State Board of Agricultural Research and Education

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January 10, 2014, Mandan

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Minutes - January 10, 2014
USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory - Mandan

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND, on January 10, 2014. Board members in attendance were Leland (Judge) Barth, Mike Beltz, Chris Boerboom, Dean Bresciani, Doug Goehring, Ken Grafton, Rodney Howe, Jerry Klein, Paul Langseth, Brian Leier, Doyle Lentz, Keith Peltier, JoAnn Rodenbiker, Richard (Dick) Roland and Lyle Warner. Absent: Tracy Boe.

Chairman Beltz called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m., and noting a quorum, welcomed everyone to make introductions. Dr. Matt Sanderson of the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory welcomed the board and guests.  Chairman Beltz asked for additions or corrections to the agenda and hearing none, it was unanimously approved. No additions or corrections were made to the minutes from the December 18, 2013 meeting. Keith Peltier moved to approve the minutes and Paul Langseth seconded it; motion carried. Chairman Beltz noted that the February 11 meeting in Fargo will be held at the NDSU Greenhouse and future meeting dates may be adjusted; updates will be announced.  

Administrative Report from President Bresciani

President Bresciani shared that there is growing interest from business leaders in North Dakota regarding possibilities to work with NDSU and sister institutions. This could offer unique opportunities for young people to stay in North Dakota for education as well as their future careers.

Administrative Report from Dr. Grafton

Dr. Grafton shared a spreadsheet of the biennial budget status. In addition he noted that a search will soon begin for hiring a full time Associate Director for the Agricultural Experiment Station. Preliminary plans are being developed for Harris Hall; also plans for work needed at some of the Research Extension Centers will be developed.

Administrative Report from Dr. Boerboom

Dr. Boerboom noted personnel updates. The Central Grasslands Research Extension Center hired a new area livestock specialist who will be starting in April. Plant Sciences hired a specialist to fill the Extension sugar beet position. Architects working on the Washburn 4-H camp project have plans in place to renovate cabins; mess hall renovation designs are proceeding. The multipurpose building presents some design challenges related to code requirements. Design adjustments are being explored to solve these issues.

Ag Research Fund update

Senator Jerry Klein shared feedback from conversations with other leaders over the past couple of weeks. The Ag Research Fund (ARF) is positively regarded overall. Governor Dalrymple was supportive of seeing this fund continue. The pros and cons of various scenarios for increasing funds for the ARF were discussed. Members agreed that a significant increase in some form or another would be necessary to make the fund useful to grant recipients. Chairman Beltz tasked Senator Klein with taking the ideas discussed today and exploring them more in-depth with other leaders. Senator Klein agreed and stated he would give a report back to the committee at the next meeting. He encouraged all members present to reach out to leaders in their respective areas and talk about the funding ideas as well.

Review and Discussion of the NDSU Extension Service list of requests for SBARE consideration

Dr. Boerboom provided a summary of Extension needs, including descriptions of each item. Items were listed in alphabetic order, without prioritization or bundling. Agencies supporting the requests were also listed. Dr. Boerboom indicated there are 26 items on the Extension list of requests. Chairman Beltz invited members of the board to ask any necessary questions for clarifications, and Dr. Boerboom fielded questions as needed. He also pointed out where some items on the list were previously included in the last biennial initiatives but received only partial support.

Review and Discussion of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station list of requests for SBARE

Dr. Grafton provided a summary of needs for the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), including descriptions of each item. Items were listed in alphabetic order, without prioritization or bundling. Agencies supporting the requests were also listed. Dr. Grafton assured the board that the AES list does not duplicate any requests already on the Extension list; where fitting, there are requests that are complementary to it. He also pointed out where some items on the list were previously included in biennial initiatives but received only partial support. AES has successfully employed several graduate students; there is hope that an increase in funding would enable AES to hire more in the future. Retaining productive scientists in North Dakota can benefit the state. It appears from input summaries that precision agriculture has broad support in North Dakota. Members discussed current partnership development that exists especially in UAS (unmanned aerial systems) technology; Dr. Grafton stated that partnerships with sister institutions could assist in making further strides in this area as well. Chairman Beltz, JoAnn Rodenbiker, and other members voiced strong support for precision ag being a top priority for North Dakota. Commissioner Goehring shared that recent studies suggest as much as 90% of UAS technology utilization could come from the ag sector, indicative of the impact these tech advances could have for ND in the future.

Board members discussed taking an initial vote to begin ranking priorities. Ballots were provided and members were asked to indicate a rank from one to five (one being lower priority, five being higher) on each item listed and a vote was taken at 11:50 AM. Non-voting members who do not cast ballots include Drs. Grafton and Boerboom and Commissioner Goehring. Ballots were tabulated while the board began their lunch break.

Chairman Beltz called the meeting back to order at 1:01 PM. Results of the first round of voting were shared with the board by handout. Items were listed from highest to lowest score. Rodney Howe made a motion that SBARE moves forward by considering all items scoring 32 and above on both the NDSU Extension Service and North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station lists. Keith Peltier seconded the motion. Discussion followed. Mr. Howe called for question of the motion on the floor. Chairman Beltz asked all in favor say aye. Motion passed.

Chairman Beltz asked if the board wanted to review the number of FTEs requested, at this time. Discussion followed regarding previous efforts to seek FTE funding. Members agreed Drs. Grafton and Boerboom should proceed to create the bundles and present initiatives or packages for the board’s consideration in February.

Discussion of capital improvement project requests

Dr. Grafton provided a list of AES capital improvement project needs that came from the input process. They are listed in alphabetical order without prioritization, with brief descriptions for clarification. Agencies that supported each of the items are also listed. He noted where some items were previously listed in other biennial initiatives. The board discussed various capital improvement issues. Paul Langseth made a motion that SBARE supports a separate legislative bill to accommodate a land purchase for the Langdon Research Extension Center. Keith Peltier seconded the motion. There was no further discussion and the motion passed.

Voting on capital improvement projects commenced using the same method as noted above. Results were tallied and distributed as a list showing items from highest to lowest scores. Chairman Beltz asked if there was any discussion at this time. Discussion proceeded; board agreed bundling these items may be acceptable. List and bundling will be reviewed at the next meeting.

Chairman Beltz reminded the board of future meeting dates: February 11 at the NDSU Greenhouse conference room, Fargo, ND. March 5 is the new tentative meeting date for the following month; the meeting may be held in Bismarck at the capitol. An upcoming Precision Ag Conference on January 20 also may be of particular interest to board members.

Cal Thorson of the USDA Agricultural Research Service thanked the board for their visit to the facility. He noted that future events for them included the Research Results Conference on March 3at the Seven Seas in Mandan, ND; and Friends and Neighbors Day will be July 17. He also invited members to attend customer focus groups held there as well as other meetings at the lab where researchers explain their work and get feedback on ideas. They are open to everyone.

Having no other business, Chairman Beltz asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Jerry Klein made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Lyle Warner seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 2:36 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Lorie Herbel.

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