State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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August 9, 2018, conference call

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met for a regular meeting by conference call on Thursday, August 09, 2018, starting at 3:00 p.m. Board members in attendance were Dean Bresciani, Tom Bodine for Doug Goehring, Ken Grafton, Larry Hoffmann, Jerry Klein, Brian Leier, Sarah Lovas, Keith Peltier, Richard Roland, and Dean Wehri. Members Absent: Doug Bichler, Mark Birdsall, Tracy Boe, Lance Gulleson, Greg Lardy, and Julie Zikmund.

Chairman Keith Peltier called meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and welcomed members.

Administrative Updates         

President Dean Bresciani stated it was noteworthy that at many recent meetings with civic leaders and legislative representatives, there is increasing consensus regarding NDSU’s budget situation. There appears to be cause for increasing optimism as of late.  

Dr. Ken Grafton shared that Dr. Greg Lardy was named interim Director of NDSU Extension; Lardy was unable to attend today’s meeting. Dr. Jane Schuh accepted an appointment as interim Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and thus resigned her position as Associate Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. A search for an interim head of the Animal Sciences department is underway due to Dr. Lardy’s appointment. Dr. David Buchanan assumed the role of acting head in the meantime. Dr. John McEvoy is heading the search committee for this vacancy. Two internal candidates will be interviewed in August.

Meeting with Lieutenant Governor Update

Peltier indicated that after a very positive meeting recently with the Lieutenant Governor, he felt that changes may be needed in the budget that SBARE previously approved to send forward. Grafton added that it was an engaging and important conversation with a great deal of information shared, and clarifications made regarding what they do, how AES and Extension work with SBARE, how SBARE works with stakeholders to get constituent input and the overall process. Peltier stressed the importance of this process, and shared details on North Dakota’s return on investment in agricultural research and Extension educational programs. The Lieutenant Governor asked about the budget they are preparing to submit, and sought to understand how the requested 13% cut scenario would impact AES and EXT. They were able to describe the extent of the cuts and layoffs this scenario would require, and convey the devastation that would result within all programs. The Lieutenant Governor encouraged submitting a hold-even budget, with the SBARE priorities as add-ons, indicating he would like to see this action going forward accompanied by appropriate justifications for doing so. At this juncture, the Board would have to consider an adjustment to their plan and making a change to what would be submitted. Peltier suggested that they could consider submitting the 13%-cut budget as was previously requested by the Governor, but also send an optional package containing a hold-even budget scenario. Bodine mentioned that the Department of Ag has a mechanism to do a similar action. Sarah Lovas made a motion that SBARE proceed with submitting the requested 13%-cut budget, with the optional package of a hold-even budget, adding on the SBARE priorities lists along with the appropriate justifications for the hold-even budget.  The motion was seconded by Dick Roland. Hearing no discussion, Peltier called for a vote, and the motion carried.  

Sarah Lovas requested that the justification for supporting the hold-even budget be shared in writing with SBARE members who could also, in turn, use the information in discussions with other stakeholders. Members agreed this should be provided to the board when ready, and members can use it as a helpful set of talking points when visiting with stakeholders.

Peltier adjourned the meeting at 3:16 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Lorie Herbel.

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