Draft Minutes

ESCOP Executive Committee

November 13, 2006

Hilton Americas Hotel

Houston, TX



Agenda #

Agenda Item - Presenter



Call to order - Ron Pardini (Chair)



Approval of Agenda, Minutes, and Interim Actions – Ron Pardini



25 x 25 Initiative - Duane Acker



CSREES Update – Dan Kugler



BAA-Policy Board of Directors Update – Nancy Cox



CREATE-21 Status Report – Steve Slack



Budget and Legislative Committee – LeRoy Daugherty/Daryl Lund



Science and Technology Committee: NRI Priorities – Eric Young



NRSP Review Committee and Unintended Consequences – Mike Harrington



Strategic Marketing Plan– Jerry Arkin/Tom Fretz






Institutionalizing Impact Statements for Multistate Activities – Ron Pardini



Structure of ESS Annual Meeting – Mike Harrington/Eric Young



New Deans/Directors Workshop - Eric Young



A National Partnership Workshop ala Baltimore 2001 - All



2007 ESS Annual Meeting and Workshop – Bruce McPheron



Other Business



Adjourn – Ron Pardini








Hector Santiago, University of Puerto Rico

Steven Slack, Ohio State University

Patrick Sgbokwe, Alcorn State University

Joe Collett, Iowa State University

Bruce McPheron, Penn State University

Marshall Martin, Purdue University

Hunt Shipman, Cornerstone Government Affairs

Sukant Misra, Texas Tech University

LeRoy Daugherty, New Mexico State University

David Boethel, Louisiana State University


Eric Young, SAAESD

Susan Barefoot, Clemson University

Ralph Otto, CSREES

Daryl Lund, NCRA

Dan Kugler, CSREES

Al Parks, Prairie View A&M University

Nancy Cox, University of Kentucky

Stephen Kolison, Tennessee State University

Wondi Mersie, Virginia State University

Ron Pardini, University of Nevada

Mike Harrington, WAAESD



Assignments and Actions:

Item 4: A motion (D Boethel/B McPheron) was passed to appoint a liaison the ECOP Communications and Marketing Task Force.  This will be communicated to the Tom Fretz and Gerry Arkin.

Item 7: The NRI recommendations report was approved.  Eric Young to communicate the report to Anna Palmisano with cc’s to Colien Hefferan, Gale Buchanan and all AES Directors.

Item 10: Postponed for a Chair’s Advisory call


Item 11: An ad hoc committee consisting of the ESCOP Chair and Chair-elect, the EDs, a representative from each region will develop a new plan for the ESS Annual Meeting and Workshop.



Agenda Briefs


Item: Approval of Agenda, Meeting Minutes and Interim Actions

Background Information: Approval of Agenda, 2006 Joint COPs Summer Meeting Minutes and Interim Actions


Interim Actions

  • 9/29/06 Don Cooksey (UC-Riverside) as the ESCOP representative to Plant Pathology Laboratory Accreditation Committee (APHIS activity)
  • 10/19/06 Steve Kolison (TN State Univ.) to the Partnership Working Group
  • Distributed memos and resolutions acknowledging Directors who have left positions
  • Participated in a conference call on the 2007 Science on the Hill exhibit.  NASULGC has adopted all of the ESCOP recommendations relative to the exhibit as follows:
    • A survey of participants and attendees will be conducted to obtain feedback on the event, especially the associated costs-benefits and suggestions for improvement.
    • NASULGC has a new public affairs officer that will be asked to develop a media kit to help publicize the event to the media.
    • NASULGC will develop a model for inclusion on the posters to demonstrate the leveraging of USDA dollars by the States as a result of the base program of CSREES.
    • NASULGC will consider adding a communications/marketing person to the planning committee.
    • The committee agreed to utilize the theme of "Protecting the Homeland" for the 2007 Ag on the Hill exhibit. It was felt that this was a timely topic and broad enough that each experiment station could participate.

Action Requested: Approval of agenda, minutes and interim actions

Action Taken: Agenda and interim actions were approved.  It was decided that the appropriate ESCOP committee should approved its respective minutes.  Thus the minutes of the meeting held at the 2006 Joint COPs meeting should be approved by the full ESCOP Committee.

Item: 25 x 25 Initiative

Presenter: Duane Acker

Background Information:

Click here for the 25 x 25 America's Energy Future PowerPoint presentation

In meeting discussion:


·        The 25x25 Initiative has no specific plans for the Energy Title of the Farm Bill but various commodity groups are looking at this section.

