU - Fargo, ND


The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met at the AES Greenhouse Complex, NDSU, in Fargo, ND beginning at 8:30 a.m. on March 2.  Members present were Robert Bahm, Mike Beltz, Chris Boerboom, Tom Borgen, Bob Christman (for Doug Goehring), Jerry Effertz, Ken Grafton, Rodney Howe, Jerry Klein, Paul Langseth, Doyle Lentz, and JoAnn Rodenbiker.

Chairman Howe called the meeting to order, made introductions, and asked for additions to the agenda.  Minutes of the February 3 SBARE meeting were approved as distributed.

Chris Boerboom updated SBARE on recent Extension activities:

1.      An offer was extended for the Extension soil health position, but candidate declined and search continues.

2.      Livestock stewardship interviews are complete and an offer will be extended.

3.      The search for Extension director has been extended until March 30.

4.      There is a good pool of candidates for the Extension potato position (jointly funded with MN).

5.      A committee is screening 19 applications for the Extension bioenergy position.

6.      Area soil health specialists begin this month at Langdon and Minot.

7.      Searches for area agronomists at Langdon and Minot are in process.

Boerboom also stated that Extension has sponsored several workshops to help deal with consequences of the oil boom in North Dakota, with a recent event in Lansford attended by nearly 250.

Rodney Howe reported that the search for a new Chancellor of the North Dakota University System is progressing and he noted that the importance of agriculture is evident in the process.

Ken Grafton reported that Sreekala Bajwa began her responsibilities as chair of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering on February 28 and Frank Casey is now back to serving solely as interim director of the School of Natural Resource Sciences.  Grafton added that Paul Nyren has retired as director of the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and that Greg Lardy will chair a committee to search for a replacement.

Chairman Howe talked about the budget planning process and encouraged board members to speak up and seek clarification as needed to make progress toward a final ranking today.  He reminded SBARE that adequate time has been allowed for stakeholder input and it is important now to move the critical/essential pieces to the top of a priority list and remain unified in the process.

Howe noted that he had received additional contacts regarding support for Central Grasslands initiatives from Karen Smith; support for continuation of the wine and grape initiative; and support for Agri-Health.

Chris Boerboom responded to a question about “orphans” in the initial priority list when items ranked below 15 were excluded.  Boerboom indicated that he had tried to insert those items where they seemed to fit best.

Boerboom distributed information that detailed where Extension specialists are located throughout the state to help SBARE members understand where needs are the greatest. 

Ken Grafton responded to questions about the research initiative bundles and explained how the dollars would be used.  He stressed the need to secure adequate resources to allow scientists to be successful and viable.

Chairman Howe expressed concern with the number of FTEs included in the initiative bundles and asked if it would be more palatable to use a phased approach to reduce the requested FTEs this year.  Grafton reminded the board that the list identifies the needs and it is the responsibility of the board to determine if the list needs to be pared down or some positions phased in, noting that he would be able to help to identify most critical areas.  Grafton also stressed that research is personnel driven.

Paul Langseth stated the SBARE process is difficult but most important to the budget cycle.  Langseth expressed concern with the high ranking of the bioinformaticists and genomicist.  He also reminded SBARE that the legislature has provided funding for the wine and grape group in the past and it would be unfortunate if they did not receive some support since there is a lot of interest.

Jerry Effertz agreed with Langseth about the significance of the SBARE budgeting process.  He indicated he was somewhat troubled by the large bundles and said he was concerned about suggesting a need for all or nothing.

Doyle Lentz said he felt it was time to move ahead with the input that has been collected.

Tom Borgen indicated support for NDAWN and noted that programs/projects can appear fractured if not bundled.

Bob Bahm said it was difficult for him to rank the initiatives bundled and noted that he would prefer to break the items apart.  Bahm asked to revisit the western energy initiative indicating that he has received calls about it.

Jerry Effertz questioned the need to create new FTE’s and questioned why more people’s work can’t be redirected to accommodate needs. 

Mike Beltz indicated that he feels high priorities trump caution, stressing that the high ranking priorities are justified. 

JoAnn Rodenbiker recommended that resources to support western energy research should be explored through other sources and that soft funds would make the most sense for the type of work that needs to be done in that area.

Jerry Klein reminded the board that the budget needs to be sold as a return on investment.  He noted that there may be a need to simplify some of the language used in the initiative packages so it becomes more explainable.  Klein agreed that decisions are difficult but also noted the importance of being unified in making the decisions.

