M I N U T E S
Agricultural Experiment Station Directors
July 16, 1995
Sheraton Sand Key Hotel
LIST OF ATTENDEES
Gerald Arkin (GA)
Larry Ayers, Pennsylvania State
Toni Bland, Staff Assistant (ED-S)
James Boling (KY)
Gale Buchanan (GA)
Bob Burdette, AL Crop Improvement Association, Inc.
Neville Clarke (ED-S)
George Cooper, CSREES
D. C. Coston (SC)
James Cowan (NASULGC)
Larry Crowder (OK)
Everett Emino (FL)
James Fischer (SC)
Lowell Frobish (AL)
Tom Helms (MS)
Fred Knapp (KY)
Bob Merrifield (TX)
John Neilson (FL)
Hiram Palmertree (MS – Extension Liaison)
Alberto Pantoja (PR)
Jonathan Pote, Water Research Institutes
Graham Purchase (MS)
Don Richardson (TN)
Ike Sewell (TN)
Kenneth Tipton (LA)
Vance Watson (MS)
Johnny Wynne (NC)
Milo Shult (AR)
Johnny Wynne (NC)
Saturday July 15, 1995 4:00 Meeting of the Operating Officers - Cardita 5 Room Sunday July 16, 1995 - Palm Room 6:30 Registration in the Sand Key Room. Coffee & Danish - Lobby 2 1. 8:00 Convene, Review, Modify, and Approve Agenda, Dr. Jerry Arkin 2. 8:05 Review and approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting and Interim Actions of Chair, Dr. Jerry Arkin 3. 8:10 Use of the World Wide Web for Regional Publications and Information, Ms. Lynette James 4. 8:50 Changes in the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act, Dr. Vance Watson 5. 9:10 Marketing of Foundation Seed in the Southern Region, Dr. Robert Burdett6. 9:30 Ownership and Benefits from Intellectual Property In The Southern Region, Dr. Richard Jones 10:15 Refreshments and Informal Discussion - Lobby 2 10:45 Continue Discussion of Intellectual Property7. 11:00 Southern Forest Environment Research Counsel, Dr. Bob Merrifield8. 11:05 Application of Cellular and Molecular Biology to Animal Systems, Dr. Graham Purchase9. 11:10 Studies Involving Change at Land Grant Universities, Dr. Jim Fischer10. 11:50 Treasurers Report, Dr. Bob Merrifield 12:00 Lunch on your own11. 1:00 Report from ESCOPDr, Neville Clarke12. 1:20 Agricultural Competitiveness Initiative, Dr. Bob Merrifield13. 1:50 SAAESD Committee Reports Workshop on Good Laboratory Practices, Dr. Charles Scifres Wetlands, Dr. Bob Merrifield 14. 2:10 Use of the Southern Strategic Plan and CRIS Sort For Regional and Sub-regional Planning, Dr. Tom Helms 15. 2:40 Report on the Meeting of IEG-67: Short and Long Term Plans for the SMIS, Dr. Neville Clarke 3:10 Refreshments and Informal Discussion - Lobby 216. 3:40 Committee of Nine and SRRC Reports, Drs. Ike Sewell and D. C. Coston17. 3:50 Report from CSREES, Dr. George Cooper18. 4:05 Enhanced Communication Between Water Research Institutes and SAES in the South, Dr. Jonathan Pote19. 4:30 Reorganization of the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program, Dr. Everett Emino20. 4:45 Report of the Nominating Committee, Dr. Johnny Wynne21. 4:50 Preview of Joint Meetings with Southern Extension and ARD Directors, Dr. Jerry Arkin22. Added, Executive Director 5:00 Adjourn 6:30 - 8:30 Reception - Poolside (Held in Island 2 upon inclement weather)
Agenda Item 1
Presenter: Dr. Jerry Arkin
Members of the Association were invited to contribute agenda items, which have been included in the final agenda which was circulated in advance of this meeting. Dr. Vance Watson, Vice-President of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies located at Mississippi State University, was introducted. Members were invited to offer any further changes to the agenda.
Modification and adoption of the agenda.
On the motion of Helms, seconded by Emino, the agenda was approved.
Agenda Item 2
Presenter: Dr. Jerry Arkin
The minutes of the previous meeting were sent to Directors in the Interim.
Modification if needed and approval of the minutes of the last meeting.
Motion made by Dr. Helms, seconded by Dr. Emino, was passed to approve the minutes of the last meeting.
The list of Interim Actions of the Chair was amended as attached. The Southern Regional Report to the ESCOP meeting in Wisconsin was attached for information. On the motion of Tipton, seconded by Helms, the amended list of interim actions was approved.
It was also agreed that minutes from this meeting and future meetings would be sent electronically. A hard copy of the minutes from this meeting would also be sent to Directors.
INTERIM ACTIONS OF CHAIR
1. Held teleconference with Executive Directors Contract Committee on May 19 and discussed relevant items related to the role of the Executive Director. Polled Operating Officers and established that a meeting on this subject would be held prior to Mini-Land Grant Meeting.
2. As a result of favorable interest on the part of Southern Directors, established Human Nutrition Advisory Committee and appointed Dr. Helen Shaw (NC) as Administrative Advisor.
3. Established CRIS Sort Strategic Planning Committee with Tom Helms as Chair and Jim Fischer, Bob Merrifield, Johnny Wynne and D. C. Coston as members.
4. Signed and forwarded Resolution of Appreciation to Dr. Johnny Wynne for hosting the April meeting in Southern Pines, NC.
5. Approved request for RRP S-241 “Management of Rhizosphere Dynamics to Control Soilborne Pathogens and Promote Plant Productivity” to meet outside the region in St. Louis on November 2-3, 1995, in conjunction with S-226 and ASA, CSSA and SSSA.
6. Approved request for Technical Committee of S-239 “Animal Waste Management in Support of Sustainable Agriculture and Quality Water Resources” to meet outside the Southern region on August 10-12, 1995, in Corvallis, OR.
7. Approved request of Regional Project S-247 “Microirrigation of Horticultural Crops” to meet outside the region in Atlantic City on June 13-14, 1995.
8. Rejected request of Entomology Department Heads (AC-12) to meet outside the region in Honduras.
9. Approved and submitted for consideration by Committee of Nine the following projects which were in turn recommended for approval by C-9:
- S-263 “Enhancing Food Safety Through Control of Foodbourne Disease Agents” approved for RRF funding beginning 10/1/95 through 9/30/2000.
S-262 “Diversity and Interactions of Beneficial Bacterial and Fungi in the Rhizosphere” approved for RRF funding beginning 10/1/95 through 9/30/2000.
S-183 “Phenology, Population Dynamics and Interference: A Basis for Understanding Weed Biology and Ecology approved for RRF funding beginning 10/1/95 through 9/30/2000.
S-246 “The Transformation of Agriculture: Resources, Technologies and Policies” approved for extension to 9/30/96.
10. Approved and submitted for consideration by Committee of Nine the following:
- S-243 “Evaluation of Beef Cattle Germplasm Resources Involving Additive and Non-Additive Genetic Effects” (request for one-year extension).
“Microirrigation of Horticultural Crops in Humid Regions (replacement for S-247).
“Development and Integration of Entomopathogens into Pest Management Systems” (replacement for S-240).
Agenda Item 3
Presenter: Ms Lynette James
The Association asked the Executive Director to investigate the possibility of moving to electronic publication of the Southern Cooperative Bulletins and other documents of the Association. The advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) has made this a readily achievable objective using existing state of the art. In addition, it is immediately feasible to set up a “home page” on the WWW for the various information documents that are prepared by the office of the Executive Director. Other elements of our business can be handled using the WWW, if the need and frequency of use justifies it — for instance our regional projects and their annual reports could be stored electronically at their origin and accessed on the WWW. The Department of Agricultural Communications has provided consultation and is prepared to provide continuing support for electronic publication of our regional reports and to set up the home page for the Association. There is no added cost to using electronic publication; in fact the publication costs will be reduced. Electronic publication offers an improved capability for permanent storage of our regional publications. Ms. Lynette James of TAES will provide a presentation on the WWW and its application to the SAAESD.