·        ESCOP can assist is a variety of ways including being aware of and possibly endorsing the effort and assisting in identifying and addressing the researchable problems.

·        The 25X25 website has a variety of resources relating to the initiative.  There is a sign-up to receive electronic update and top also endorse the effort.  There is also much background information including a recent study by researchers the University of Tennessee that provides a detailed economic analysis. (See www.25x25.org)


Action Requested: For information only.


Item: CSREES Update

Presenter: Dan Kugler

Background Information:

In meeting discussion: 

·        Dan Kugler briefly discussed the CSREES Report to the partnership that was distributed at the BAA meeting.

·        Directors should be aware of CSREES priorities in the 2008 budget as highlighted in Colien Hefferan’s “Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Agency Estimates” memo of July 11, 2006. Click here for this memo.

·        McIntire Stennis funds will be administered via Grants.Gov this year.  This is a federal mandate for all government payments, suggesting that Hatch and Smith Lever funds will transition to this system in the future.

·        Ralph Otto will be the new CSREES Associate Administrator.


Action Requested: For information only



Item: BAA-Policy Board of Directors Update

Presenter: Nancy Cox

Background Information:

The BAA Policy Board of Directors will meet prior to the ESCOP meeting in Houston on Saturday, November 11 from 5:00 to 9:30. A brief report will be given on the discussions and decisions made at this meeting.

In meeting discussion: 

  • Fred Cholick is the new PBD Chair and will be replaced on the CREATE-21 and Farm Bill committees.
  • Jack Payne is the Chair-elect
  • All parts of the draft Farm Bill language needs to be reviewed.
  • ECOP has created a Communications and Marketing Task Force.
  • A motion was passed to appoint a liaison from the ESCOP Communications and Marketing Committee to this committee.


Action Requested: For information only



Item: CREATE-21 Status Report

Presenter: Steve Slack

Background Information:

In meeting discussion:

·        The latest draft legislative language was discussed by the joint C-21 and Farm Bill Committee.

·        There has been a harmonization with Bill Danforth to bring together the NIFA and C-21 proposal into a single effort.  The C-21 proposal has always been “NIFA and more”.

·        Questions from ESCOP:

o       What are the positions of ARS and CREES, etc on this proposal?

o       How was the % split between grant categories “open access and capacity” developed?  Aren’t the set aside capacity funds too high?

o       How vulnerable are the Hatch and other authorities?

o       What is the timeline?

o       How would a worst case scenario budget cut be handled, across the board?

o       If the FY 2007 budget is the baseline shouldn’t there be language which relates to this funding level

·        Susan Barefoot suggested language that would require that efforts be made to preserve capacity funds in the event of a budget cut.  This recommended change will be communicated to the C-21 committee by Steve Slack.

·        The next iteration of the draft language will be available on the C-21 website during the week of November 20.  (http://www.create-21.org)

·        The timeline is to have the draft language completed before Christmas.

·        Any questions should be addressed to Daryl Lund, Steve Slack, Mike Harrington or Cornerstone staff. 


Action Requested: For information only



Item: Budget and Legislative Committee

Presenter: LeRoy Daugherty and Daryl Lund

Background Information:

FY 07
The House has changed and Nancy Polosi (CA) will be the new Speaker, and David Obey (WI) the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee. LeRoy will deliver other news gathered from Cornerstone Government Affairs (CGA) on Saturday.

FY 08
The BAC will have met Saturday at the NASULGC meeting. LeRoy will give an oral update.

FY 09
At the Fall annual meeting of ESS we had three breakout groups discuss the ESS budget priorities for FY 09. The B/L Comm. will formulate the input into a recommendation that will be shared with the ESS membership. Most likely a Zoomerang survey will be used to arrive at priorities around the issues. The priorities for ESS need to be transmitted to the BAC in Spring 2007. One of the more intriguing ideas presented at the ESS Fall workshop is to target any increase in formula-distributed funds (FDF) to specific important issues (like bioenergy, water resources, etc.). It was also suggested that we might catalyze the addition of FDF by pledging to redirect or direct more current FDF to the same issue (for example, 25% of all FDF would go to a specific topic/issue).