Chairman Howe asked board members if they would be willing to reconsider western energy and agri-health in their initiative deliberations.

Mike Beltz stated that it would become extremely complicated at this time to reconsider initiatives previously ranked.

Bob Christman indicated there are currently efforts through the Industrial Commission to address western energy issues and it would be premature to ask for those funds through the legislature.

Rodney Howe said he has asked the governor’s office to consider a plan to address living costs in western North Dakota.

Bob Bahm made a motion, seconded by Jerry Effertz, to reconsider initiatives relating to agri-health and western energy.  Paul Langseth suggested leaving things as they are and moving ahead.  Tom Borgen agreed.  The motion failed.

Board members reviewed the research bundles to determine if there were areas to streamline or adjust the ranked initiatives.

Regarding the AES Crops initiative, Paul Langseth made a motion to recommend support for only one bioinformaticist, seconded by Mike Beltz.  The motion passed.

Regarding the AES Enhancing Research Capacity at REC’s initiative, Mike Beltz made a motion to reduce technical support across the board to one FTE at each center, seconded by Tom Borgen.  Motion passed.

Regarding the AES Livestock initiative, Paul Langseth made a motion to change staff number request for Vet Diagnostic Lab to two.  Bob Bahm seconded the motion, which passed.

Ken Grafton indicated that FTEs in initiatives six and seven could be dropped and not considered for this biennium.

Regarding the Extension Livestock Development initiative, Paul Langseth made a motion to support funding for two area livestock specialists rather than four, with specifics to be determined by administration.  Mike Beltz seconded the motion, which passed.

Following a break for lunch the board reconvened and discussed the streamlined initiatives and whether to rank with dollars associated.  Mike Beltz made a motion to rank initiatives as bundled without dollars attached, emphasizing that SBARE’s charge is to address needs.  Doyle Lentz seconded the motion, which passed.

While the initiative rankings were collected and tabulated, Paul Langseth reviewed the three options for seed cleaning mills that he had previously presented to SBARE.

Mike Beltz made a motion to support Option C.  The motion failed for lack of a second.

Tom Borgen made a motion to support Option B.  Doyle Lentz seconded the motion.  Following discussion the motion passed.

Rodney Howe called on the four research Extension center directors involved in the seed cleaning mill requests to express their wishes relative to the three options for consideration.

Blaine Schatz, Carrington Research Extension Center, said after thoughtful consideration and looking long term at the bigger picture, he supports the stationery mill option.

Jerry Bergman, Williston Research Extension Center, stated that he also prefers the stationery mill option, phasing in centers over a period of time.

Jay Fisher, North Central Research Extension Center, also indicated support for a fixed structure, noting the need to address the future of the industry.

Randy Mehlhoff, Langdon Research Extension Center, indicating a mobile mill would provide a better return on investment at Langdon.

Following the directors’ comments, JoAnn Rodenbiker suggested separating the seed cleaning plants into four under the ranking, but then made a motion to reconsider the previous motion which approved support for Option B.   Jerry Klein seconded the motion.

Doyle Lentz moved to re-rank the top six capital projects.  Mike Beltz seconded the motion, which passed.

Ballots were distributed and board members ranked the list of capital improvement projects.  SBARE members talked about submission of capital requests to the State Board of Higher Education.  Following the discussions, Doyle Lentz made a motion to submit to the SBHE the top three capital projects, as ranked, and to include the additional three items on the list.  Tom Borgen seconded the motion, which passed.

Dave Ruhland, Agriculture Budget Director, distributed copies of the ranked initiatives with associated dollars added to the lists.

Following review of the ranked lists, Paul Langseth made a motion to approve the list of Extension initiatives as presented.  JoAnn Rodenbiker seconded the motion, which passed.

Mike Beltz made a motion to approve the list of research initiatives as presented.  Bob Bahm seconded the motion, which passed.

Rodney Howe indicated to board members that the additional funding for the Dickinson oil revenue will be submitted as an unranked line item.

Chris Boerboom reminded SBARE that the Extension one-time funding requests are for the Soil Conservation Service and video conferencing equipment updates.  He also noted the capital request for the western 4-H camp.

Dave Ruhland, Agriculture Budget Director, distributed copies of the ranked capital projects with associated dollars added to the list for SBARE review.

Chairman Howe announced that the next SBARE meeting may be in May or June.

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Recorded by Margaret Olson


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