2016 ESCOP Committee Meeting

Westin Hotel, Alexandria, VA - Bell (Second Floor)

March 7, 2016 (8:00 AM - noon)


In Attendance:  Parag Chitnis, Carolyn Brooks, Jane Schuchardt, Rick Rhodes, Eric Young, Cameron Faustman,

Gary Thompson, Mike Harrington, Jim Moyer, Bill Brown, Bret Hess, Jeff Jacobsen, Ernie Minton, Saied Mostaghimi,

Adel Shirmohammadi, Chris Pritsos, Dan Rossi, Clarence Watson, Lisa Fischer, David Thompson, Bob Shulstad,

Hunt Shipman, George Hopper, Bob Godfrey, John Russin, Bill Frost, Becky Walth, Meryl Broussard, Glenda Humiston, Conrad Bonsi, and Shirley Hymon-Parker 



Topic and Presenter(s)



Call to Order - Shirley Hymon-Parker, Chair
1.1 Approval of Agenda
Approval of November 16, 2015 Minutes from ESCOP meeting in Indianapolis, IN
1.3 Approval of Interim Actions

The meeting was called to order at 8:02 AM and both the agenda and minutes were approved after making an agenda item time change.  Introductions were subsequently done.  



NIFA Report - Meryl Broussard and Parag Chitnus

Meryl’s comments on the budget referenced the NIFA brochure that was provided.  He informed the group that budget increases in NIFA lines were not at the expense of other NIFA lines but were off-set by cuts to other non-NIFA USDA mandatory programs.  The new provisions such as the NIFA Center of Excellence Program and the Commodity Board provisions that bring in matching funds are going well.  Seventy-five percent (75%) of the proposed increases to NIFA match the priorities of the BAC. 




Policy Board of Directors - Clarence Watson and Eric Young

  • The PBD met by conference call on Feb 16 and approved the BAC's recommendations for the BAA's FY17 appropriations priorities.  The next PBD meeting is March 22 in San Antonio, TX.  
Clarence Watson reported that there will be more to report after the Policy Board of Directors meets in San Antonio starting on March 22nd.  The last PBD call resulted in the approval of the budget requests of the BAC.




Cornerstone Report - Hunt Shipman

Hunt Shipman reported on the strategy going forward as it relates to advocating for BAA priorities.  The Cornerstone Action Alert had gone out earlier and hopefully the call had resulted in quick action as the House has until March 15th to make/support requests and the Senate has until March 17th.  If contact with Members has not already been made, the timing to do so may be late as some Members have been using earlier internal deadlines. 




Budget & Legislative Committee  - Gary Thompson and Mike Harrington

Gary Thompson summarized the BAC recommendations which included the increase to AFRI to get its authorized level of $700 million but also to request the 2017 requests for the priority lines to be the same as what was requested by both the President and the BAC in 2016. Gary also reported on the Joint B&L meeting of ESCOP and ECOP saying the one voice advocacy is best.  Though there are many white papers related to Capacity versus Competitive, it is now agreed that it should not be relegated to ‘and/or’ but be all about ‘and/both’.  Rather than more white papers, attempts will be made to get the message format right, to the right people, and out at the right time.  Terminology to consider is the use of ‘infrastructure’ for capacity and to explain that capacity funding is the investment for the long term which provides for foundation needed for competitive funding to address emerging issues.




Report from ESS members on the Committee to move forward on the Sightlines Report and subsequent discussion/actions recommended - Clarence Watson

A committee has been appointed with the primary charge of determining strategies to be used to get Congress to fund the needs identified in the Sightlines Capital Infrastructure and Deferred Maintenance Study. No committee meeting has been scheduled yet, however Tom Coon has been chosen to chair the committee.  Members are: Greg Bohach,  Alan Grant, Jay Akridge,  Mark Hussey, Walter Hill, Orlando McMeans, Lou Swanson, Greg Weidman, Michele Rodgers, Shirley Hyman-Parker, Susan Sumner, Ronnie Green, Tom Coon, Wendy Wintersteen, Jack Payne and Clarence Watson




Assisting with Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RCR) training for NIFA grantees receiving capacity funds - All

According to Meryl, NIFA is listening to issues, trying to not be too prescriptive, and seeking to determine how these guidelines should relate to Extension.  The issues were these according to the group:  The government wants standardization and documentation of training for RFA-related work and campuses seem to be doing fine as it relates to competitive funding.  There is training for such provided in general by campuses and certification and documentation are done accordingly.  However, some campuses report that they may be lacking in meeting these requirements for initiatives funded with capacity funds and, for example, work done with funding from commodity groups.  Must the training include technicians and farm crew….how broad does the net have to be?  Some have begun to train Extension Specialists but not Extension agents, so should there be category levels for the training? There is a substantial investment of time for training.  NIFA is asked to provide clarification for what ‘research staff’ means.  One cannot just say ‘staff funded on a grant must be in compliance’ because some administrative/clerical assistants might be staff on a grant.  Meryl will take the points made back to NIFA for further discussion and to provide the system with the clarifications it needs.