Members of the Association are asked to consider approving the proposal to move immediately to electronic publication of regional reports and various information documents from the Executive Director’s office. They are further asked to consider the need for and cost/benefit of placing other less frequently used documents on the WWW and to provide direction to the Executive Director’s office on a second level of activity to make greater use the WWW.
On the motion of Fischer, seconded by Frobish, the Association asked the Executive Director to proceed with implementation of the proposal to publish regional cooperative reports electronically and to make them available via the SAAESD home page on the WWW. In addition the Association approved the use of the SAAESD home page as a vehicle for disseminating and updating the information for Southern Directors, newsletters and other items as proposed by Ms. James in her presentation.
The Executive Director stated that the procedures for publishing southern regional documents would be revised to reflect the discussion of the Group as regards the cooperative series, and the impact assessment and other individual state data, as suggested by Ms. James. The need for a user’s workshop will be explored as part of bringing this capability on stream. Common frameworks for separate SAES and combined regional information will be suggested. Communication with Cooperative Extension Services in the Southern Region will be made to assure their awareness of this plan of action and to ensure the usability of the home page and its contents for their purposes. The actions to be undertaken will be shared with Executive Directors of other regions for their awareness. Discussions with representatives of the National Agricultural Library and other regional/university libraries will be continued to ensure the usability of the publications on the WWW. The publications will be in a format that ensures credit for publication to authors.
Agenda Item 4
Presenter: Dr. Vance Watson
Dr. Watson is Executive Vice President of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) He made a presentation on the Changes in the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act. Among other things, he emphasized the expected impact on procedures and products when genetically engineered plant varieties come to the market place.
This is for information and discussion. The next three agenda items are related and interactive.
This was an information item. Dr. Watson made three major points in his presentation:
- 1) Need to develop polocies that encourage sharing of varieties and exchanges, especially where research opportunities exist.
2) Maintain guidelines in the Director’s office rather than “across-campus”.
3) Industry/Experiment Station releationships work well, especially with transgenic material.
Dr. Watson expressed concern with the policy of states generating income from developed varieties which may inhibit free sharing across state boundaries.
Conclusions and actions for agenda items 4, 5 and 6 are found under Agenda Item 6.
Agenda Item 5
Presenter: Dr. Robert Burdett
Dr. Burdett is Executive Vice President of the Alabama Crop Improvement Association, Inc. He made a presentation on the Marketing of Foundation Seed in the Southern Region with special emphasis on the impact of new varieties developed through biotechnology.
This is for information and discussion and is related to the preceding and following agenda items.
This was an information item. Conclusions and actions are found under Agenda Item 6.
Agenda Item 6
Presenter: Dr. Richard Jones
The ownership and benefits from intellectual property are undergoing change in a number of institutions in the region, as the opportunity for generating income increases. Institutional players include the SAES, Office of Sponsored Research, Foundations, etc. Previous surveys on this subject are becoming obsolete. Dr. Richard Jones conducted a brief written survey prior to this meeting of the how such intellectual property is being managed in individual institutions and reported the results as a point of departure for discussion by members of the Association. The general questions to be addressed include:
- 1.Intellectual Property Ownership for
- a. Utility patents, specifically on genes
b. Plant patents
c. Plant Variety Protection Certificates
- 2. Mechanisms for licensing a utility patent on a gene to be used in production of a plant protected plant patents or PVP.
3. Distribution of Royalties from the above types of patents/protection among/between the University, SAES, and inventor.
4.Identification of any state legislation giving the SAES leverage in retaining royalties for reinvestment in research.
Members were asked to give a timely response to Dr. Jones’ survey questionnaire and to be prepared to discuss results and possible follow-on actions. Would a position statement by the Association be appropriate? Should the Association encourage NASULGC Board on Agriculture Biotechnology Committee to conduct a national survey and revise/update the previous studies they have done on this matter? This is related to the preceding two items.
Fourteen responses to the questionnaire were received and presented by Dr. Jones. After discussion, it was concluded that all information submitted by individual directors could be shared with the members of the Association. Dr. Jones will consolidate this information, circulate it to directors, get their additions and comments and provide the members of the Association a consolidated report on the questionnaire and the supplementary information on management of intellectual property in individual stations.
Discussion of the report:
One issue is that SAESs are research investors, and therefore it should be possible to collect the cost of investment — both the research costs and the cost of patenting and licensing — before royalties are paid to inventors. This is a contentious issue and not uniformly accepted across institutions.
Ground rules for sharing royalties should be established at the time of disclosure.
There is a growing disparity between royalties paid from utility patents and PVP, which has the potential for legal actions by inventors.
The major institutional rationale for patenting is to facilitate adoption of technology, not to earn money.
It was encouraged that transfer agreements should provide for research use of new germplasm, with a research use agreement that deals with royalties resulting from derivative commercial products.
There are sensitivities to providing faculty royalties as inventors when state or industry funds have been used to support the research.
The practice of industry in funding research through check-off funds which involves ownership of resulting intellectual property, publication rights, etc was considered but the Association chose not to pursue any action to make these procedures consistent across stations. This has been tried and failed in previous attempts.
One option in current use in some SAESs is to reinvest all royalties that accrue back into the research programs from which the invention (variety) came.
It was agreed that the Southern Regional member(s) of the ESCOP Germplasm Subcommittee should be asked to inquire if this Subcommittee should develop boiler plate language for transfer agreement and their research use derivatives as examples for use by individual institutions. It was suggested that consideration of this and other general consensus at the national level be sought between ESCOP and AOSCA. The objective is to provide support for individual SAESs directors at the institutional level when negotiating on returns of royalties to the stations as “research investors”.
Agenda Item 7
Presenter: Dr. Bob Merrifield
The Chair of this Group has advised that the members have agreed to terminate this activity. While the group has had a productive and active existence since 1965, they now find the scope of its activities too broad to accommodate all the specialties within the forest biology community. Thus, in recent years, attendance has been poor and other organizations have emerged to partially fulfill the role of this Group.
Withdraw the previously submitted request for extension of this activity at the April, 1995 meeting and allow it to terminate on its current expiration date.
This activity has been terminated.
Agenda Item 8
Presenter: Dr. Graham Purchase
The Chair of this Group has advised that significant efforts had been made to get the Information Exchange Groups started but there was apparently insufficient interest among faculty in the experiment stations to sustain such a group.
Approve termination of IEG-66 before its current termination date of 1998.
On the motion of Purchase, seconded by Boling, IEG-66 “Application of Biotechnology to Animal Systems” is terminated.
Agenda Item 9
Presenter: Dr. J. R. Fischer
A synopsis of a presentation made to the CAST Board of Directors meeting in February, 1995. This summary of the studies that have occurred and are occurring involving change in the Experiment Stations, the Extension Services, and the Land Grant Universities will be presented to update the directors of these activities.
This was for information and resulted in active and useful discussion. Dr. Fischer reviewed his presentation to the CAST Board of Directors involving changes at Land grant Universities. He described various studies, e.g., those funded by Kellogg, the CAST Leadership program for professional Socities, and the NASULGC Board on Agriculture’s set of recommendations for the future mission and vision of Land Grant Universities.
A similar presentation was made to ESCOP. A copy of Dr. Fischer’s overheads is attached.
Agenda Item 10
Presenter Dr. Merrifield
It is customary for the Treasurer to present an annual report on the financial status of the Association at this meeting.