Farm Bill/CREATE 21
The Farm Bill and CREATE 21 Committees have been merged because the next step (after the vote showed a strong majority in moving CREATE 21 forward to the next step) is to consider legislative language for the family to consider. Since the CREATE 21 initiative is so inclusive, the Farm Bill language requests that the Farm Bill Committee received have been forwarded to CGA so they are also considered in the Farm Bill Language for CREATE 21.

CGA has developed, and the CREATE 21/Farm Bill Committee has approved, a legislative timeline in discussing CREATE 21 with CoFARM, CAST, NAREEEAB, REE agencies staffers, congressmen, CropLife America, NCFAR, etc. CREATE 21-Farm Bill Committee will meet Saturday in Houston and results will be discussed in the BAA meeting.

In preparation for launching CREATE 21 and Farm Bill Language, CGA has created the following Executive Summary.

CREATE-21: Executive Summary
1. Situational Analysis

  • Between 1970 and 2005: the U.S. population increased by 100 million people; the GDP grew by 293%; federal revenues, outlays, and domestic spending all rose dramatically; and funding for health/medical research at NIH increased by $22.6 billion (882%).
  • However, USDA funding for food, agriculture, and natural resources research grew at an average annual rate of just 1.85 percent over the last 35 years.
  • And, in the last ten years, USDA base funding for State Agricultural Experiment Stations actually dropped by $27 million while base funding for the Cooperative Extension Service declined by $45 million.
  • Even the National Research Initiative - the principal food, agriculture, and natural resources competitive grants program - received less funding in FY 2005 ($180 million) than each of 25 states received in NIH grants during that same 12-month period.

2. The CREATE-21 Proposal

  • America faces many serious challenges that can only be solved through enhanced scientific research, extension, and teaching.
  • To address those problems, a National Institute will be created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, integrating the research, education, and extension programs currently divided among the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), Economic Research Service (ERS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
  • The Institute will provide: (1) enhanced "competitive" funding to support vital fundamental and applied research/extension projects; and (2) continued "capacity" funding for intramural research and research, education, and extension programs at the land-grant and related universities/institutions.

3. Reorganization within USDA

  • Functions, facilities, programs, projects, activities, and personnel from ARS, CSREES, ERS, and USFS R&D will be integrated within the Institute. Intramural and university-based functions will be retained within the new organizational structure.
  • The Institute will be: (1) an independent agency reporting to the Secretary; (2) led by an eminent scientist/educator, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a six-year term; and (3) guided by a National Stakeholder Advisory Council.

4. The Case for Reorganization

  • The Institute will… Increase organizational flexibility through a variable structure organized initially around six major problem/solution areas.
  • Improve budgetary efficiency through elimination of duplicative programs and activities and a streamlined bureaucracy.
  • Enhance program integration by bringing the intramural research capacity of USDA more closely together with the research, education, and extension capacity of the land-grant system.
  • Boost stakeholder involvement through a new National Stakeholder Advisory Council and other mechanisms for improved/increased input at all levels.
  • Be authorized to receive increased competitive grant funding. (Authorized funding for the intramural capacity of ARS, ERS, USFS R&D, and the land-grant university system will also be significantly enhanced.)

5. Enhanced Funding Authorized

  • Competitive funding will (after seven years) reach $2.126 billion per year, with fundamental research constituting 55 percent of the total and integrated programs the remaining 45 percent. (Full indirect cost recovery will be implemented as new funds become available.)
  • Capacity funding will (after seven years) reach $2.937 billion per year, enabling intramural USDA research and extramural programs at land-grant and related universities/institutions to maintain/extend their base operations.
  • If CREATE-21 is enacted and fully funded, after seven years the competitive/capacity ratio - considering existing funds ($2.676 billion) and new funds ($2.676 billion) - would be 42/58. (Currently, the competitive/capacity ratio is approximately 10/90.)

6. The Case for Enhanced Funding
CREATE-21 must be enacted in order to:

  • Help food, agriculture, and natural resource producers secure the benefits of: improved animal, crop, and forest quantities, qualities, and production efficiencies; new/expanded markets; new bioproducts and new/improved technologies; and sustainable production systems.
  • Provide individual consumers and families with food cost savings and health improvements through: increased food and nutritional value; a safe and secure food supply; and high-quality information to enable healthy food choices.
  • Boost the economic vitality of rural and urban communities by: greatly expanded leadership programs; and increased efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship and business development.
  • Increase environmental stewardship through: improved farm and forest production methods; decreased dependence upon chemicals with harmful effects on people and the environment; and finding alternative uses for agriculture wastes.

