NCRA Meeting Minutes
September 17, 2007
8am-10am

Philadelphia, PA

Sheraton Society Hill Hotel

 

Agenda

 

Time

Agenda

Item

Topic

Presenter

8:00

1.0

Call to Order

Forrest Chumley

 

2.0

Adoption of the Agenda

Forrest Chumley

 

3.0

Approval of the July 2005 Minutes (http://www.wisc.edu/ncra/july2007.htm)

Forrest Chumley

8:05

4.0

Executive Committee Report

Forrest Chumley

8:10

5.0

Executive Director's Report

  • Introduction of new NCRA Assistant Director

Arlen Leholm

8:30

6.0

MRC Report

6.1  NC-1142 Status Report

6.2   NC-1100 Process, Expectations, and Next Steps

6.3  MRC/NCRA Project Expectations Document Status

6.4  NC-506 – NCBEC Update

Bill Ravlin

Mark Linit

 

 

 

 

Arlen Leholm, Dick Straub

9:00

7.0

ESCOP Communications & Marketing Committee Update

Arlen Leholm, Bill Ravlin

9:20

8.0

Nominations Report

  • Approval of July Nominations

David Benfield

9:25

9.0

Program and Other Updates by Station

All

9:30

10.0

Resolutions

Mary Ann Lila

9:35

11.0

Announcements

All, Marshall Martin

9:45

12.0

Upcoming Meetings

  • November 11-13, 2007 - NASULGC Annual Meeting (New York, NY)
  • MRC Meeting, Chicago, IL (dates to be set)
  • NCRA Spring Meeting, March 25-26, 2008, Las Vegas, NV

NCRA Executive Committee

9:50

13.0

Welcome and Transfer of Leadership to New Executive Committee Members for 2008

Forrest Chumley

10:00

Adjorn

 


Agenda Briefs

 

Item 6.1:  NC-1142 Status Report

Presenter: Bill Ravlin/Marc Linit

 

Background:  NC-1142 did not respond to initial MRC comments made during the March 2007 meeting by the July deadline (see March and July 2007 MRC minutes).  Because of this, the MRC decided to terminate the project.  Since then, however, the new chair of NC-1142, Robert Spreitzer, has been very proactive and motivated regarding the project’s renewal and recently submitted an updated committee proposal to the NCRA office.  Below are the MRC’s comments on behalf of Marc Linit:

 

“The committee recognizes the importance of this committee and the importance of the subject area of regulation of photosynthesis.  The majority of MRC members were impressed with the substance and sincerity of the NC-1142 appeal to the recommendation of termination of the project.  The committee is comfortable that the concerns identified in the previous review have been addressed in the rewritten proposal. While there is some concern among the MRC that a poor precedent might be set by reversing the earlier decision the majority of members are in favor approving the project.”
 
Action requested: None, for information only

 


 

Item 6.3:  MRC/NCRA Committee Expectations Document – Final Draft

Presenter: Bill Ravlin

Background: During its March 2007 meeting, the MRC discussed creating a document outlining regional project expectations of NCRA projects.  This document would be distributed to project participants, particularly those writing new proposals.  This document would serve as a guide not only to the project participants, but also to the NCRA MRC.  The NCRA office will suggest to ESCOP that the highlighted section in the first part of the document below be added to the national MRF guidelines.  Also, the NCRA will share the rest of this document with the other regional associations for their use and input.  

NCRA MULTISTATE RESEARCH COMMITTEE
REGIONAL PROJECT EXPECTATIONS 

Committee Types and Descriptions  

Multistate Research Projects (NC-type Projects):  The membership of a Multistate Research Project is called the technical committee, and is made up of SAES scientists, an AA, CSREES representative, other public and private sector scientists, and as applicable, extension specialists and/or extension agents. This type of activity involves cooperative, jointly planned research employing multidisciplinary approaches in which a SAES, working with other SAESs, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), or a college or university, cooperates to solve problems that concern more than one state and usually more than one region. In addition, the following must be demonstrated in the project proposal:

 

1.      The objectives are clearly focused.

2.      Each participant listed has direct involvement in the accomplishment of the stated objectives.

3.      The project is multistate and multidisciplinary

4.      The project proposal has been peer-reviewed.

5.      The proposed project is oriented toward accomplishment of specific outcomes and impacts and based on priorities developed from stakeholder input.