At the request of the Executive Director, an internal audit of the Association’s account was undertaken in May, 1995. The report revealed that all appropriate procedures were being followed and that the fiscal status and management of the Office of The Executive Director were in sound condition.
The year end report of the accounts for the Executive Director’s office follow for information. There are no known problems and the Association’s fiscal condition is sound.
SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION DIRECTORS
REPORT OF ACTIVITY
JULY 1, 1994 – JUNE 30, 1995
|BUDGET CATEGORY||APPROVED BUDGET||ACTUAL EXPENDED||CARRY-OVER FUNDS|
Personnel costs for the Association were less than budgeted because of one-time income from other sources and part-year vacancy of the executive secretary position. Other expenses are greater than budgeted because of one-time support of the Chair of ESCOP, the payment of costs for temporary staffing during recruiting of the new executive secretary, and lump sum payment of benefits to the outgoing staff assistant. Carry over funds will be used to fund the “soft-money” portion of the executive secretary’s salary and benefits in 1995-6.
The Association is asked to accept the Treasurer’s report as submitted.
On the motion of Dr. Merrifield, seconded by Dr. Frobish, the Treasurer’s report was accepted as presented.
Agenda Item 11
Presenter: Dr. Neville Clarke
The ESCOP report is attached. It was presented by the Executive Vice Chair since the Chair of ESCOP (and the Southern member of the Executive Committee) could not attend this meeting.
This report is for information and discussion, and any actions resulting therefrom.
None, this was for information only.
Charles J. Scifres, Chair
July 3, 1995
This report covers the period since the last meeting of SAAESD on April 2-5, 1995. Since then, national affairs have continued to include actions related to the budget, authorizing, and appropriations committees of the Congress, the interactions related to CSREES implementation (including GPRA), the Agricultural Competitiveness Initiative and the April meeting of the Executive Committee of ESCOP. Plans continue for the joint meeting of ESCOP and ECOP, which will be held in Wisconsin on July 26, 1995. There will be more general coverage of several of these topics in the plenary sessions of this mini-land grant meeting and they will not be repeated here. The general situation in Washington remains uncertain and situations encountered are often without precedence. In the time between the preparation of this report and the meeting, several key issues may come to the surface. Thus, I hope you will understand the relatively general nature of this report.
Budget Committees: It appears that the House-Senate Conference on Budget will define reductions in agriculture and related programs of about $48 billion over the next seven years, with somewhere between $10 and $23 billion coming from agricultural commodity programs. The reductions become larger in future years. You can see the remaining uncertainty about these programs, but the expectation is that there will be continuing downward pressures on all discretionary spending and on mandatory spending as well.
Authorizing Committees: As you know, these committees are responsible for the mandatory programs such as food stamps and commodity programs and they will have a segment of the total reductions developed by the Budget Resolution for which they must determine the distribution. The first fork in the road is the size of reductions in welfare vs agriculture programs. These committees also have responsibility for the 1995 Farm Bill, where uncertainty continues to abound. Our Legislative Subcommittee continues to prepare for contingencies that include everything from no action of Title XVI to a substantial revision.
Appropriations Committees: I know you have seen the continuous flow of messages from Aesop Enterprises on the House Appropriations Committee actions. By the time of this meeting, there should be better visibility on outcomes on the House side, including floor action. Senate action is forecast to be somewhat later, perhaps into late July or August. The most favorable possibility seems to be something like a three percent reduction in base programs and a reduction in the NRI of about $5 million (some of which may be returned to special research grants on high priority items such as IPM). The least favorable possibility is a reduction in the range of 15-17%, which we obviously hope to avoid. The active grass roots support of the appropriations process continues to be vitally important. Please continue to respond when AESOP calls.
Agricultural Competitiveness Initiative: The Board on Agriculture has approved the ACI as an initiative for NASULGC and has established a working group consisting of the chairs of the ESCOP and ECOP Legislative Committees, Terry Nipp, Neville Clarke and Myron Johnsrud to be involved in the advocacy of the initiative. Dr. Merrifield, Chair of the ESCOP Legislative Subcommittee, will report further on the ACI.
Bringing CSREES on Stream and Implementing GPRA: Dr. Walt Woods will make a presentation to the plenary session on this subject, so members of the Association will have the latest word from him. ESCOP has been active in its engagement with CSREES on the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) since the May 22, 1995 meeting where CSREES plans were provided in some detail. The major thrusts of our counter-proposals have been (1) to more explicitly link the GPRA process to the ongoing strategic planning process of ESCOP and (2) to minimize the bureaucracy at the SAES level for implementing GPRA. We think we are making progress in our communications and consensus with CSREES; Dr. Woods has provided outstanding leadership in this most difficult area.
Evaluation and Future Directions of ESCOP and The Experiment Station Section:The Executive Committee of ESCOP devoted a major portion of its time to this agenda item at its April meeting. The results of this will be taken to the full ESCOP at its Wisconsin meeting in July. The thrust of this discussion is an internal assessment of the state of the section (at the national level) and the effectiveness of its executive committee. In the context of other ongoing and profound change occurring around us, the Executive Committee of ESCOP concludes that there needs to be a rethinking of its vision and function as well as that of the SAESs in general. This is related to our earlier futuring conference and the planned Board on Agriculture futuring activities which will emerge this fall. Included in these considerations is the conviction of the continuing importance of the regional associations, although perhaps with a different and more integrated composition in future years.
Joint ESCOP-ECOP Meeting: Key national leadership has been invited to joint ESCOP and ECOP to examine the current options and alternatives for action at the national level. The product of this meeting is intended to be a definition of new actions to be achieved in the next 12 months, with a mutual commitment to committing the resources that will ensure timely and useful products.
Agenda Item 12
Presenter: Dr. Bob Merrifield
The Agricultural Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) has been presented to the Association several times as a concept. It has now been endorsed by the Board on Agriculture of NASULGC and it’s advocacy is being undertaken by Aesop Enterprises and others in the Washington area. A group of some 20 Land Grant CEOs have formed a coalition in which they will separately use their offices to support the initiative.
A current description of the ACI is attached for your information, along with a status report recently provided for the Board on Agriculture Oversight Committee.
The process for Farm Bill and Appropriations actions is quickly moving to the point where requests for support from individual LGUs (SAESs) will be needed. The purpose of this agenda item is to provide Directors specific information about the initiative and what is needed from them, so that background engagement with key Congressional leaders can be initiated by appropriate advocates from their home states.
Dr. Merrifield, Chair of ESCOP Legislative Subcommittee, discussed the ACI. Dr. Terry Nipp of AESOP will develop a one-page “Public Relations” piece for the ACI. Directors are requested to use the mechanisms available at their own institutions to make legislative contacts. Senator Lugar has introduced a bill, separate from the 1995 Farm Bill, to implement the ACI. Two requirements are that the ACI funding must be competitive, and it must not he the appearance of competing with various commodity programs resources.
Members were asked to contact members of the Congressional delegations in support of the ACI and to be responsive to further requests from AESOP Enterprises for support as the campaign continues.
The Agricultural Competitiveness Initiative (ACI)
A Proposal for New Research, Extension, and Higher Education Funding
Revised June 28, 1995
A New Concept for funding Agricultural Research and Extension Education
The ACI is a new concept which focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, both in the immediate future and in the long term, by providing additional resources directed toward developing new knowledge, technologies and applications and the human capital to effectively use them. The proposal is for new and additional funding for research, extension and higher education, to meet the greater demand for information and technology transfer focused on increased competitiveness; improved risk management; and producing, processing and adding value to U.S. food and fiber resources using methods that are environmentally and socially acceptable. It includes resources to support higher education for the next generation of talent required to use this new knowledge. If U.S. agriculture is to increase its competitiveness and appropriately capitalize on fleeting windows of opportunity, there must be a highly productive and responsive continuum from basic research to application and education — with related academic programs. The ACI proposes to accomplish this by providing new federal funding to expand programs, with output ranging from discovery to application.
