State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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March 11, 2016, Fargo

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Minutes - February 17, 2016
Fargo, ND

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met for a regular meeting at the NDSU Alumni Center on March 11, 2016 starting at 10:00 AM. Board members in attendance were Mike Beltz, Mark Birdsall, Tracy Boe, Chris Boerboom, Dean Bresciani, Tom Bodine for Doug Goehring, Ken Grafton, Lance Gulleson, Jerry Klein, Brian Leier, Keith Peltier, JoAnn Rodenbiker, Dick Roland, Lyle Warner, and Dean Wehri. Member Absent: Judge Barth.

Chairman Beltz called the meeting to order at 10:02 AM. He welcomed everyone and invited the board and guests to make their introductions. A motion was made by Keith Peltier and seconded by Lyle Warner to approve the meeting minutes from the regular meeting on February 17, 2016. Motion carried.

Chairman Beltz announced that Mr. Larry Hoffman was nominated to the SBARE as an Ag Coalition appointee. Upon approval by the North Dakota University System (NDUS), Mr. Hoffman’s term would begin July 1, 2016, filling a vacancy by Leland ‘Judge’ Barth who did not seek a second term. The Governor’s recommendations are expected mid-April. Members are encouraged to move forward advocating for agricultural research and education interests, keeping in mind that new legislators may not be familiar with the SBARE process.

Administrative Update from President Bresciani:

The best practices in budget management that NDSU has in place have positioned the university well for managing the allotment. Some planned initiatives will not be able to go forward at this time. NDSU has not only prepared for a reduced budget but has also outlined a ‘worst-case scenario’ plan. The national attention to NDSU sports has garnered a very positive national perception of North Dakota, NDSU Athletics and the University.

Administrative Update for the ND Agricultural Experiment Station (AES):

Dr. Ken Grafton updated the board on the progress of various general fund initiatives which SBARE previously supported. The Hard Red Spring Wheat breeder position search was successful and Dr. Andrew Green from Kansas State was hired to begin July 1, 2016. Green carries a strong skill set including high proficiency with technologies.

The Service Center is moving off campus and the campus space they vacate will be utilized by the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department. Central Grasslands Research Extension Center’s building project bid came in under initial estimates and they are confident the facility will meet their needs.

The plans for the new Veterinary Diagnostic Lab are moving ahead and the project could begin soon. After considerable discussion on the fact that the overall bid came in lower than expected, the consensus of the Board was to move forward with changes to include the addition of geothermal capabilities to support the future energy needs, and slight adjustment to the envelope of the building. Senator Klein and Representative Boe indicated that this was not a change in scope, and that
including geothermal and a small expansion at this time was both prudent and sound. The SBHE will be informed of the adjustment.

Administrative Update for the NDSU Extension Service (EXT):

Dr. Chris Boerboom gave the board a progress update on various general fund initiatives which SBARE supported last time. The salary package was distributed as planned. The recruitment for the Hettinger Livestock Specialist has garnered a deep pool of candidates and soon will be moving to interview stage. The following funds have been distributed: Soil Conservation grants, the Junior Master Gardener funds for Burleigh county, and the Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND) Program one-time funding was used in part to support a ‘Leadership North Dakota Summit’ last fall as well as supporting an ‘Igniting Legendary Leadership’ coming up in April 2016. He invited members to spread the word about the latter and consider attending on behalf of local communities and business interests. The current RLND class is the largest to date and includes Senator Luick from the Wahpeton area. They’re also working to launch an endowment fund to support future RLND participant tuition expenses.

Statistics were shared on the Extension Service total direct contacts made in North Dakota, by program area, for the year 2015. Direct personal contacts totaled over 868,000.

The Northeast District Director search is under final review by the search committee; JoAnn Rodenbiker was thanked for representing SBARE on the committee.

The Agricultural Research Fund (ARF)

The question of ARF funds being used as a ‘match’ for another matching grant process came up recently. Board members with extensive experience in matching-grant processes stressed the importance of seeing private industry partners providing the match on a grant, rather than state funds from the ARF. Discussion indicated general agreement among board members that this should be the case.

Discussion of One-time Requests:

One time requests were reviewed and discussed. The utility expenses of the NDAES Greenhouse were previously requested but not funded. City assessments for future improvements planned for 19th Avenue North were noted, along with equipment requests for the Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences Department.

Discussion of Capital Project Requests:

Capital projects were listed in alphabetical order with sixteen items and two bundles in all. These results closely resemble priorities from last session. Seed cleaning plants are bundled together as before.

Research space is needed to replace the inadequate facilities of Waldron Hall as well as the Meats Lab, and the could potentially be new facilities on Agricultural Experiment Station property west of I-29. With a new location the existing Waldron Hall and Shepherd Arena spaces could be repurposed for educational use as they belong to the University.

The board discussed past practice in determining the number of requests to bring forward. Board members then proceeded to vote on the Capital requests, giving them ranking from 1 (high) to 16 (low), followed by a vote on one-time requests.

Discussion of Extension Service (EXT) Programmatic Initiatives:

Dr. Boerboom reviewed the Extension initiatives listed in order of the previous rankings. Discussion followed on clarifying the description of the first initiative to better reflect that the items are primarily operating, infrastructure and programming support.

The Farm Safety Initiative was discussed and members reflected on the critical issues of safety in agriculture and need for expanded educational efforts in North Dakota. The board was in favor of substituting the word ‘initiative’ with ‘education’ to clarify the purpose.

The Agricultural Economy package has several items, including a pollinator specialist position. Discussion followed on the role of an Extension pollinator. The varied aspects of education and regulation have been discussed between Extension and the ND Department of Agriculture; they have strategized on communication and mutual support. There is interest on this topic among agencies and members discussed the concern that this could be perceived as a duplication of effort being done elsewhere. After discussion the general consensus was to place the pollinator FTE to a lower position on the rank sheet.

Discussion of Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) Programmatic Initiatives:

Dr. Ken Grafton noted the top ranked item was the Oakes Irrigation site operating support, no longer to be funded through Garrison Conservancy District in the future. Blaine Schatz, Director of the Carrington Research Extension Center, shared that the Oakes Enhancement Group bought five acres last summer and fundraising is in progress for erecting a building at the site.

The Enhancing Research Infrastructure package includes grad student funding to increase assistantships and expand research. It also specifies operating funds to expand research in targeted programs that need enhancements.

The Enhancing Research Infrastructure at Research Extension Centers package contains operating support and an Agronomist position. Discussion followed on North Central Research Extension Center (NCREC) staffing and SBARE members were informed that the previous structure of splitting the cost of the position between EXT and AES will no longer be in place and AES must fund this position 100% going forward. Mindful of the current budget shortfall, there was consensus among board members that making the NCREC budget whole should take priority over the request for an Agronomist FTE. NCREC Interim Director Chad Anderson offered that in light of budget concerns he would support this change at this time. The board was in agreement that the change was appropriate at this juncture and the package will be edited reflect that funding for the NCREC Director will replace Agronomist FTE.

Discussion continued touching on the overall process of addressing stakeholder concerns in the state.

Results of the one-time requests and the capital requests vote were shared with the board. Chairman Beltz said that dollar amounts will be applied later in process. March 29 will be the next meeting in Bismarck.

Chairman Beltz adjourned the meeting at 1:32 PM.

Minutes submitted by Lorie Herbel.

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