State Board of Agricultural Research and Education

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September 13, 2013, NDSU Greenhouse Conference Room

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Minutes – September 13, 2013
NDSU Greenhouse Conference Room

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met at the NDSU Greenhouse conference room, NDSU campus on September 13, 2013. Board members in attendance were Leland (Judge) Barth, Mike Beltz, Tracy Boe, Chris Boerboom, Doug Goehring, Ken Grafton, Rodney Howe, Jerry Klein, Paul Langseth, Brian Leier, Doyle Lentz, Keith Peltier, JoAnn Rodenbiker, and Lyle Warner. Absent were Dean Bresciani and Richard (Dick) Roland. 

Chairman Beltz called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m., and noting that there was a quorum, welcomed everyone. He asked everyone to make introductions. New members Brian Leier and Lyle Warner shared a few words about themselves. Chairman Beltz asked for additions or corrections to the agenda. The addition of Chris Wilson, General Counsel, to the agenda was noted. Keith Peltier moved to approve the addition to the agenda, with Doyle Lentz seconding the motion. Chairman Beltz asked for additions or corrections to the meeting minutes from the previous SBARE meeting of June 14, 2013. Hearing none, the minutes were unanimously approved by the board as presented.

Administrative Reports from Drs. Grafton and Boerboom

Dr. Ken Grafton – North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) update:

Dr. Grafton expressed his thanks and appreciation for the support and hard work that SBARE does to help obtain funding for NDAES programs and needs.  Budget books were distributed to the board members. Five initiatives were brought forth from SBARE. Funds that were given for the RECs were distributed to the intended areas as planned. This includes enhancing research capacity at the RECs.  Technical and capital improvement requests received reasonable support and monies were distributed accordingly. Funds for filling needed positions at the RECs have been distributed so that hiring can move forward. Recent hires were announced: in Agribusiness and Applied Economics, Lei Zhang and Juan Murguia were hired; and in Animal Sciences, Lauren Hanna was hired.

Greenhouse progress: the new BSL3 area experienced a sensor glitch, resulting in a one to three month delay in completion of this area due to needed repair work. JLG Architects was contracted at the REC agronomy labs. Blaine Schatz said that they are at the stage now of looking at mockups and look to bid out, starting in November or so, with completion by the start of the next Legislative session.  Dr. Grafton discussed the relocation of the Ag Service Center and the possibility of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering expanding into the Ag Service Center area.

Dr. Chris Boerboom – NDSU Extension Service update:

Dr. Boerboom expressed his appreciation for the work that SBARE does and this process addresses needs exceedingly well. Referring to the budget books, Boerboom summarized the Extension Service budget from the last legislative session. Initiatives: #1) Agents-in-training positions (two) are in final hire stages; planning is also underway for interns next summer. #2) Area Livestock Specialist position was placed at Central Grasslands REC and the posting is receiving applications. Operational support for livestock economics program is currently in planning now. #3) Crop Protection: IPM & water quality support was removed and tech support remained; funds are allocated and being used. Entomologist position didn’t get funding. #4) Community Sustainability and #5) Parent Ed/Nutrition were not funded. The GUFK received a minor increase through the DPI budget.  

Additional budget items: $25K added for JMG for interns at Burleigh County. Also proceeding with plans for more interns. Soil conservation committee technical assistance funds have been allocated. Thirteen of the fourteen video conference systems have been purchased. The $950K fundraising match for the ND 4-H Camp was reached and a contract with JLG Architects is underway.

New hires in Extension this year: 12 agents, six state/area specialists, and three administrative positions filled (Wiederholt, Stoltenow, Kuhn); still recruiting for nine open positions. Looking ahead there are potentially 11 more retirement-eligible positions coming up to refill.

Ext Soil Health & Land Management team handout: this highlights the Share Farm and shows the collaborative project and great work going on. Back page shows demonstration areas that have been initiated by this project. A handout of an Economist article, “Farming as rocket science,” discusses how 4-H fits into bringing up a new generation of agricultural producers and experts.

The Emergency Commission met on 9/10/13 to approve funding from a pool to address some of the agency needs for staff out in the oil patch.  A total of $25K in funds was received by AES and Extension, and at this time the District Directors and Extension Director are discussing the best way to allocate these funds to support staff. Dr. Boerboom indicated that there were nine other agencies which received funds from the pool, and they had submitted budget lines during the last session. The ND House removed them, but the funds were bundled into this pool. If it is believed that this merits support in the future, we should look at budget lines for this funding in the future.

Christopher Wilson and Matt Hammer – General Counsel’s Office NDUS Fargo: Chris Wilson and Matt Hammer discussed open records, open meetings laws, and their scope. SBARE members were given opportunity to ask questions. Do SBARE committee meetings (small group meetings) constitute a public meeting? Yes. Any committee within SBARE does the work of a public entity. Even small committees consisting of three people will constitute a public meeting. In addition, email messages between a few members may qualify as an ‘open meeting’ (a quorum needed) – if decision-making and substantive matters are being discussed.

Chairman Beltz noted that the SBARE tour of Absaraka went well on the afternoon of Thursday, September 12.

