AESOP Plan of Activities for 2000
ECOP and ESCOP’s contract with AESOP Enterprises, Ltd. identifies four
primary areas of activity for AESOP.
The following draft "Plan of Activities" (POA1)
lists in more detail the types to activities that AESOP engages in to address
these primary activities. As well, a section is provided entitled "Additional
System Activities," which is provided to list those activities that AESOP
undertakes on a routine basis but which are not captured under these four
The federal budget and agricultural appropriations for research and extension
programs funded through the Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State
Research, Education, and Extension Service;
Targeted federal funding opportunities for research and extension through
other federal agencies, possibly including specific projects within EPA,
HHS, or NSF;
The development of a new science agenda;
Other issues as defined by the Chairs of ECOP and ESCOP (Emerging issues).
The ECOP and ESCOP Chairs and their respective Executive Committees
will review this draft POA. AESOP and the ESCOP and ECOP Chairs / Chair-Elects
will then finalize this draft. The POA will be reviewed and modified if
necessary on a quarterly basis.
NOTE: Activities to support the CSREES budget are fairly
well developed and defined. The remaining three areas are less defined.
ESCOP and ECOP need to agree regarding which specific issues are addressed
within areas II – IV. As well, there needs to be agreement on the relative
priority of the issues and the amount of effort to be directed to these
I. CSREES Budget
ECOP and ESCOP Budget Committees
Participate in meetings and teleconferences.
Brief the Committee on Washington events and opportunities.
Board on Agriculture Budget Committee
Work with the Committee Chair to prepare for BOA Budget Committee Activities.
Participate in meetings and teleconferences.
Work closely with the Chair and Chair-Elect of the Committee.
Assist in the development of BOA Budget Committee documents.
Assist Chair and Chair-Elect in presenting the BOA Budget Committee documents
and process to other components of the land-grant system and support groups,
Participants in the NASULGC annual meeting;
The AHS / CARET meetings
CGA, CARET and Lay Leaders,
Facilitate meeting and communications with outside interest groups to identify
priorities and build support.
Conduct survey of interest groups and compile results.
Engage in a series of interactive small group meetings with Washington
representatives of interest groups.
Facilitate interest group participation in BOA Budget Committee meetings.
Explore opportunities to speak or facilitate presentations at interest
group meetings, coordinated though the AHS liaisons, CARET and other contacts.
Facilitate meetings and discussions with the White House, OMB and USDA
Assist in the development of congressional testimony.
Facilitate meetings with key congressional staff and Members with BOA /
ECOP / ESCOP Budget Committee leadership, as needed.
Assist BOA Budget / Education Chair in developing special events with congressional
leadership to strengthen relations with Washington leaders.
Attend appropriate CFERR meetings and assist in reporting on the activities
of the BOA, ECOP and ESCOP in regards to the agricultural appropriations
Apprise CFERR of activities that AESOP is pursuing for the BOA Budget Committee,
ECOP and/or ESCOP outside of the USDA appropriations account. Assist in
facilitating communication with other land-grant committees and/or NASUGLC
staff that are working with other agencies, when appropriate.
Meet with CARET Executive Committee and speak at CARET meetings, as requested.
Except in those states where the administrative head has specified that
direct communication to the CARET delegates is not desired:
Provide electronic news updates to CARET delegates.
Work directly when needed with key CARET representatives to communicate
with Congressional Members and staff.
Facilitate targeted visits by CARET staff to key offices at critical times.
Speak at the annual Layleaders meeting in Washington, if requested.
Collaborate with CGA ad hoc agriculture group.
Participate in presentations to the total CGA with the ad hoc CGA group.
Collaborate with NASULGC staff in the production of BOA Budget Committee
documents. AESOP will work with the BOA Budget Committee regarding content
of the documents; NASULGC and the Budget Committee staff are responsible
Collaborate with NASULGC staff regarding the delivery of Congressional
testimony and land-grant system requests to Congress.
AESOP will work with the BOA Chair, the ECOP and ESCOP Chairs and Budget
Chairs, and NASULGC in developing a list of activities and tasks involved
in the development of the BOA Budget Committee requests.