Origin and Basis of the ACI
There has been a growing recognition of the need for research, extension and higher education on the part of key Congressional leadership, USDA, OMB, OSTP, leadership in agricultural industries, and land grant universities. It would be expected that substantial support will be found among both the food and agriculture industries and with conservation, environmental and consumer groups.
An Initiative in the National Interest
The U.S. agriculture system is a sophisticated set of activities involving the entire food chain with assets exceeding one trillion dollars. It provides almost 20% of the country’s jobs. It is the largest contributor to offsetting the balance of trade deficit — with exports exceeding $45 billion per year. Research and extension education programs have, in large part, been responsible for achievement of current productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. U.S. agriculture provides a high level of food security which is a key component of overall national security in an increasingly complex global setting. Taxpayers receive a continuing rate of return on research and extension of 30-50% per year and pay an average of less than 10% of average family income on food — research, extension and higher education are good business investments. This investment reduces risk, enhances competitiveness of agriculture and allied industries and improves the quality of life for every citizen. The need to more than double food production in the next 50 years to meet global demands portends even greater opportunities for the United States.
Outcomes of the ACI
Research and Extension programs supported by the ACI will range from new discoveries to application of most current findings. The focus will be on both long and short term issues affecting agriculture, particularly those problems and opportunities that lend themselves to a technological solution and those with the greatest potential for increasing competitiveness and productivity of the U.S. agricultural system. The challenges facing farmers and agribusiness people operating in the increasingly complex environment demand an enlightened undergraduate and graduate education program to meet these increasing needs. The ACI will bring better balance to the total research and extension portfolio, addressing those areas in which current funding relative to user-driven national priorities is inadequate.
The Time is Right
The GATT and NAFTA call for U.S. agriculture to be more competitive in the international marketplace. Intensifying demands on the U.S. agricultural system will dramatically increase the need for new knowledge and technology to allow the U.S. to sharpen its competitive edge in the world market and continue to produce and process nutritious, acceptable, and safe products that meet environmental and consumer standards. The trend associated with GATT and NAFTA of continued reductions in federal commodity programs underlines the importance of sustaining the technological base for U.S. agriculture to adjust to a global free market economy. To address these challenges, there is growing need for an infusion of resources that will provide problem- and opportunity-oriented research, extension, and education to assist the entire agricultural system in the transition into the more competitive environment that is unfolding, while also developing the next generation of knowledge and technology needed to maintain international competitiveness over the long haul.
How Will It Work?
With increasing pressures on discretionary spending, options for funding outside these caps are being considered. The ACI will be defined in the 1995 Farm Bill and Budget Reconciliation Act, with funds provided through options which include the Commodity Credit Corporation or a trust derived from such funding over time. The goal is to provide $250 million the first year, increases of $100 million per year in the second and third years, and an increase of $50 million in the fourth year, bringing the total to $500 million per year of new funding.
The ACI will be administered by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service with funds awarded based on relevance and quality of proposals. It will bring the national agricultural research and extension capability to bear in a problem solving mode. Further, it will be designed as an aggressive, coordinated program of research and education with the agricultural industries playing a pivotal roles in setting the priorities. In the aggregate, it is expected that federal funds invested this way will leverage private, state, and industry funding in a ratio of four or five dollars for every federal dollar invested.
Bob Merrifield, Walt Walla, Terry Nipp
The following notes summarizes our activities regarding the ACI, and our understanding of the current status of the Initiative. We thought that the group might appreciate such a review.
Current Status of the ACI
- Both House and Senate Budget Committees have drafted their bills and they are now in Conference Committee. The results of the Conference will be a bill that must be taken to the House and Senate floor for final action. Following this, the budget resolution goes to the Appropriations and Authorizing Committees. It is expected that the Budget Resolution will be passed by the Conference Committee before the July 4th recess.
The numbers that are emerging from the Conference Committee are higher than expected for nutrition and farm programs — $48.4 billion over seven years and $29.1 billion over five years. For agriculture, the Budget Conference Committee is reportedly dealing with cuts of $13.4 billion over seven years and $8.5 billion over five years. These numbers will likely be “back-end loaded,” meaning that the cuts will become increasingly more severe through time. These numbers are still up in the air. Mr. Roberts has publicly noted that the $13 billion level would “allow us to transition our farm program policy to become more market oriented and to rely less on federal dollars” (implying a buy-off of the Budget Committee guidance).
Ramping up the ACI over time
If the Authorizing Committees settle on something like the $13.4 billion reduction in commodity programs over seven years, and if these are “back-end loaded,” then the projected reductions in these programs will be relatively low in the near term. For the ACI to achieve its full funding goals would appear to require further reductions in commodity programs. Therefore, the ACI should include a ramping-up over time, perhaps beginning with something like $250 million the first year and increasing by $100 million per year until the overall goal is achieved. The authorizing legislation could “lock-in” increases in subsequent years.
Dealing with the Zero-Sum Game
The deficit reduction process turns out to be a zero-sum game (i.e. in order for one line-item to gain, another line-item must lose). As budget deficit reduction continues, increasing pressures will be placed on limited discretionary funds; the result for research, extension and higher education are predictable. Commodity programs will continue to be reduced over the next seven years and may reach a point where they are not a significant part of agriculture. If, however, a significant investment in extension, research and education is put into place as the draw-down phase of commodity programs occurs, the chances of this funding continuing will be good. After commodity programs have been reduced or eliminated, their funding could disappear. Thus, while there may be the appearance of incremental reductions in commodity programs to establish the new ACI in the beginning years, this program could continue as a method of sustaining funding for U.S. agriculture after commodity programs are gone. This the argument that Terry has been making with commodity and industry groups. As noted in the original premise for the ACI, this enhancement of research, extension, and higher education will come at a time when pressures on U.S. agriculture to deal with risk, competitiveness, environmental concerns, food quality and safety, and other national issues will be greater than ever before.
Food processors, lending institutions, suppliers, and related parts of the food and agriculture system are supportive of the ACI. The biotechnology industries are supportive. Farm and commodity organizations not directly benefiting from current commodity programs are supportive. Farm organizations continue to place very high priority on extension, research and education . . . some have raised questions about extensionÕs Ònon-agÓ activities. Commodity organizations will understandably continue to work for the best outcome they can achieve as the deficit reduction actions impact commodity programs. Thus, it is difficult for these organizations (especially at the national level) to support the ACI. However, behind closed doors, most of them have a broader perspective and are prepared to see commodity funds translated to research, extension and education, rather than be totally lost. Some commodity groups are opposed to the ACI because of concerns they have with some parts of the land-grant system and some of our priorities. These represent separate issues from the ACI per se. Timing is critical in dealing with commodity groups that are most impacted by the coming budget reductions.
There has been support for increasing support for research, extension and education in the Administration. The new Under Secretary and Secretary are supportive. However, since the Administration does not now advocate severe reductions in farm programs, it is not easy for them to be advocates of the ACI until further Congressional actions clearly show that funds would otherwise be lost to deficit reduction. If/when this occurs, it is possible that the Administration will come forward to support the ACI. Strong bipartisan support could make the difference. The proposal of the Under Secretary for increased applied research funding to replace the special research grants programs is consistent with the ACI, but they remain distinct proposals.