6.      There is a clear intent to leverage multistate funds with extramural grant activities.

7.      The project is responsive to CSREES goals.

 

NC Projects: The "engine" of the multistate research program is the collection of supported, technical committees.  In the North Central Region, these are referred to as NC committees and the associated projects as NC projects. The guidelines and criteria for NC projects are described in the Prioritization Process document (NCRA Guidelines Appendix A-1).  Projects are reviewed, in most cases, every five years with a midterm review within the third year of existence.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting. An expected outcome from NC projects is an externally funded sponsored project.  

 

Multistate Research Coordinating Committees (CC) and Education/Extension and Research Activity (ERA): The membership of a CC or an ERA is made up of an AA, CSREES representative, scientists, and as applicable, extension specialists and/or extension agents. A CC or ERA provides opportunity for scientists, specialists, and others to work cooperatively to solve problems that concern more than one state, share research data, and coordinate research and other types of activities. This is presently one of the most common mechanisms for functionally integrated activities such as the regional IPM programs. These activities are reviewed and approved by the sponsoring regional association.  The steps for development and approval of Multistate Research CCs and ERAs are described in Appendix N of the NCRA Guidelines. 

NCCC Committees:  In the NCRA, CCs are referred to as NCCC Committees and provide a mechanism for addressing critical regional issues where multistate coordination or information exchange is appropriate within a function (i.e. research, education or extension); have expected outcomes; convey knowledge; and are peer reviewed.  These activities are reviewed and approved by the sponsoring regional association. The duration of the committee can be up to five years.  Membership of the committee is comprised of scientists appointed by participating state research and extension directors, as appropriate.  There is one voting member per SAES, but participation by others is an option of each director.  Meetings are held annually, with provisions for interim meetings upon authorization by the administrative advisor.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting. 

NCERA Committees:  In the NCRA, ERAs are referred to as NCERA Committees and serve to integrate education (academic and/or extension) and research on a particular topic where multistate coordination or information exchange is appropriate; have expected outcomes; convey knowledge; and are peer reviewed. The duration of the committee can be up to five years.  Membership of the committee is comprised of scientists appointed by participating state research and extension directors, as appropriate.  There is one voting member per SAES, but participation by others is an option of each director.  Meetings are held annually, with provisions for interim meetings upon authorization by the administrative advisor.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting.   

National Research Support Projects (NRSP): NRSPs are made up of four AAs (one appointed from each SAES regional association), a CSREES representative, and scientists from SAES and elsewhere, as appropriate. This type of activity focuses on the development of enabling technologies, support activities (such as to collect, assemble, store, and distribute materials, resources and information), or the sharing of facilities needed to accomplish high priority research, but which is not of itself primarily research. NRSPs are eligible for off-the-top funding.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting.  Specific guidelines for NRSPs have been adopted and may be found at the following website: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu:8050/escop/NRSP%20Guidelines-1.pdf

Development Committees (NCDC): Scientist from two or more states may initiate a proposal for a development committee with concurrence of two or more SAES directors.  The duration of the committee is one to two years.  These committees generally are charged to prepare a justification and a proposal outline for a new multistate activity.  Membership of the committee is comprised of an AA appointed by the chair of the regional association and scientists appointed by participating state research and extension directors, as appropriate.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting.   

Rapid Response Research Activity:  The purpose of rapid response research (Series‑500/ NC‑500) activities is to provide a mechanism to assure responsiveness to acute crises, emergencies, and opportunities using the multistate research approach and MRF.  Activities may range from formally organized research on targeted objectives to very informal research coordination or information exchange activity, depending on the circumstances.  To create a rapid response activity, directors from two or more SAES must agree to form the activity.  The proposal is a report of intent which is submitted to the regional association's chair (usually through the ED's office).  The Chair of the regional association approves the project and serves as the AA to the project or assigns that responsibility to another director.  Neither CSREES nor regional association approval is required.  If CSREES does not respond within five working days, the project will be approved.  It would not require review by either the appropriate North Central Administrative Committee (NCAC, a committee of department heads/chairs) or the NCRA. The technical committee for a Rapid Response Research activity is made up of an AA, CSREES representative, research scientists, and as applicable, extension specialists and/or extension agents.  These activities have two years from the date of initiation to convert to an association sanctioned activity; thus, the technical committee has the option, at a later date, to obtain approval as a multistate research project or other multistate research activity, through normal procedures.  SAES-422 Annual Reports are due within 60 days of an annual meeting. 