Communications and Marketing Committee  - Rick Rhodes and Dan Rossi

The Plan of Work for the C&M committee was approved on March 5th and now the implementation is guided by ‘evaluating, integrating and communicating.’ They will also do a quarterly report that summarizes the kglobal report and they will use a guiding roadmap for their work going forward. A major challenge is coordinating the messaging, including the B&L messaging.







Science and Technology Committee  - Marikis Alvarez and Jeff Jacobsen

Jeff Jacobsen reported and referenced the agenda brief.  There is more attention now on the Social Sciences Subcommittee (SSSC) of the S&T Committee.  They comfortably find a niche for themselves in the ESCOP priority research interests and will stay attuned to the C&M reports and the national impact database for assistance in doing so.  In addition to the SSSC getting more engaged, efforts will be made to strengthen the status of the IPM committee. 

The S&T committee will work to make sure the Multistate Research and Excellence in Leadership Awards will receive the quality of recognition they deserve at the annual APLU Awards session and costs to elevate the status of the awards in the booklet are expected to be increased in order to do so. 




The ESCOP budget  - Bob Shulstad and Jeff Jacobsen

The language is there for known expenditures but more transparency is needed for support of one-time expenses/requests.  For accountability it was suggested and agreed that each year the ESCOP chair will have a budget approved for the ensuing year and also report on expenditures from the previous year at the annual ESS/SAES/ARD meeting.  Bob presented the following motion for approval, which was seconded by Bret Hess and carried.

Motion: The chair of ESCOP may authorize the expenditure of assessed funds up to $5,000 with 2/3 approval of the ESCOP Executive Committee.  The ESCOP Executive Committee has authority, through the existing Rules of Operation, to approve annual expenditures from the ESS account at APLU from prior assessments provided the primary intended use has been met or will be met, and the potential expenditure is deemed to be important and beneficial to ESS.

This motion will be taken to the fall meeting but will have already been discussed in the ESS regional spring meetings. 




ESCOP Diversity in Leadership Task Force  - Karen Plaut and Jeff Jacobsen

Jeff reported that the Task Force is moving forward and has been helped with journal articles and examination of data bases.  The conversations are around the broader themes and identifying relevant inclusionary efforts that can work across institutions.  A report will be ready to share at the Joint Cops meeting in July.  


11:00 AM


Report on the big Initiatives:

Water Security - Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington reported that it has become a disappointment to have invested ~two years of work on this to see no final product.  He and Robin Sheppard will continue to follow up with NIFA but there has been a suggestion to use NRSP in Hatch for water; but there has not been an enthusiastic acceptance of this plan as long as there is no new money.  This idea would not result in the desired regional and national levels of initiatives for water.  Additionally, this is to be an integrated endeavor, and Smith-Lever does not have language authority for NRSP type funding.  Meryl indicated that a problem in moving forward had been the desire to get the funding identified in different lines and NIFA’s aim is to consolidate lines, not put funding in several lines.  It is also difficult for a federal agency like NIFA to respond to such a large request - $100M per year for five years.  The question from Meryl was – are you asking for this funding for the NIFA budget or trying to get Congress to fund such an initiative.    It was also suggested that to get funds for Water Security, consider the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research which would also include private funding as the match.  Same should be considered for the Healthy Food Systems, Healthy People initiative. 

Healthy Food Systems, Healthy People - Clarence Watson, Shirley Hymon-Parker, Eric Young

Clarence Watson referenced the report that was included in the registration packet and had first been sent to Cathy Woteki.  The APLU press release on HFSHP can be found at its website.  The next step is the funding and a broad-based committee has been established to work on the funding needs and strategies




CARET Report - Becky Walth, CARET Liaison to ESCOP

Becky Walth, the new CARET liaison to ESCOP was welcomed and she introduced herself by sharing her very special credentials to relate to the land-grant family.  She indicated that CARET has developed a scorecard to stay on track with its strategic plan.  It was noted that CARET representatives from different states may have different responsibilities. Becky indicated that CARET feels that it would be helpful if the System could do more in providing them with impact reports – what are the impacts being made with the funding the system receives?  CARET is supportive of the half million dollar grant received from the Kellogg Foundation, currently called the 2050 Commission. 




Updates and input on 2016 ESS - NEDA joint meeting - Bret Hess and Mike Harrington

The ESS – NEDA joint meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming will be Sept. 19 – 22 at the Jackson Lake Lodge and as soon as registration is open the hotel should be reserved quickly as rooming availability will be in demand by vacationers and other groups.  Hopefully registration will be available the second week of March. The hotel block goes through August 3rd, has a rate of $219 +/night, and on-time registration for the meeting is $625.  Hotel offers shuttle service from and to the airport for $24 and if driving, there is a park entrance fee.  Late registration is $700 and registrations are non-refundable but transferrable if necessary.   Agenda will be on registration site with descriptions of sessions.  One facilitated session will have the Farm Bill as the topic of discussion.  Panels will be used and there will be capstone initiatives for ending the meeting.  Dress – casual.




ECOP Report  

Jane Schuhardt represented ECOP as Bev Durgan has stepped down as the ECOP liaison to ESCOP.  Jane lauded the continuing expansion of ESCOP –ECOP collaborations and listed some examples of working together on joint initiatives. 


11:50 AM


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