From the beginning, our concern has been that the LGUs don’t want to appear to be advocating the demise of farm programs to gain access to research, extension, and higher education funding. Rather, the intent is to be prepared to save or redirect such funds to recognized needs to address the growing problems in risk reduction, international competitiveness, environmental and food safety issues, etc. When the actions of the Budget Committees and Authorizing Committees are clear and evident, the affected industries will be better able to see what the slope of the down-turn in farm programs will be. This will occur shortly after the July recess. It is possible that the ACI can gain further visibility as an option and receive consideration as part of the legislative process at that time.
The well known clichŽ applies especially well here: “the three most important things are timing, timing, and timing”.
Agenda Item 13
Workshop on Good Laboratory Practices, Dr. Scifres
This conference, being organized under the leadership of Dr. Don Murray (OK), was held on September 26, 1995 in the Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta. It was a one day session beginning at 8:00 and adjourning at 3:00. It will included definition of concepts and procedures, expectations from granting agencies that require GLP and methods for implementing these practices. It was targeted at project leaders and administrators within the land grant university system. While organized as a regional conference, there was a broader interest. The agenda is attached for information.
Wetlands, Dr. Merrifield
While the emerging Farm Bill programs for wetlands are still unsettled, it seems likely that the number of acres involved will be relatively small because of funding constraints. This committee was charged to explore the need for and ability to organize a regional activity that would assess the impact of alternative farm bill policy options. Despite several unsuccessful attempts, a group has been engaged by teleconference which is expressing interest in a cooperative activity on wetlands issues. Several members of the group have agreed to develop brief background papers which will be shared. Even though the immediate pressure is off, it appears worthwhile to continue to try to develop this regional activity with a view towards future needs.
Information. Expect further details on the GLP conference from the organizers.
Information only. Dr. Merrifield discussed wetlands issues related to the emerging Farm Bill. This is a dynamic process at the Federal level, but most efforts focused at the state level. The Wetlands Task Force may be recommended for termination this fall.
Agenda Item 14
Presenter: Dr. Tom Helms
At the April meeting, the first output of the sort of the CRIS under the organization of the Southern Strategic Research Plan was presented. This method offers new opportunity to visualize the total investment in the priority areas of the plan.
One use of this method of sorting the CRIS is in the area of sub-regional planning. Since the last meeting, this approach has been undertaken by several states and preliminary results are encouraging. These will be presented for information.
The ad-hoc committee on further use of this method, which was appointed following the April meeting, will meet in conjunction with this meeting and results will be presented.
The CRIS and the sorting routine for the Southern Strategic Plan will be stored on the SMIS home page and can be used by individual SAESs as they see fit. CRIS will continue to support needs of individual states. MAFES can continue to provide limited assistance.
Agenda Item 15
Presenter: Dr. Neville Clarke
The Southern Management Information System was developed as a tool for improving planning and evaluation of research at the state and regional levels in the South. It was delivered in the form of CD-ROMs and instruction manuals to individual states in January, 1995. Since then, several states have made significant efforts to bring the system on-line.
The Association established an Information Exchange Group (IEG-67) to explore applications of GIS to Souther Regional Research. This group has the additional task of providing oversight for the development and use of the SMIS for state and regional planning.
IEG-67 met in Atlanta on June 22-3, 1995. It was a very useful meeting which produced a number of positive results. The minutes of the meeting are attached.
The following main points emerged:
- Relatively few SAESs have made a substantial effort to bring the SMIS on-line, butalmost all believe this is worthwhile and that the system will be useful.
- Initial use has developed several innovations that make the system easier to use and more flexible.
- A home-page has been established on the World Wide Web which will provide a means of sharing experiences and operational software between users in individual states, including those innovations recently developed (including a way to use the SMIS on a PC).
- The SMIS will evolve towards a distributed set of data bases linked via the WWW. In the short-run, there are several things that can be done to facilitate its use in its present form.
- The Blackland Center has been asked to develop a proposal for upgrading the SMIS and making it more usable in the near term.
- The Southern SARE/ACE program plans to use the SMIS to define agroecological zones in the Southern region as a means of facilitating the planning and evaluation of research projects.
- The IEG recommends that the Association establish an ad-hoc committee of directors and senior scientists that use GIS in their research to further explore use of the system in state and regional planning and evaluation.
Members of the Association are asked to consider the proposal from The Blackland Research Center for upgrading the SMIS; the Association asked for this proposal at its April meeting.
The Chair is requested to consider appointing an Ad-Hoc Committee on SMIS Applications.
The Blackland Research Center, after due consideration following the IEG-67 meeting, recommends against a formal effort to update the SMIS, but rather to allow users to consider adopting the procedures developed at this meeting and to share both information and data bases via the SMIS home page. The Chair will appoint the ad-hoc committee of directors and scientists as recommended by the IEG. There will be a continuing effort to examine current uses of the system or its related data bases to develop a better sense of direction for the use of SMIS as a regional planning and management tool.
Dr. Coston presented an example of using SMIS at the Oklahoma Sation to summarize the Conservation Reserve Program lands.
Minutes of The MeetingInformation Exchange Group
Application of GIS to Southern Regional Research
(Updated July 3, 1995)
The annotated agenda circulated in advance of the meeting is attached.
There were sixteen participants the first day; twelve the second day. SAESs of Florida, Louisiana and Virginia and the Virgin Islands were not represented.
Jay Bragg (NC)
Neville Clarke (SAAESD)
Brian Coffey (GA)*
Art Cosby (MS)
Boyd Dearden (TN)
Ian Flitscroft (GA)
Paula Ford (SARE/ACE)
Don Goss (TX)
Ben Hajek (AL)*
Tom Helms (MS)
Jerry Lambert (SC)*
Tom Nieman (KY)
David Nofziger (OK)
Katherine Ozalas (AL)*
Luis Perez-Alegria (PR)
Robert Weih (AR)
*Attended the first day only.
EVOLUTION OF THE SMIS
Decisions on the initial assumptions and configuration of the SMIS were reviewed and it was agreed that they were valid at that point in time (2.5 years ago). However, the rapidly advancing state of the art and experience gained from use of the system by individual state users provides the basis for several recommended changes.
The Group discussed short, medium, and long term evolution of the SMIS. It is still regarded as being a highly useful concept for both management and research.
In the short run, several new low cost options were defined which will simplify use of the existing system, including a method for using it with a PC.
In the medium term, the Group felt that the system should use the World Wide Web (WWW) to transmit updated or new data bases and to provide an exchange among user groups on methods, experiences, and data sets.
In the long term, with the increasing state of the art in data transmission, the SMIS will probably evolve towards a distributed network of related data bases that can be accessed via the WWW. In this respect, the SMIS will become less archival and more of a data navigation network.
It is possible that a need will eventually emerge to provide a central capability for acquiring data bases, performing computations, and exporting products over the WWW to users. However, this is less certain and is not recommended in the near term.
USE OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB
A WWW list server and home page will be established by the South Carolina Station to serve the user group. This will provide a means of sharing experience, problems, and data bases among SMIS users.
A draft of the home page layout is has been prepared by Renee Lambert of Clemson.
SHORT TERM MODIFICATIONS OF THE SMIS
The Blackland Center will provide a description of the revised recommendations on hardware and software for use of the SMIS that were agreed to at this meeting as being appropriate in the immediate future for the SMIS. The cost for most Stations is estimated to be less than $1,000. This may be particularly useful to those users who do not have an extensive GIS background or capability.
Some users may wish to have early modifications of the data base provided to them on a second generation CD-ROM. The Blackland Research Center will provide this service, given availability of the data sets, on a cost reimbursable basis. It is anticipated that most data base updates and additions will be accomplished via the WWW.
STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF SMIS IN INDIVIDUAL SAESs
A round table discussion of start-up activity was conducted at the outset of this meeting. The status is quite variable. Five SAESs represented at the meeting have not begun any activity. As noted above, four SAESs were not represented at the meeting. Several attendees at this meeting had only received the CD-ROM three or four days before coming to this meeting. Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia have put considerable effort into the start-up and provided very useful suggestions for other members of the Group based on their experience.