Expectations for Successful NCRA Projects

In recent years, MRC deliberations have placed a greater emphasis on accountability.  The “bar has been raised” on several different levels.  Each year, the MRC members can plainly see the committees that stand out as “model projects.”

·         When the MRC approves a proposal, it typically has higher writing quality as compared to those that require revision or that the MRC denies.  These proposals clearly and concisely state the importance of the research.  The committee must address ALL PROPOSAL SECTIONS! 

·         The Multistate Research Committee requires that projects submit SAES-422 Annual Reports within 60 days of the annual meeting.  The AA may not authorize subsequent annual meetings without this annual report. 

·         On a national level, the MRC examines internal and external indicators of interaction and linkage among participants and stakeholders.  The MRC identifies linkages by asking the following questions:

o       Is there evidence of the interaction among committee participants and with other projects/agencies?  A list of relevant joint publications, grant proposals, conferences organized, and meetings can serve to illustrate the degree to which interaction occurs. 

o       Is there evidence of delivering accomplishments to peer groups, stakeholders, clientele, and other multistate activities?   For example, committee results delivered at workshops, scientific conferences, and publications.

o       Is there evidence of collaboration (collective interactive activity) among the committee members? Evidence for collaborative activities could include attendance at multistate meetings and demonstrated accomplishments resulting from meetings and planning activities.

o       Has the committee moved beyond a collection of individual activities and ideas to some collective, integrated activity? Provide evidence of synergy, collaborative output via joint publicity, specific coordinated activity, etc.

·         Committees must demonstrate why a multistate project will succeed where an individual project cannot.

·         Proposals must clearly state the role of each participating station.

·         Other factors taken into account by the MRC:

    1. Outputs: Defined products (tangible or intangible) delivered by a research project. Examples of outputs are reports, data, information, observations, publications, and patents
    2. Impacts: Actual or intended potential long-term outcomes and impacts. Committees should build information around the activity's milestones, as identified in the original proposal. The report should also reflect on the items that stakeholders want to know, or want to see. List any grants, contracts, and/or other resources obtained by one or more project members as a result of the project's activities. Include the recipients, funding source, amount awarded and term if applicable. If the committee is filing an annual report, the impacts will cover only the current year of the project; for termination reports, list impacts from the entire span of the project. To aid in understanding the “accomplishment” description, the MRC offers these additional definitions:

Additional Definitions of "Impact":

“The economic, social, health or environmental consequences derived as benefits for the intended users. These are usually quantitatively measured either directly or indirectly as indicators of benefits.”  Source: National Multistate Guidelines – Glossary.  For example, “NC1007 research on food animal diarrheal diseases has improved understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms used by these pathogens.  This allows for novel intervention strategy development to reduce individual animal infections and to control environmental contamination.” Source: NC1007 Impact Nugget.

 

 “The quantifiable difference a land-grant program makes in the quality of life for its clients and general citizenry.’ Supplementing that brief statement is also the definition of an impact statement: “A brief document that describes the social, environmental, and/or economic difference that your research, teaching, or extension efforts have made on the public. Specifically, it states your accomplishments and the payoff to society.” Source: National Impact Statement Writing Team  

 

Activities: Organized and specific functions or duties carried out by individuals or teams using scientific methods to reveal new knowledge and develop new understanding.

 

Milestones: Key intermediate targets necessary for achieving and/or delivering the outputs of a project, within an agreed timeframe. Milestones are useful for managing complex projects. For example, a milestone for a biotechnology project might be "To reduce our genetic transformation procedures to practice by December 2010."  

 

Indicators: Qualitative surrogate observations or indirect measures of quantitative performance measures which permit monitoring the achievement of outcomes when direct measurement of performance is difficult, too costly, or not possible. An indicator of cultivar adoption might be seed certification records, rather than actual land area planted to that cultivar. Has the committee made quantitative impacts?

