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February 25, 2015, Conference Call

State Board of Agricultural Research and Education
Minutes - February 25, 2015
Conference call originating in Morrill 313 - NDSU, Fargo

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met via conference call, originating in Morrill Hall Room 313, NDSU campus. Board members participating were Mike Beltz, Mark Birdsall, Chris Boerboom, Dean Bresciani, Doug Goehring, Ken Grafton, Rodney Howe, Brian Leier, Keith Peltier, JoAnn Rodenbiker, Dick Roland, and Lyle Warner. Absent: Leland (Judge) Barth, Tracy Boe, Lance Gulleson and Jerry Klein.

Chairman Beltz called meeting to order at 10:04 am. He welcomed members after roll call, and proceeded with the legislative update.

SB 2159 involves land acquisition in Stark County; in particular, the conveyance of land currently used by the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC). The bill was signed by the speaker and there were no votes against it.

HB 1431 involves the authorization for the Langdon Research Extension Center (LREC) to purchase certain land in Cavalier County. The bill was passed by the House and received by the Senate on Feb. 25.

SB 2175 is focused on SBARE’s Agricultural Research Fund, as an act to increase revenue to provide grants in agricultural research. It relates to the transfer of revenue from farm machinery gross receipts tax and fuel tax refunds. Discussion occurred over making it a certain percentage of the tax refunds, but after consideration it is now written to say up to $2M per biennium.

HB 1020: HB 1020 was amended and passed on the House side.

Dr. Boerboom stated that SBARE supported the Governor’s initial budget recommendation, and when reworking HB 1020, the Appropriations Committee went back to 2013-2015 adjusted base budget instead of starting from the current Executive Recommendation. The House amended version of 1020 includes a 3% salary increase for each year of the biennium, and one-time funding for Junior Master Gardener interns for Burleigh County.

Dr. Grafton added that the House included two FTEs in bioinformatics, two FTEs for precision ag and activities, one FTE for an animal science technical support position at Hettinger, $100K in operating costs for dust research at Dickinson, two FTEs for a plant pathologist and technical support position in Williston, and $210K to the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station for operating expenses to be divided amongst the research centers. The House removed all capital project requests, one time requests, greenhouse utilities, funds needed to complete the Central Grasslands forage/agronomy laboratory and a new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and also removed carryover from last biennium for CGREC Agronomy Lab.

Chairman Beltz added that the House removed Section 7 which is related to how and when FTEs can be changed. The board discussed the issues related to difficulty with managing split appointment FTEs and how the system classifies employees that must work under split appointments. Clearer verbiage for Section 7 must be crafted if it is to be reinstated.

March 18 is another revenue projection date. The Board has and will continue to support the level of funding proposed in the Governor’s executive budget recommendation.

Board members noted that John Bollingberg is being inducted to the Ag Hall of Fame. Rodney Howe made a motion that Chairman Beltz sends a letter of congratulations and appreciation to Mr. Bollingberg on his accomplishments and service, on behalf of SBARE. Richard (Dick) Roland seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 10:26 a.m.

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