As noted earlier, there has been little continuity in the SAES representation from the initial planning, workshops for use, and actual assignment of responsibility for implementation of the SMIS. This has resulted in a very substantial inadequacy of communication between users and developers of the system. Directors have not always been consistent with the SAAESD statement of work and expectations in stating their intentions for use of the SMIS to those who are bringing it on-stream in their stations.
While the overall action on the SMIS is disappointing for the period February to June, 1995, it is hoped that this meeting will stimulate at least start-up activity in most states and that the proposed workshops and the ad-hoc committee of the SAAESD will promote further planning for use of the SMIS.
Results to date suggest that it would be useful to develop better consensus among members of the Association on the definition of and distinction between management and research use of the SMIS. This will assist in better understanding the need for precision and level of detail between uses.
USING THE SMIS WITH A PC
The Arkansas AES has developed a method to use the current SMIS data bases with a PC. This description of the set up and procedures will be placed on the WWW for those whowish to review and use this capability.
EXPECT CONTINUING HETEROGENEITY OF METHODS BETWEEN STATIONS
The Group believes that heterogeneity of hardware and software for use of the SMIS should be a continuing expectation — that not all Stations will want to manage the SMIS data set the same way. However, the new set of specific recommendations will provide clear advice on at least one way of proceeding that the Group agrees will work and be an improvement over the initial recommendations.
EXPECT CONTINUING NEED FOR SKILLED STAFF TO USE THE SMIS
Confirming the decision reached at the outset of its development, it was the consensus of the group that it would not be practical for the regional effort to develop and maintain a “front-end” for the SMIS that would be sufficiently user friendly to be suitable for personal use by Directors. Some Directors may require this capability; if so, the group felt that this should be developed by that station. It was noted that the constraints that would be needed on the data bases to minimize the possibilities of misinterpretation would substantially constrain the utility and versatility of the system.
USING CRIS FOR REGIONAL PLANNING WITH SMIS
Dr. Helms reviewed the process for and product of organizing the CRIS data under the six major components of the Southern Strategic Research Plan. He also reviewed the CRIS taxonomy which is available for further analysis of the current portfolio. MAFES plans to develop a paper relating use of CRIS to regional planning. It was the consensus of the group that it was not appropriate to attempt to keep CRIS updated in the SMIS, since it is readily available on the internet from CSREES. Details of securing approval for analysis of the regional portfolio have been worked out with respect to sensitivity about resource information. Several studies are envisioned which will cross-walk the CRIS data and the SMIS natural resources data bases.
CURRENT AND PLANNED USES OF SMIS
Dr. Clarke provided a briefing on the methods for development and uses of the Southern Strategic Research Plan and indicated the intended role of the SMIS in facilitating regional and sub-regional planning.
Several current and planned applications of the SMIS or its related data bases were reviewed by the Group. The Natural Resource Conservation Service is using GIS based approaches (data bases common to the SMIS) for strategic planning and for program implementation. Forecasts of pesticide use and runoff as related to cropping systems and soil types was demonstrated as an example. The SARE/ACE program plans to use the SMIS to develop a description of agroecological zones in the Southern Region to facilitate planning of their research and assessment of its impact.
It was suggested that an early use of the SMIS might be to plan and evaluate the plant germplasm test and evaluation program that is conducted across the region. For example, the distribution of varietal releases and level of use by state or regions within states could be evaluated as a measure of impact.
As the SMIS evolves over time, it is likely that a network of shared data bases will be augmented by a network of expert systems and other “engines” that will be useful in both research and administration.
New layers for the SMIS data sets were discussed and will be considered in the proposal for upgrading the system.
The SARE/ACE program plans a specific use of the SMIS for program planning and evaluation. Quite a few states have results of using the data bases in the SMIS for specific practical problems.
The Group agreed to recommend an agenda item for the July meeting where six to eight Directors would be asked to be prepared to discuss products of GIS based research going on at their stations. Participants in this meeting will provide the specific examples to their Directors for this purpose.
SAAESD COMMITTEE ON SMIS USE
It was recognized that the participants at this meeting were not the group to carry on further development of plans for the products that would result from the use of SMIS. Rather, this would be better done by a group of administrators and scientists that are better prepared to conceptualize the needs for and uses of the SMIS. Given this discussion and, with the concurrence of Chair-Elect Helms, an ad-hoc SMIS Committee of the SAAESD will be proposed to further explore the utility of the SMIS for regional and state administrative purposes.
The Group recommended that this committee consider a workshop where four to six different kinds of users of these kind of data bases would be engaged with a group of interested Directors. The new approach would emphasize products and outcomes rather than process. The output of this committee would be a fresh look at opportunities for use of the SMIS at the regional level — both for administrative and research purposes.
A follow-on to this workshop, there might be an overlapping meeting of the SAAESD and IEG 67, where a few hours could be devoted to a poster session showing uses of GIS based information (February, 1996).
PROPOSAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF SMIS
As requested by the Association at its February and April meetings, the Blackland Center will develop a proposal for an incremental effort to accomplish the medium term goals for the SMIS.
New layers for the SMIS data sets were discussed and will be considered in the proposal for upgrading the system.
The SARE/ACE program plans a specific use of the SMIS for program planning and evaluation.
Quite a few states have results of using the data bases in the SMIS for specific practical problems.
NEW OFFICERS OF THE GROUP
The members of the Group elected Dr. Renee Lambert (SC) as its new Chair and Brian Coffey (Griffin-GA) as secretary. This is pending their acceptance, since neither were present at the time of this action.
ACTIONS FOLLOWING THIS MEETING
- Seek acceptance by new officers of results of election (Clarke)
- Prepare Minutes of meeting (Clarke)
- Transmit results of this meeting by Newsletter to Southern Directors (Clarke)
- Establish an SMIS home page and ability to transmit data sets on the World Wide Web and advise user group on access and use (Renee Lambert)
- Develop a description of status of the SMIS and recommendations on both hardware and software, along with detailed recipes for implementing the short term changes in the SMIS. This is to be put up on the WWW as soon as possible (Don Goss).
- Develop a proposal for further development of the SMIS for the SAAESD meeting of July, 1995 (Don Goss)
- Propose an agenda item for the July SAAESD meeting on current uses and plans for theSMIS (Clarke)
- Advise Directors of the results of this meeting and expectations for further development and use of the SMIS (All participants)
- Develop plans for the next IEG-67 meeting – possibly in the January-February time frame – after the July SAAESD meeting (Chair and Adminstrative Advisor)
Recommendations for the Future
ARC/VIEW was the consensus favorite software package for GIS manipulation and producing maps. ARC/VIEW is completely cross compatible between the DOS and UNIX platforms. The cost of this package is less than $1,000 if ARC/INFO is not purchased. The University cost of the ARC/INFO-VIEW package license and maintenance has not been received. GRASS is available for UNIX packages at very low ($40.00) to no cost. GRASS has large support groups that keep it a viable option.
The database choice was not as clear as GIS. The DOS platforms could use Dbase 5, Access 2, Fox Pro 2.6 or most any choice of the user. Prices to Texas A&M University (TAMU) for Access and Fox Pro are less than $100.00. Dbase 5 prices to TAMU were not available. Several database managers are also available for the UNIX platforms. The SMIS was developed around INFORMIX with the ISQL package. This package license and maintenance are about $4,000 per year. The immediate choice will probably be the database currently used by the University installing SMIS. The choice of a database preferred by most will probably evolve with time.