 

    1. Progress since the midterm review based on outputs, impacts and milestones. 
    2. Objectives: Clear, concise, attainable one-sentence statements for each researchable objective arranged in a logical sequence.  Include only objectives on which the committee can make significant progress during the life of the project with the resources committed.  Do not specify the exchange of information, the coordination of research, the development of standardized techniques, or joint publication as objectives, as these are to be organized under other types of activities.
    3. Timelines and benchmarks to gauge success must be evident in the proposal.
    4. Participation: Proposal must include participants with sufficient expertise and geographical distribution to adequately address the objectives.
    5. Outreach/Technology Transfer: Proposals must document stakeholder involvement.
    6. The committee must write a title clearly, concisely and in lay language.
    7. The committee must demonstrate a complete CRIS search to ensure no overlap with other committees both regionally and nationally. 

 

Action requested: None, for information only.

 

 

 


Item 7.0: ESCOP Communications and Marketing Committee

Presenters:  Arlen Leholm and Bill Ravlin

 

Marketing the SAES

Included are four documents that you received from Ron Pardini, Chair of ESCOP, on August 28, 2007.  These documents will be useful to our ESS discussions on effectively marketing the SAES on September 17. The four documents include:

(1)   Marketing Assessment Memo—communicates the intent to conduct a referendum on an assessment to support marketing efforts.

(2)   An Update from the ESCOP Chair and the ESCOP Communications and Marketing Committee (ESCOP-CMC)—describes actions taken by ESCOP-CMC through August of 2007.

(3)   Attachment A (Marketing the SAES)—a question and answer format that was developed to help explain the strategy proposed for this effort.

(4)   Attachment B (2007 ESCOP RFP)—the RFP that was sent to seven marketing/public relations firms with headquarters in the Washington DC area.

 

The ESCOP- CMC received proposals from six firms.  Up to three firms will be interviewed on September 12th.  The proposal that best fits our interests will be selected and taken forward to the ESS business meeting on September 17th for discussion of its merits and as a prelude to a vote on the assessment in October.  The proposal from Cornerstone, our advocacy firm, that describes how they would interface and coordinate with this marketing/public relations effort will also be discussed.

 

Action Requested:  For information and discussion.

 


(1) Marketing Assessment Memo

 

August 28, 2007

TO: Experiment Station Directors

FROM: Ronald S. Pardini

ESCOP Chairman

SUBJECT: Intent to Conduct an Assessment to Support Marketing Efforts

 

At the 2006 annual ESS meeting in Lake Tahoe, the ESCOP–Communications and Marketing Committee was charged with seeking a professional firm that could help us increase resources and visibility for ESS. The Section supported this approach and approved $10,000 for this initial effort at that meeting.

 

The C&M Committee developed a white paper “Marketing the SAES” that details a reasoned approach to improve the education of key elected officials about the value that the agricultural experiment stations add to the Nation. At the February ESCOP meeting, approval was given to proceed with seeking a public relations firm for the above purpose. At the summer ESCOP meeting the committee provided a detailed update of its progress including a draft RFA which has been finalized and distributed to a number of PR firms with an application deadline of August 31, 2007.

 

Please review the attached joint Update from the committee and myself, the RFA white paper “Marketing the SAES” to inform our discussions at the ESS Section meeting in Philadelphia. This will serve as our announcement of the intent to conduct a referendum for voting on an assessment to retain a public relations firm to implement a campaign to increase awareness of the SAES in key decision makers’ home districts as per the ESCOP recommendations. In October, an electronic ballot on the assessment will be conducted after full discussion at the ESS Annual Meeting.

 

We feel that the targeted approach that has been identified is the most cost effective and prudent course to enhance our visibility and image with key decision makers.

 

Please give this referendum your serious consideration.