7. Relationship between CREATE-21 and NIFA

  • CREATE-21 incorporates all key elements of the NIFA (Danforth) proposal, including creation of a National Institute providing (eventually) $1 billion per year in new funding for fundamental research in food, agriculture, and natural resources through competitively-awarded peer-reviewed grants.
  • However, the CREATE-21 proposal goes further by recommending integration of all existing USDA research, education, and extension programs and activities within the National Institute and maintained/enhanced capacity funding for America's land-grant and related universities/institutions.

For additional information: WWW.CREATE-21.ORG

In meeting discussion:

·        The Cornerstone group provided an overview of what has transpired as a result of the election and what may be expected with the changes in Congress and in particular with key committees.

·        There will likely be a continuing resolution at least until December 4. It is unlikely that a forma budget would be forthcoming until after the new Congress takes office.  It is anticipated that there will be a $160 B supplemental budget request to replace/repair various DOD items that have been ruined in the Iraq war.

·        There will be a Zoomerang survey to refine the budget priorities developed in the breakout sessions at the ESS meeting in Lake Tahoe.

·        Some consideration should be given to targeting increases in formula funds to specific initiatives.

·        It should be recognized that at least $250,000-500,000/state would be needed to address a particular issue.

·        There may be some problems with certain states meeting matching requirements if there were new funds.

·        Earmarks

o       The 1998 AREERA legislation set the 3yr limit for special grants but this has been ignored.

o       There has been very direct communication about the 3 yr limit for special grants from a variety of quarters.

o       The Democrats ran of a “fiscal responsibility” plank so we should expect to see increasing scrutiny of special grants.


Action Requested: For information only




Item: Science and Technology Committee: NRI Priorities

Presenter: Eric Young

Background Information:

The Science & Technology Committee conducted a NRI priority setting session at the recent SAES/ARD Workshop in Lake Tahoe. Click here for the draft recommendations on areas of high priority for NRI funding that were compiled from the breakout group results during this session. This draft is offered for approval by ESCOP to be sent to CSREES Competitive Programs as the experiment station section's recommendations on NRI program areas for the 2008 RFA.

 In meeting discussion: 

·        The results of the NRI priorities recommendations were reported.

·        The report was approved and is to be sent to Anna Palmisano with cc’s to Colien Hefferan, Gale Buchanan and all AES Directors.

Action Requested: Approval of draft NRI recommendations.



Item: NRSP Review Committee and Unintended Consequences

Presenter: Mike Harrington

Background Information:

In 2001 a special task force, comprised of members from the AES system and CSREES, was created to review the structure of the NRSP program to make recommendations as to how the program should be structured and managed.

Following broad input from the Directors as well as assistance from CSREES, the current system for managing the NRSP portfolio was implemented in 2003. Included were the establishment of the NRSP Review Committee (NRSP-RC) and first specific guidelines for the NRSP program. The Committee and Guidelines have now been in operation for several years and it may be time to review the outcomes to determine with the policies and procedures are meeting the needs of the system.

Several underlying issues came out of the planning process including the need to approve NRSPs at the national level rather than in the regions, the need to reduce spending on existing NRSPs and the need to articulate a process by which NRSPs could be initiated. However, it is clear that status as an "NRSP" facilitates contributions form from variety agencies such that experiment station dollars are heavily leveraged

With these factors in mind there has been a clear message to the existing NRSP Committees that budgets would be decreased over a period of time to perhaps some minimal level. Unfortunately there may be some unintended consequences of this policy which may result in the loss of certain activities (e.g. NRSP 5 which provides critical virus free tree fruit germplasm and NRSP-6 which maintains and characterizes potato germplasm).

Another operational function of the NRSP-RC is to make recommendations on the disposition of NRSPs and also on funding. These recommendations currently require a 2/3 majority vote of the Directors to overturn the committee's decision.

Important Questions:

  • Should the majority required to overturn the NRSP-RC recommendation be changed to a simple majority (>50%) of those voting?
  • Should funding be decreased to a level such as $50K? This is the amount targeted by the NRSP-RC and also suggested during the NRSP Task Force deliberations.
  • Should new NRSP proposals be solicited?




In meeting discussion:


·        There were no changes recommended to the rules for the NRSP-RC; however, before a vote is taken in the future any extenuating circumstances will be discussed in the ESS Meeting.