One very important function required of the database program is searching the massive data set for particular variables important to a planned study. The SMIS as developed at Blackland uses INFORMIX on a UNIX platform. Within INFORMIX is an operation called FORM. A program written for FORM provides queries into all tables in the data base to locate variables, tables, or subjects important to a study. The program returns table names, variable codes, and occasionally information important to searching for that variable. This simplifies the use of the database. Many of the variables in the tables are coded. Looking through the database tables for a specific variable, such as corn, would not reveal all variables relative to corn.
Many of the participants preferred a DOS platform. A DOS platform is now possible. The speed and size capabilities of the DOS systems seem adequate to handle the SMIS. The recommended system is a Pentium 90mhz, 512 cache, two gigabyte hard drive, 32 megabyte memory, high speed video with 2 megabyte video memory, and a 17 inch monitor. Prices as of 7/6/95 of this system are around $4,800 for a name brand, and less for a mail-order.
There are many UNIX platforms that do an excellent job. The Blackland Research Center use SUN workstations (SUN-50), two gigabyte hard drive, 32 megabyte memory, and a 21 inch monitor. Prices range from $15,000 to $20,000 depending on University discounts (Usually 40% of standard retail).
The Blackland Research Center has not made speed comparisons of these platforms using ARC/VIEW. Speed test using GRASS have indicated little differences between the platforms. Speed test comparing INFORMIX on the UNIX platform and ACCESS 2 on the DOS platform have proven INFORMIX much faster. Other DOS databases have not been tested.
An Interment SMIS Homepage (smishp) has been kindly provided by Clemson University. Renee Lambert has taken charge and set up the home page for SMIS users. The home page address is:
Renee would appreciate specific feedback at first opportunity. This home page will be an location SMIS users can exchange data, program scripts, and general ideas. Those that did not attend the Atlanta meeting should contact Renee on the home page or call her at 803-656-4048. The home page is costing Renee and Clemson some resources. We should thank them.
The Blackland Research Center will provide new or updated data sets on CD-ROM on a cost reimbursable basis. Some locations may prefer to receive data on CD-ROM than transmit it over the internet. The time required for transmitting large data files depends on the baud rate a location can connect to the internet, and the number of users using the internet from the location and host.
Changes in SMIS
The smishp is the location to obtain recipes and scripts for transferring the current SMIS to other forms. Dr. Bob Weih (AR) has already developed scripts to convert some of the current SMIS GIS files to use in ARC/VIEW. Dr. Weih has kindly offered to provide those files. The files will appear on smishp. Others are encouraged to share similar information.
Conversion of the database files to a DOS platform database is also needed. Possible Dr. Weih will provide the smishp with some scripts for this.
Participation on the smishp by all will help make SMIS a viable and more useful tool. All of the states involved with SMIS will find the smishp useful, and a rapid, friendly exchange media.
Future Development of SMIS
The SMIS should move toward a ‘public domain’ database and GIS. The smishp will serve as the primary exchange media for all developers and users of SMIS to share information. Many GIS layers or databases may be developed by SMIS users and shared with all SMIS users using smishp.
Each state is encouraged to develop a system within their state for using SMIS. Adding files specific to their state will not interfere with the file structure of the base SMIS. Sharing what these files are and how they are used over the smishp will be useful to others using SMIS.
A shared responsibility for improving, maintaining, and simplifying use of SMIS will help insure advancement and success of the SMIS.
The transformation of some databases for use in SMIS, for example the 1992 Agricultural Census, is most easily and economical done at one location. This will require a shared cost for the resources required to develop and integrate the data into the SMIS. The various participating Universities could submit proposals to smishp for this work. The SAAESDs will review the proposals, accept or reject, and fund them.
The smishp. Renee needs help building it and getting it going. Many of the potential users also need help. Watch the smishp for this information.
Agenda Item 16
Presenter: Drs. Ike Sewell and D.C. Coston
The “one-step” project approval process appears to be working well. Eight projects have been received by SRRC and are in various stages of the development/approval process. A few requests for one-year extensions have been made. A full progress report will be presented.
Suggestions and comments related to SRRC operations and policies are solicited.
Information and action resulting from discussion.
Information — actions as indicated by individual directors is encouraged. Timely actions by administrative advisors is encouraged. In general, the revised procedures are a substantial improvement over older ones and the SRRC was commended for its implementation of these new procedures.
SRRC PROGRESS REPORT
July 16, 1995
- SRDC 93-01, Replacement for S-226, Diversity and Interactions of Beneficial
Bacterial and Fungi in the Rhizosphere — Dudley SmithApproved by CSREES as S-262 on June 30, 1995.
- SRDC 93-02, New Proposal, Enhancing Food Safety Through control of Foodborne Disease Agents — H. Graham PurchaseApproved by CSREES as S-263 on June 30, 1995.
- SRDC 93-04, Replacement for S-235, Parameter Sensing and Control Systems for Drying Agricultural Commodities — J. R. FischerSRRC has reviewed proposal and review comments were submitted to Administrative Advisor on March 9, 1995. No further response has been received.
- SRDC 93-07, Replacement for S-234, Evaluation and Development of Plant Pathogens for Biological Control of Weeds — David TeemReturned to Administrative Advisor with SRRC review comments on June 26, 1995.
- SRDC 93-08, S-183 (Revised), Phenology, Population Dynamics and Interference: A Basis for Understanding Weed Biology and Ecology — Dudley SmithApproved by CSREES as S-183 on June 30, 1995.
- SRDC 93-09, Replacement for S-238, Biological Control of Selected Arthropod Pests and Weeds — T. J. HelmsReturned to Administrative Advisor with SRRC review comments on July 7, 1995.
- SRDC 94-02, Replacement for S-240, Development and Integration of Entomopathogens into Pest Management Systems — Larry CrowderSubmitted to Southern Directors’ Chairman, Jerry Arkin, with positive recommendation for his endorsement and submission to CSREES on June 30, 1995.
- SRDC 94-05, Replacement for S-247, Microirrigation of Horticultural Crops in Humid Regions — J. R. FischerSubmitted to Southern Directors’ Chairman, Jerry Arkin, with positive recommendation for his endorsement and submission to CSREES on June 30, 1995.
- SRDC 94-07, New Project, Pesticides in Water and Air Samples: Validation of Disk and Fiber Phase Extraction Techniques — N. P. ThompsonSent to SRRC for review on July 10, 1995.
Requests for One-Year Extensions:
- S-246, The Transformation of Agriculture: Resources, Technologies, and Policies — Fred TynerApproved by CSREES on June 21, 1995.
- S-243, Evaluation of Beef Cattle Germplasm Resources Involving Additive and non-Additive Genetic Effects — Lowell FrobishCSREES received recommendation for one-year extension on May 12, 1995. Request will be acted upon on September 13-14, 1995.
J. I. Sewell
Agenda Item 17
Presenter: Dr. Walt Woods
The CSREES report is attached.
Information, discussion, and action as indicated.
Dr. George Cooper substituted for the scheduled CSREES representative, Dr. Woods. Dr. Cooper indicated workshops would be held in the agency for on-site reviews and cooperative agreements. He also advised that Dr. John Meyers of CRIS will retire this year.
The budget picture for the Agency is not clear, but with the House and Senate both considering reductions in appropriations, it does not appear positive. More information will be provided at the time of the meeting. The 1997 budget submission has been turned into the Department. The Department recommendations for the priority areas for research and extension in the 1995 Farm Bill are: enhancing economic opportunity, protecting natural resources and the environment, having a healthier, better educated citizenry, reducing risk for consumers and farmers and enhancing global competitiveness. These priorities are to be reflected in the 1997 proposed budget. the 1995 Farm Bill recommendations include plans submitted by the Administration as well as the requests made for appropriate extension of authorizations. Two new programs were recommended in the 1995 Farm Bill considerations–a competitive applied research grant program and a competitive facility grants program.