While assisting in building support for the BOA Budget Committee recommendations,
AESOP will work with the offices of Land-Grant Presidents, Vice-Presidents,
Deans, Directors and Administrators as appropriate to the issues and the
management practices of the specific institution.
AESOP will routinely communicate the status of the agricultural appropriations
process via "News from the Hill" and will keep the system apprised of needed
If the Section 406 issue is not resolved in the FY2000 appropriations process,
AESOP will look for appropriations events that might provide opportunities
to address this issue before the FY20001 process, such as an appropriate
Additional resources to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers could
yet emerge between now and the FY2001 appropriations process, either in
a supplemental or disaster assistance bill. AESOP will continue to explore
opportunities to direct needed resources to ES to assist in providing risk
management education and tools to farmers and ranchers.
AESOP will continue to work with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees
to identify the need for funding research analysis and extension education
regarding crop insurance tools.
II. Other Federal Agencies
NOTE: Early in 1999, ECOP identified four priority areas
that it would like to see AESOP address in the category of working with
other federal agencies. In the September ’99 SAES Directors Workshop, the
Directors identified eight topics as having high potent ional for a national
initiative. In this first draft POA, AESOP has tried to capture most of
the issues identified in these two sets of lists, mixing and merging them
where it seemed possible. The topics in this list are not in any particular
order. ECOP and ESCOP should consider if this is the right list of issues
to start with. Then there needs to be some decisions made as to whether
all of these issues should be pursued and what the relative balance of
effort should be. AESOP can then develop a more complete list of activities.
The primary vehicles for passage of legislation in this arena bogged
down over debates regarding gun control. There are efforts underway to
move this legislation prior to the end of this year, but most observers
are doubtful. There is beneficial language that targets support for ES
programs in the Senate bill, and more generic but useable language in the
House bill. It is our understanding that the House is not opposed to inclusion
of the Senate language regarding ES when they go to conference, presumably
There is an issue that ECOP does need to address in this legislation.
The Senate language that is beneficial to ES in the Senate bill may read
as if it was crafted for the system, but it evolved out of language that
was targeted primarily to one state, with the possibility of expanding
to others. The ES state personnel involved would like to see system support
and involvement, but understandably they do not want to loose their original
focus either. The ECOP Legislative Committee will need to review whether
we still support the bill as it stands in the Senate or whether expanded
or different language is desired elsewhere in the bill. A discussion between
the ECOP Legislative Committee and the involved state leadership might
AESOP could work with the ECOP Legislative Committee to identify specific
recommendations for language in this bill, should conference be delayed
until spring of 2000.
Childcare and Elementary Education
If there are specific recommendations, AESOP could communicate these with
the appropriate Congressional offices, keeping ES Directors apprised of
the status of these discussions.
After Congress closes this season, AESOP suggests that the ECOP Legislative
Committee, NASULGC staff and AESOP review the status of legislation in
this arena and the possibilities available in the coming year. At this
time, this seems to be primarily of interest to ECOP and the BOHS, rather
than ESCOP. After the ECOP Legislative Committee has identified its priorities
and goals for 2000, perhaps a teleconference with the BOHS Legislative
Committee would be beneficial to coordinate efforts.
If the ECOP (and ESCOP?) Legislative Committee identifies desired language
for inclusion in any "vehicles," AESOP could meet with appropriate Congressional
offices to advance this language.
If ECOP determines to support existing legislative vehicles, AESOP could
coordinate with NASULGC staff in developing additional letters, calls or
activities that indicate the systems support.
This is a "mature issue" in some sense, but quite unformed in others.
The private sector has moved on ahead of public sector research. The public
sector "Plant Genome" component is well defined in NSF, but the animal
and microbe components are not fully developed in any agency and there
is no clear comprehensive genome initiative in place. Accordingly, there
are a number of steps that need to be taken before a comprehensive genome
initiative can be "taken to the Hill" or to the Administration
AESOP could work with the appropriate ESCOP/ECOP Committees or individuals
to develop an initiative to address agricultural genomics. The initiative
will need to address such issues as:
How much funding is sought through which agencies?