·        It was recognized that the plant germplasm resources are crucial to the long term well being of the American agriculture system.

·        There needs to be a harmonization between the NRSP Review Committee and the National Plant Germplasm Task Force.  The latter will likely be bringing forward a recommendation to combine the regional trusts and the NRSPs into a single off the top assessment.

·        Should there be a special vote on emergency funding for NRSP 5?

·        Inquiries are to be made of NRSP-5 to determine how dire the situation is.  If the program is going to be shut down, then there should be a vote among the ESS to determine if a special allocation of off the top Hatch funding should be directed to support for NRSP 5.

·        There is also growing concern about NRSP-6 due to reductions in funding from U-WI and ARS.


Action Requested: Discussion


Item: Strategic Marketing Plan

Presenter: Jerry Arkin / Tom Fretz

Background Information:

Action Requested:



Item: Institutionalizing Impact Statements for Multistate Activities

Presenter: Ron Pardini

Background Information:

The Multi-State Research Program is important to the SAES research program and has made significant contributions to the agricultural, nutritional and natural resource communities among others. The successes of the multistate program are not optimally captured in the impact preparation process, and vary between regions. I offer for discussion the process from NCRA for discussion and consideration for adoption (or an acceptable variation) by ESCOP. The links to the NCRA approach follow: http://www.wisc.edu/ncra/impactstatementinfo.htm and http://www.wisc.edu/ncra/impactstatements.htm.


 In meeting discussion: 

·        Postponed due to lack of time.


Action Requested: Discussion and possible adoption



Item: Structure of ESS Annual Meeting

Presenter: Mike Harrington and Eric Young

Background Information:

The Experiment Station Section holds its annual meeting and workshop each September.  The purpose of the Section meeting is to inform the Directors of the current status of a variety of activities, to stimulate discussion of pressing issues and to install new officers as required by the Rules of Operation.  In general the Section meeting is well attended, but there have been increasing concerns about the structure of the meeting.  Many standing Committee reports might be provided in written format as part of a consent agenda rather than as oral reports, possibly freeing time in the Section meeting for additional discussion items.  The down side of this might be that some Directors would not be informed of potentially important activities.  There is also need to allow time for Directors to address on-going business at their home institutions.

Clearly, there are several items of business that would benefit from broad discussion such as federal budget and NRI priority setting, the NRSP Review Committee report, changes in federal fiscal management and reporting requirements and special task force reports. The schedule should be arranged such that these types of activities receive sufficient time to allow full discussion. The federal budget and NRI priority discussion should be preceded by on-line surveys with the results being reported such that a final set of recommendations could be put forth for broad discussion within the group.

There have been some preliminary discussions about how workshops could be made more useful in helping Directors address management of Experiment Stations. One suggestion is to have "Best Practices" discussions; possible topics might include management issues of off campus facilities, personnel, budget allocation, hiring, germplasm release policies, etc. The concept would be to have each session commence with brief (10 min) explanations of one or two case studies by directors that have dealt with the issue and implemented a solution. Case studies would be followed by open facilitated discussion about other directors' experiences with this issue, including current situation, successes and failures, new ideas, barriers, etc. These sessions would be 45-60 minutes and be followed by a 45-minute break to allow for immediate casual conversations and contacts between directors.

Some balance is needed to assure that the Directors are informed on the Section and ESCOP activities, that Section business is completed and that most efficient use of time and resources results.

Action Requested: Discussion

In meeting discussion: 

·        There was limited discussion due to time constraints, but additional attention will be given in the November 28, 2006 Chair’s Advisory Call.


Item: New Deans/Directors Workshop

Presenter: Eric Young

Background Information:

The New Dean and Directors Orientation Workshop will be held on December 12-14 in Washington, D.C. at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel. The Workshop will begin at 11:45 with lunch and adjourn at 11:30 on the 14th. Click here for a detailed agenda.

Action Requested: For information only


 In meeting discussion

  • Postponed due to lack of time.

Item: A National Partnership Workshop ala Baltimore 2001

Presenter: All

Background Information:


Action Requested:


In meeting discussion:

  • Postponed due to lack of time.

Item: 2007 ESS Annual Meeting and Workshop

Presenter:  Bruce McPheron

Background Information:

The 2007 ESS Annual Meeting and Workshop will be held September 16-19, 2007 at the Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia.  Click here for preliminary flyer.

Action Requested:  For information only