State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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June 22, 2018, Bismarck

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met for a regular meeting in the Fort Union Room at the State Capitol in Bismarck, ND on June 22, 2018, starting at 10:00 a.m. Board members in attendance were Mike Beltz, Mark Birdsall, Chris Boerboom, Dean Bresciani, Ken Grafton, Lance Gulleson, Larry Hoffmann, Brian Leier, Keith Peltier, JoAnn Rodenbiker, Richard Roland, Dean Wehri and Doug Goehring. Members Absent: Tracy Boe, Jerry Klein, and Sarah Lovas.

Chairman Keith Peltier called meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed members and guests, inviting them to introduce themselves to the group. More than 25 guests were present, including several ND Ag Coalition members as well as upcoming new SBARE members Doug Bichler and Julie Zikmund.

Administrative Update for NDSU

President Bresciani noted that over the course of several legislative sessions Dunbar Hall has been the top issue on NDSU’s list due to safety risks. Harris Hall had been a lower priority but was recently elevated to the second spot on their list; its importance becomes clear to all who visit the facility. The possibility of a new facility such as an ag products development center facility could open up some great opportunities for the meats lab and other programs.

Administrative Update for the ND Agricultural Experiment Station (AES)

Dr. Ken Grafton noted that Dr. Greg Lardy was selected as interim Director of NDSU Extension, and he commended Dr. Chris Boerboom on his dedicated service to NDSU Extension. Current fundraising initiatives by the NDSU Foundation include enhancing support for the Commodity Trading Lab. Six critical positions are moving forward. ABEN funds from a vacant position are being redirected to fill a precision ag position, the pulse breeding search is closed, and new ag finance, swine research and teaching positions are in motion. Cereal rust and microbiome-related searches are on hold. One current position is being redirected toward microbiome work for the time being. Following the recent strategy review meeting with the Governor, AES was asked to come back with additional information at a future time.

Administrative Update for the NDSU Extension Service (EXT)

Boerboom noted the following updates: the Extension weed science specialist position search committee is interviewing candidates and the Extension beef specialist search has been extended. A search will be launched in August to fill the Extension farm resource management position. During the recent strategy review meeting with the Governor, Extension discussed their realignment, the effect of the budget cuts on their agency, and addressed several other questions.

Presentation on the Return on Investment in Agriculture

Peltier presented statistics and information on the return on investment in agriculture in North Dakota. Significant positive impacts on the state’s economy stemming from agricultural research were noted. Strong community support exists for Extension’s educational efforts with a wide array of popular programs for North Dakota families and producers. He also described to the Ag Coalition members present, the SBARE priority lists for AES, Extension, and the capital and one-time requests. Grafton and Boerboom answered questions regarding listed items.

Following the presentation, Peltier invited Ag Coalition members, SBARE members and others present to share their ideas on supporting agricultural causes in North Dakota. Currently there may not be as strong of an understanding for agriculture’s importance in the state economy in our legislative representation as there has been in the past. Discussion touched on working together to bring additional support from ag producers during the legislative session to help tell the story and express the impact of research and Extension on our production and our communities. Others also stressed the need for increased marketing efforts, warned that producers are facing increasing global competition, and expressed support for research and agricultural facilities critical to the mission.


Mike Beltz presented the findings of the nomination committee for the position of Chair. Keith Peltier was nominated to continue to serve as Chair of the board. Hearing no other nominations from the floor, Birdsall moved to cease nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Peltier as Chair. Roland seconded the motion. Motion carried. Beltz stated that the committee nominated Mark Birdsall to serve as Vice Chair. Hearing no other nominations from the floor, Roland moved to cease nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Birdsall as Vice Chair. Hoffmann seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Recognition of Mike Beltz, JoAnn Rodenbiker, and Chris Boerboom; Introduction of new members

Outgoing members Beltz and Rodenbiker were recognized for their dedication to SBARE and Peltier expressed the Board’s gratitude for their work on behalf of agricultural causes in North Dakota. They were presented with engraved Bison statues, and shared a few words with those present. Peltier also presented an engraved Bison statue to Boerboom in appreciation for his time serving NDSU Extension and thanked him for his dedication serving as a member of SBARE.

Peltier introduced new appointees Doug Bichler and Julie Zikmund whose terms begin on July 1. Bichler is an Ag Coalition appointee from the ND Stockmen’s Association; he operates a farm with his family and founded Bichler Simmentals and Red Angus. Zikmund is an Extension nominee, operating a farm with her family and is a Program Manager of the Extended Learning Nutrition Certificates Program at UND.

Presentation of the ‘Friend of SBARE’ Award

Members of SBARE formally announced that they chose to present the ‘Friend of SBARE’ award to Senator Bill Bowman. Peltier noted Bowman’s tremendous support for agricultural causes in North Dakota in his role as a legislator, and expressed the board’s deep appreciation for what he has done to advocate for the producers of this state. Bowman was unable to attend today’s meeting but the engraved crystal award was presented to him privately on another date. Other members present noted the contributions made by Bowman to help SBARE initiatives move forward over the years.

Peltier adjourned the meeting at 12:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Lorie Herbel.

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