Chairman Beltz announced dates for upcoming input sessions. The first will be Oct. 31 in Mandan, and then Nov. 19-20 in Fargo. Tentative dates also include Dec. 18, 2013 and Jan. 10, 2014. He reminded everyone that during hearings members should wear nametags and have place cards too. Chairman Beltz suggested members should have a group photo as well as individual photos on the website so constituents recognize the board. No objections were made. Chairman Beltz shared an idea to recognize past SBARE members at Harvest Bowl, and also wanted to develop a “Friend of SBARE” award to recognize people from outside the Board who show dedication in assisting SBARE in accomplishing its work. A motion was made by Rodney Howe to nominate Margaret Olson as the first recipient of the “Friend of SBARE.” The motion was seconded by Keith Peltier. Motion was passed.

Procedures and Structures: Chairman Beltz discussed seeking funding and how to do it: initiatives vs. line items. Both methods have been tried but have realized bigger gains in packaged initiatives. Chairman Beltz asked SBARE legislative representatives for their feedback and thoughts. Senator Klein stated he thought SBARE did a good job last time. Over time, the reason SBARE was initially created and what it is now might be largely unknown to many and thus there may be a lack of understanding of the purpose of SBARE. It was agreed that more awareness is needed on the role and responsibility of SBARE. Rodney Howe pointed out that all constituents are given an opportunity to come to hearings and make their needs known. Chairman Beltz stated it is important to educate ag commodity groups, legislators, and groups outside the ag industry who also have an interest in the future of North Dakota.

New appointments were made by Chairman Beltz:  Keith Peltier was appointed to lead a review of the seed cleaning plants and Judge Barth was appointed to explore options for the Ag Research Fund.

Dr. Debra Gebeke, Asst. Director for Extension Family and Consumer Sciences: Dr. Gebeke presented a program overview and was joined by other members from her unit. During question-answer time, discussion included the ‘Dining with Diabetes’ program – especially in the areas where there is high rates of diabetes, and educational efforts regarding non GMO and GMO products.  The Gearing Up For Kindergarten program was also discussed. Many board members were surprised to learn that 48% of ND kids are not ready for kindergarten; however this program is in place to address such issues. Discussion also centered on food handling and food safety statistics. An SBARE member commended the staff on the educational work related to canning and preserving. Also praised were the parenting programs being done in North Dakota by Extension.

Tour of new areas of greenhouse.

LUNCH.

1:07pm meeting resumed with Lori Capouch: Lori Capouch administers the Ag Research Fund on behalf of SBARE. She last addressed the SBARE board in 2007.  Started in 1998, the Ag Research Fund works with commodity groups to appoint granting committees, apportions funds to committees based on cash receipts from farm marketing in the previous fiscal year, issues calls for proposals, and reviews them for completeness and proper documentation. Members of the committees in the ARF help guide funding work. Matching funds and granting committees were explained. Majority makeup of the committees must consist of producers and they are the only members who vote. Ms. Capouch noted that funds are declining, primarily due to lower gas tax revenue. Annual collections started in 1998 with $714, 787 and have steadily declined. The current total of $215,212 is available, and is divided into percentages for each area (Major Crops, Livestock, New and Emerging Crops, etc.). Neal Fisher from the ND Wheat Commission offered some background on what was done in the past to raise money prior to the existence of the ARF. In the past, there was no allocation specifically for research. Legislators created SBARE as well as the ARF to be able to tackle agricultural issues via research.  In addressing the importance of the ARF to ND research, Dr. Grafton said the funds are always important, however recent funding levels have meant that researchers look elsewhere for grants. Mr. Fisher added that from the perspective of ND commodity groups, this fund is an important opportunity for them to interact with scientists and have valuable exchange.  One SBARE member suggested perhaps the Board consider asking for a general fund request to bolster the ARF and stabilize it. Discussion continued. Chairman Beltz asked for the board to approve the 2013-2014 ARF Committee List. Motion to approve was made by Rodney Howe and seconded by Judge Barth. Motion carried.

Adnan Akyüz – Climate Variability presentation: Dr. Akyüz expressed appreciation for NDAWN funding support. Most of the NDAWN stations’ requested improvements have now been realized thanks to the efforts of SBARE, and the result is that NDAWN can now offer near real-time information to our ND producers via the online network. This directly impacts their decision-making out in the field. Dr. Akyuz explained climate cycles over the earth’s history. He also discussed impacts of climate change and welcomed questions after the presentation.

Additional business for discussion: Drs. Grafton and Boerboom and REC Directors recently met with DOT staff and reported that the state fleet vehicle shortage is a major obstacle in Carrington (as well as some other RECs), especially in the summertime.  The DOT indicated that they are unable/cannot purchase additional vehicles at this time, but suggested that other entities make it known how restrictive the state fleet shortage has become and the impacts on conducting research.

Discussion moved to infrastructure needs/issues. With advances in science regarding remote monitors and unmanned aerial systems that gather data, NDSU is conducting conversations with outside groups about using and/or developing systems in the ag markets. Industry is also expressing interest in entering ag fields for working on these types of technology. Dr. Sreekala Bajwa, chair of the NDSU Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering shared that she has had talks with industries who say the hardware is certainly there, but the discussion should be lead and directed by NDSU. SBARE members concurred that it is important for North Dakota agriculture to take the lead here. Precision ag efforts are important.

Chairman Beltz asked for a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Goehring made a motion for adjourning, and Mr. Keith Peltier seconded. Motion carried. Meeting was adjourned at 3:27 PM.

Respectfully submitted by Lorie Herbel.

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