State Board of Agricultural Research and Education


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June 19, 2019, Fargo, ND

The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education met for a regular meeting at the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) in Fargo, ND on June 19, 2019, starting at 8:30 a.m. Board members in attendance were Doug Bichler, Mark Birdsall, Tracy Boe, Dean Bresciani, Lance Gulleson, Larry Hoffmann, Jerry Klein, Greg Lardy, Brian Leier, Sarah Lovas, Keith Peltier, Dick Roland, Dean Wehri, Julie Zikmund and Tom Bodine representing Doug Goehring. Members Absent: full attendance.

Chairman Keith Peltier called meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. He welcomed members and guests and invited everyone to make introductions. Peltier introduced Jim Bahm, who is the ND Ag Coalition appointee to SBARE, his term will begin July 1. Bahm is a producer from the New Salem area. Peltier thanked Board members who attended the previous evening’s social with local legislators and encouraged holding them more often.

A motion was made by Dick Roland and seconded by Larry Hoffmann to approve the February 13, 2019 meeting minutes. Motion carried.

Legislative update and wrap up

Dr. Greg Lardy provided a summary of new funding approved by the legislature HB1020.

  • $2.95M for the Main Station and $1.2M for the branch stations to hold-even.
  • $345K for Extension in one-time funds for the web enhancements and $870K in ongoing funding for support for county programs and operations.
  • $1.16M in ongoing funding for the Agribiome initiative for the ND Agricultural Experiment Station (AES).
  • $200K in ongoing funds for operation of the Oakes Irrigation site in the Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC) budget.
  • $750K in one-time general funds for the construction of the Williston Research Extension Center (WREC) seed cleaning plant.  
  • $940,465 in one-time funding for deferred maintenance projects for the AES from the state’s Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund.
  • Salary adjustment package for the biennium (2% in year 1 and 2.5% in year 2) and continued premium for the health insurance package.

 SB 2297 is the bill that provided for funding of a variety of capital improvement projects for NDUS campuses.  Of particular importance to NDSU were the following:

  • $48M for construction of Dunbar Hall and allows for $3.2M in fundraising authorization.
  • $40M for the construction of the new Ag Products Development Center (replacement of Harris Hall and the Meats Laboratory) with a requirement for $20M in fundraising to complete the project.
  • Authorized the Northern Crop Institute to begin fundraising for a new building ($18M in authorization).

Dr. Lardy expressed gratitude and appreciation for the Board’s efforts and support, stating he felt SBARE came away with renewed respect from Legislators. Lardy thanked Duane Hauck and Tim Faller for their mentorship this Legislative session. 

Restructuring update from President Bresciani

President Bresciani updated the Board of the approved reporting structure to the NDSU agricultural administrative organizational structure. This structure will include a Vice President for Agricultural Affairs and will retain the titles of Agricultural Experiment Station Director, Extension Director and Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. The administrative structure below the Vice President will include an Associate Agricultural Experiment Station Director, Associate Extension Director and Associate Dean to undertake the day-to-day duties of each area. The Vice President for Agriculture shall report directly to the NDSU President; however, the Dean portion of the position will report to the NDSU Provost for academic responsibilities such as promotion and tenure.

The search for the Vice President for Agricultural Affairs position will be led by Keith Peltier and co-chaired by Dr. Jane Schuh, VP for Research & Creative Activity.

Planning for upcoming input sessions

Board discussion continued about what was learned this Legislative session and the importance input sessions have on the   prioritization process. A motion was made by Sarah Lovas and seconded by Mark Birdsall to provide a list of tentative meeting dates to the Board for the 2019-2020 prioritization process. Motion carried.

Planning for 2021 Legislative session

Chair Peltier opened up discussion on planning for the 2021 Legislative session.  Ideas were presented to increase consistency of conversations with Legislators and producers as well as broadening the scope of contacts.  Peltier appointed Mark Birdsall, Sarah Lovas, and Dick Roland to a subcommittee tasked with the planning of future social hosting events. 