Several issues still influence decisions by the Agency and a partial list includes streamlining requirement to reduce the number of employees (the targeted level of 381 FTE by 1999, the current level is about 400), potential reduction in appropriations for 1996, inability to hire new employees to meet certain critical needs due to streamlining goals and concern about the future budget, and potential changes in the federal retirement programs by Congress that will influence some staff to retire. The merger is still moving forward effectively. The Agency is implementing programs to address the differences in the culture of the two previous organizations to encourage shared vision and more joint responsibilities.
The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) was passed in 1993 which requires each Agency to submit a strategic plan, set performance goals, and measure and report performance. The strategic planning requirement is for a 5 year period and includes a mission statement, goals and objectives, key external factors, and program evaluations. Annual performance plans and reports are required. The annual performance plans and reports require performance goals, resources required, performance indicators, and comparative analysis.
The strategic plan and performance framework must be submitted to the Department and OMB by March 1996. A discussion will be presented on the Agency response and process to meet this requirement and how the Partners will be involved in developing the response.
Agenda Item 18
Presenter: Dr. Jonathan Pote
Dr. Pote is Director of the WRI in Mississippi. He came as a spokesperson for his counterparts at the regional and national level.
The Water Resources Institutes have been traditionally funded in the Department of Interior, most recently under the USGS. As an extramural program in a mostly intramural agency, they have not fared well, especially with recent budget pressures. The relationship of the Institutes to the SAESs is variable among states. Generally, programs have been regarded as at least complimentary if not an integral part of the SAES programs.
The WRI group wishes to explore the possibility of Farm Bill language that would encourage more active communication between the SAESs and the WRIs. If it could be arranged, they would like to see language authorizing their activity in USDA rather than Interior, given that funds would not be derived from existing USDA programs.
The Western Association has endorsed their effort in principle.
The WRIs seek a communication with Southern Directors to explain their situation and to seek whatever support we can provide for their continued funding. They envision an initial exchange of views at the regional and national level that would explore a closer programmatic relationship in future years at the national level.
On the motion by Merrifield, seconded by Helms, the Association resolved to express general support for the Water Resources Institutes in terms of the quality of their programs and their complimentarity to related research in the Southern SAESs. The Association agreed to support the suggestion (which may appear in language in the 1995 Farm Bill) that encourages closer relationships between the WRIs and SAESs. The issue of transferring the WRI program from Department of Interior to USDA was discussed and would not be opposed by the SAAESD if it is assured that funding does not come from existing USDA research and extension resources.
Agenda Item 19
Presenter: Dr. Everett Emino
With the reorganization of the USDA the Soil Conservation Service has been renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS has been reorganized into six Regional Offices (ROs), and each will be administrated by a Regional Conservationist (Fig. 1). The Southern Region will have two ROs ( Atlanta and Fort Worth). The National Cooperative Soil Survey Program (NCSSP) has also been reorganized into 17 MLRA’s (Major Land Resource Areas), each with a corresponding office (MO). In the Southern Region, the MOs will be in Morgantown, WV; Raleigh, NC; Auburn, AL; Little Rock, AR; Temple, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and Salina, KS (Figure 2). Most states will be divided into two or three MLRAs (Figure 2). The Southern Region will be administered by a State Office (Technical support), and by several MOs (quality assurance). The State Soil Scientist’s (Liaison) position is being redefined (Fig. 3). The State Agricultural Experiment Station representatives had little or no input into the reorganization or the location of the MOs, and are very concerned about the lack of cooperative effort from the new NRCS. Under this new structure, state agricultural experiment station representatives may have to attend several meetings out-of-state at the different MOs to present concerns that may exist within their state. With MOs scattered throughout the region and without one primary contact for the agricultural experiment station representative, tit may be very difficult to maintain continuity of quality control within the Southern Region.
- Concern – There will not be one contact person or leader responsible for the soilsurvey program in the state.
- Question – Will that be the responsibility of the state agricultural experiment station?Another major concern is that recently, the NCSSP, specifically the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) in Lincoln, NE, has developed research activities for the NCSSP (figs. 4, 5, and 6). Previously, research applicable to the soil survey program had been conducted by the state agricultural experiment stations.
- Concert – The NSSC will be involved in research that may conflict with the agricultural experiment stations. This must be a joint adventure with the agricultural experiment stations in the leadership role.
- Question – If the NSSC becomes actively involved in research, what will be the role of the agricultural experiment stations?
- Question – If the cooperative nature of the soil survey program erodes, should we continue our association with the NCSSP?
Dr. Emino discussed the reorganization of the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program. Several concerns and questions have been expressed, e.g., the four regional offices in the Southern Region will be reduced to two. IEG-22 will establish agenda for research priorities in the South.
It was reported that NRCS is meeting with SAESs regional representatives to discuss how the new organization will relate to scientists in the SAESs. It was noted that the Service has proposed funding for research and education in the FY 1996 appropriations bill.
Agenda Item 20
Presenter: Dr. Johnny Wynne
The Nominating Committee will make its recommendations to the Association in accordance with established procedures. The Chair Elect is presumed to become the 1995-6 Chair and the Association will elect a new secretary and chair-elect.
Consider the recommendations of the Committee, make additional nominations if desired and elect new officers.
The nominating committee, comprised of Drs. Wynne, Buchanan, and Scifres recommended the following individuals for 1995-6 officers for the Association: Chair – Dr. Tom Helms (MS), Vice-Chair, Dr. D. C. Coston (OK), Secretary, Dr. Graham Purchase (MS).
On the motion of Wynne, seconded by Richardson, the report of the Nominating Committee was unanimously adopted. The Chair thanked the Committee for its deliberations and report.
Agenda Item 21
Presenter: Dr. Jerry Arkin
The agenda briefs for both these meetings were sent in advance. Final discussion on SERAs and any other agenda items for the meeting with Southern Extension Directors were considered here. Final preparations for the first meeting with ARDs were taken up.
Final preparations for joint meetings.
None, for information.
Agenda Item 22
The attached letter from the Executive Director to the Chair indicates his decision to complete formal relationships with the Association on completion of the present contract on December 31, 1995. He offered to continue serving as Executive Director on request of the Association while recruitment of a replacement occurs.
The decision was presented in the meeting of Operating Officers which preceded the regular meeting of the Association (July 15, 1995). The Chair will proceed with identifying and charging a committee to develop recommendations for a charge to the new Executive Director and to initiate the search process. The Operating Officers agreed to request the current Executive Director to continue service for three to four months into next year, while the search for his replacement is underway.
July 14, 1995
Gerald F. Arkin, Chair
Southern Association of Agricultural
Experiment Station Directors
I am writing to you to provide this input before the meeting of the Operating Officers of the Association on July 15, 1995 where you will discuss actions to be taken regarding the expiration of my current contract as Executive Director. I promised to tell you before that meeting if I would be willing to extend our contract another year, if the offer was made.
I have very carefully considered this decision, as you might imagine. Having had an almost singular commitment to the SAESs in recent years, in particular those in our Association, it was difficult to come to this conclusion. It was more difficult because of the outstanding relationships with and support from the members of the Association, especially the five Chairs that I have had the honor to serve.
However, I have reached the decision that I would like to complete my formal relationship with the Association on December 31, 1995, at the end of our current contract. Recognizing that this does not leave a lot of time to find a replacement, I would be willing, at the request of the Association, to continue the present contract for an additional three to four months to provide continuity for the function of the Association during recruitment.
I wish to thank all members of the Association for a very fine and rewarding experience. I am particularly appreciative of the excellent support the Chairs, including yourself, have provided to our office. I am proud of our Association and the things that are being done today to enhance your ability to cooperate.
I am especially grateful to The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station for serving as host institution for the Association and our office and to Bob Merrifield for his support.
Neville P. Clarke