What is the appropriate balance between plant, animals and microbes – and
which comes at what point in the process?
What is the appropriate partnership between the universities, the federal
labs, and the private sector?
Who should be doing basic sequencing, as opposed to who should be doing
How is IPR to be handled, in principle?
What new partnerships can be utilized? Consortiums organized around species,
How can the major non-university players be incorporated in a joint-venture
initiative, such as Danforth and Novartis.
AESOP could be charged to work with the appropriate ECOP/ESCOP Committees
to develop a draft initiative description that address these issues.
AESOP could be charged to meet with industry leaders to explore the opportunity
for a joint-venture initiative with the universities.
Over the past several months, this has developed into a multi-agency
initiative with bipartisan support. The President has signed an order that
directs EPA, USDA, and DOE to increase efforts to address bio-based products.
Senator Lugar has developed a bill and a companion bill has been introduced
in the House. House Agriculture Committee staff have asked ESCOP to testify
on this bill in mid-October ’99 and AESOP has been in discussions with
Senate staff regarding a modification to the original bill to more clearly
identify a role for ES. The legislation will probably not be passed until
next spring, but the Administration is proceeding with its activities.
AESOP can continue to develop Congressional testimony that identifies the
role of research and Extension in addressing bio-based products.
AESOP could meet with leading agency officials to explore an expanded role
for the universities in their emerging plans.
AESOP could meet with industry leaders who have facilitated the current
level of interest in this issue.
AESOP has participated in an ongoing set of discussions with an emerging
consortium of rural interest groups. Since the AESOP’s presentation on
this topic at the Joint ECOP/ESCOP meetings at Osage Beach, the Rural Caucus
has been reformed in the House and leadership has been identified in the
Senate. While at a meeting with the BOA Budget Committee Chair at the White
House, AESOP was asked to quickly identify the potential role of university
research and extension in addressing some specific needs of underserved
communities. Several Congressional offices that are considering passage
of legislation in the spring have contacted us. RURPRI and AESOP have met
jointly with the leadership of a group within the National Association
of County Officials (NACO) to discuss meetings that NACO was having in
on Hill and at the White House.
It is possible that the collation of interests will become more formalized
in the next month or two, in which case AESOP will seek to the inclusion
of SAES and ES liaisons identified by ECOP and ESCOP.
The ECOP and ESCOP Legislative Committees may wish to meet separately and
then jointly via teleconference to review the emergence of this initiative
and to consider their respective goals and objectives
Both ECOP and ESCOP seem very interested in increased interactions with
the health science and education communities, primarily through NIH. Interests
seem to range from pesticide residue and food safety issues through nutrition
and diet to the impacts of welfare reform on children. These are all worthy
issues and they should be explored. However, AESOP will need some guidance
on how ECOP and ESCOP wish to "narrow down" the array of potential interests,
before we can suggest some immediate activities.
This is a well-developed and defined issue. There is a multi-agency
Presidential Initiative underway. There is a new food safety institute
established within the Administration. There is a large university-based
food safety consortium. There are activities underway in the regions. There
are several university-based institutes. There is a working coalition of
industry groups. The critical question for AESOP is, what would ECOP and
ESCOP want us to do, separate from what is already underway. More resources
could be targeted for the system, in addition to USDA funding. AESOP could
collaborate with one or more of the existing coalitions. There may be issues
that the current Administration initiative has failed to address that AESOP
could target. Guidance is needed on this one, not because so little has
been done, but because so much is underway.
There appears to be a great deal of interest among SAES Directors and
others in this issue. It is very much a "Washington issue" and there may
be legislation, trade negotiators, and Administrative action. It is also
a perilous issue.
Until such time that a specific course of actions or recommendations are
developed, perhaps out of an ESCOP Committee, AESOP could monitor and provide
electronic news on this topic.