ARF contract approval

Dr. Lardy informed the Board the existing Agricultural Research Fund (ARF) contract is up for renewal. Lardy explained the details of the existing contract and the administrative process currently managed by the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. Board members were invited to voice any questions or discuss. The Board agreed the process has been run well and there was no need for change.  Sarah Lovas moved to approve the contract renewal, seconded by Brian Leier. Motion carried.


Chair Peltier asked former SBARE Chair Mike Beltz to conduct a poll for Chair and Vice Chair Board nominations.  Peltier presented the poll results, nominating Mark Birdsall as Chair.  Peltier called for any additional nominations from the floor, and hearing none, Sarah Lovas moved to cast a unanimous ballot for Birdsall as SBARE Chair. Larry Hoffmann seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Peltier presented the poll results, nominating Sarah Lovas as Vice Chair.  Peltier called for any additional nominations from the floor, and hearing none, Larry Hoffmann moved to cast a unanimous ballot for Lovas as SBARE Vice Chair. Mark Birdsall seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Recognition of Keith Peltier

In appreciation for his dedicated service to SBARE as a board member and as Chair, an engraved Bison statue and rocking chair were presented to Keith Peltier and he was thanked on behalf of the board.

Updates on key initiatives/emerging programs

Dr. John McEvoy, Head of Microbiological Sciences, presented to the Board plans for the 2019-21funded $1.16M Agribiome initiative. The search committee process will begin on the two scientists and two technicians funded to support this effort.

Dr. Lardy presented the Board a revision of the existing county/state base policy agreement to reflect the additional 2019-21funded $870K support for county programs and operations.  Due to the13.9% reduction in the 2017-2019 biennium, Extension and North Dakota County Commissioner Association collaborated on a new cost-share agreement to fund Extension agents where the counties would fund 40% of the agent’s salary and benefits and Extension would fund the remaining 60%. The NDCCA passed a motion to “endorse the revised NDSU Extension Base Funding Policy for calendar year 2019, with the expectation that NDSU Extension, SBARE, and Counties will work to restore state funding so that a longer-term funding model that reduces property tax burden can be achieved.” Their goal is to seek assurance that there is no additional shift of state cost to the counties. 

As a result of the $870K funding, Lardy asked the Board to approve transitioning back to the former base policy where the state pays 50% of the salary and all the fringe benefit cost for extension agent positions and the county partner pays the remaining 50% of the salary and all of the operating costs for the county office. A motion was made by Dick Roland and seconded by Mark Birdsall to go back to the former 50/50 base policy with option to renegotiate. Motion carried.

Dr. Ken Hellevang, Interim Chair of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, introduced two new faculty of the new Precision Ag major, supported by $600,000 funded in the 2015-17 session. Dr. Paulo Flores and Dr. Xin Sun both gave detailed presentations on the new emerging program and the research they plan to conduct in this programmatic area.

Discussion of Ag Products Development Center legislation and fundraising

SB2297 provided $40M for the construction of the new Ag Products Development Center with a requirement for $20M in fundraising to complete the project. John Glover, President/CEO of the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association, educated the Board on the general fundraising process and the importance of key major donors to start the momentum on the $20M goal. 

Field day schedule

Dr. Lardy presented a 2019 summer field day schedule of the Research Extension Centers to the Board.  Attendance was encouraged to increase interaction with supporters and stakeholders.  Mark Birdsall suggested SBARE presence at each field day.  The Board was in full agreement and assigned a Board member to each scheduled date.

Birdsall requested a bullet point list of talking points, members should use to provide a consistent message while attending these events.  Dr. Lardy will provide this list to the Board via email.

In January, Dr. Christopher Schauer, filled the interim Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) Director position as well as continued to serve as the Director of the Hettinger Research Extension Center (HREC). Lardy stated that a search for a permanent DREC Director will begin this fall.

Newly appointed Chair Birdsall concluded the morning meeting with a thanks to Keith for his job as Chair and the SBARE members in their faith in him as he fills the Chair position.


Following noon lunch, board members were given a tour of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Next Members boarded a motor coach and departed to NDSU campus for a guided walking tour of Waldron Hall facilities.  Upon return to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Chair Peltier adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m.

Submitted by Cherie Fischer

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