The interest in this topic, like "health," is huge. The challenge again
is to "get ones hands around it all." There are ES and SAES environmental
programs ranging from water quality and livestock waste management to Farm*a*syst
to EQUIP and so on. There are several possible approaches:
ECOP and ESCOP could identify one or two specific issues that AESOP should
seek to support in other federal agencies, such as "waste management."
AESOP could identify specific opportunities identified by SUNEI and seek
funding that builds on the SUNEI efforts.
AESOP could work with the appropriate ECOP / ESCOP Committees to develop
a "comprehensive" environmental initiative that would incorporate a mix
of existing programs.
The Administration and Vice-President Gore has signaled a great deal
of interest in an array of land-use issues, including land conservation,
rural-urban interface issues and "odor." This is partly an "environmental
issue" but it has a number of agricultural production and community resource
issues embedded in it as well. The question to date is, is there a "Republican"
mix of interests or is this becoming a "Democratic" issue, in which case
there may not be any progress in the coming year.
AESOP could meet with the appropriate ECOP and ESCOP Committees to assist
in identifying desired objectives and goals.
AESOP could monitor the status of this issue and watch for possible opportunities.
If the House Science Committee begins to revise or move its science agenda
forward, AESOP will meet with the ECOP and ESCOP Legislative Committees
to identify appropriate actions to assure that SAES and ES concerns are
AESOP could routinely meet with OSTP staff to stay apprised of Administration
science policy. AESOP will monitor the activities of PCST and the President’s
As appropriate, AESOP staff could meet with and participate in activities
at NSF and NAS / NRC.
AESOP could monitor the activities of the Congressional committees with
jurisdiction over general science issues.
AESOP could explore opportunities to collaborate with the Science Coalition
and the Congressional working groups on "Doubling."
AESOP could participate in ongoing "Century III" discussions, organized
AESOP could participate in the development of a "Science Roadmap," as discussed
AESOP could monitor and report on the university and possible Congressional
response to OMB’s guidelines for A110.
IV. Emerging Issues
This category is reserved for addressing unanticipated issues. For example,
if the Reauthorization of the 20002 Farm Bill were to be moved up to the
year 2000, the Chairs of ECOP and ESCOP may agree with AESOP to redirect
time and resources to addressing this legislation, before the next quarterly
plan is revised. In such matters, The Chairs of ECOP and ESCOP will jointly
discuss with AESOP the need for such revised activities.
Additional System Activities
AESOP will participate in the following meetings unless there are critical
events underway in Washington:
ECOP and ESCOP meetings, as well as joint ECOP / ESCOP meetings.
SAES Directors annual meetings
ES Directors yearly meetings, when they occur.
ESCOP / ACOP Leadership Training Sessions, as requested.
Annual NELD meetings, as requested.
NASULGC annual meetings
Appropriate AHS / CARET meetings, in DC.
CARET Executive Committee meetings in DC.
Appropriate CGA meetings in DC.
CFERR and CFERR Legislative Committee meetings, in DC.
Appropriate BOA meetings, in DC.
BOA Budget Committee meetings and teleconferences.
BOA Science and Technology Committee meetings in DC and teleconferences.
ECOP / ESCOP Image Enhancement Committee
As appropriate to the issues, AESOP will participate in the following ECOP
and ESCOP committee meetings and teleconferences:
Budget and Legislative Committee
Depending on the Congressional schedule, AESOP will attempt to participate
in at least one of each of the research and extension regional meetings
each year. AESOP will tend to target regional meetings where research and
extension are meeting at the same location and time, to minimize the time
out of Washington.
AESOP is asked to participate in many additional workshops and activities
outside of Washington. In general, AESOP may participate in a few workshops
or activities that are deemed critical to carrying out its assignments
for ESCOP and ECOP; these will be discussed between AESOP and the ESCOP
and ECOP Chairs on a case-by-case basis
AESOP will provide routine electronic communications via News from the
Hill and Action Alerts to the system regarding its activities and needed
1 Several requests have
been made to call this Plan anything other than a "Plan of Work," so we
are calling it a "Plan of Activities" to avoid confusing it with any other
documents or processes.