 

Ronald S Pardini, Chair

University of Nevada / MS 222

1664 North Virginia Street

Reno NV 89557

775-784-6237 (Phone); (775) 784-4227 (Fax)

Email: ronp@cabnr.unr.edu

 

 

 


(2) An update from the ESCOP Chair and the ESCOP Communications and Marketing Committee (ESCOP-CMC)

 

Background

The Experiment Station Directors across all regions of the United States have expressed concerns over the past decade about the visibility of our research efforts. We suffer from a lack of a recognized identity which is responsible for the agriculture research budget receiving annual increases that are considerably less than NIH or NSF. Too few in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere know of us, our mission, or the substance of our research efforts. To remedy this situation, the ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee (ESCOP-CMC) recommends an educational campaign aimed at key elected officials who make the funding decisions upon which our collective programs depend.

 

Actions Taken to Date

 

  • At the 2006 annual ESS meeting in Lake Tahoe, the ESCOP–CMC was charged with seeking a professional firm that could help us increase resources and visibility for ESS. The Section supported this approach and approved $10,000 for this initial effort at that meeting.
  • In February 2007, ESCOP approved the ESCOP-CMC proposal to move forward to seek public relations/marketing firms to educate key elected officials that make the funding decisions.
  • A short document entitled “Marketing the SAES” was developed, in question and answer format, to help explain the strategy proposed for this effort. (Attachment A.)
  • An RFP was sent to seven marketing firms in the Washington DC area on August 10th.  A short synopsis of the RFP is described below. See Attachment B for the complete RFP. Following ESCOP-CMC review of proposals, finalist companies will be invited to interview with the ESCOP-CMC on September 12th in Washington DC.
  • Most recently, ESCOP leadership has had discussions with ECOP leadership concerning the advantage of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) joining ESS in the proposed public relations/marketing effort.  ESCOP recommended on August 21 that the ESCOP-CMC amend their process to give ECOP an opportunity to discuss joining this effort at ECOP’s October 2007 meeting.

 

Request for Proposals

The ESCOP-CMC believes that, as a first step, we must build support of congressional officials in their home districts and states through explanations of and publicity for the national SAES system.

 

ESCOP intends to retain a public relations firm with national reach and reputation to increase awareness of the land-grant university system and the SAES to a select group of congressional decision-makers. This educational effort will be closely coordinated with the ongoing federal advocacy (lobbying) work performed by the land-grant system’s advocacy firm (Cornerstone Government Affairs, Washington, D.C.) of NASULGC’s Board on Agriculture Assembly and the leadership of selected land-grant universities as appropriate.

 

The RFP includes up to $240,000 per year for the public relations/ marketing firm. An additional $60,000, not in the RFP, would be provided to our advocacy firm, Cornerstone, for coordination of our education efforts with their advocacy initiatives.

 

The public relations/marketing firm will be required to prepare quarterly and annual reports of activities which will be carefully evaluated by ESCOP-CMC for its effectiveness, and the results communicated to ESCOP and ECOP quarterly and ESS annually.

 

Next Steps

 

·         As required by ESS rules, ESCOP Chair Ron Pardini will send by the end of this August notification to AES Directors of the intention to conduct an assessment for the proposed public relations/marketing educational initiative. The vote on this assessment will take place during October of 2007.

 

·         The RFP gives the public relation firms until August 31st to prepare their plans.  Several finalists will be interviewed on September 12th.  CES has been invited to participate in the September 12 interviews in Washington DC.  ECOP’s Marketing Committee Chair and the incoming ECOP Chair will be members of the ESCOP-CMC selection committee.

 

·         The company with the proposal best fitting our interests will be taken forward to the ESS business meeting September 17th for discussion of its merits.

 

·         In October of 2007, the following actions will occur:

o       ECOP will discuss collaborating and partnering with ESCOP in this educational initiative at their October 2007 meeting. Initial participation by CES would not require a financial contribution.  However, future CES contributions would be expected for full participation.

o       After the October ECOP meeting, ESS will be asked to vote electronically on approving an assessment of $300,000 for the public relations and advocacy efforts in both 2009 and 2010.

o       This electronic vote will also include the use of funds currently in the ESS accounts of NASULGC to cover the public relations efforts for the first half year beginning January 2008. ($25,000 of the ESS accounts at NASULGC will be reserved for other efforts. Pending an audit by NASULGC of the ESS accounts, approximately $75000 to $80,000 would be available in the first year.)

o       The assessment would be conducted nationally of all Experiment Stations based proportionately on the level of formula funds monies.

 

 (3) Attachment A (Marketing the SAES)

 

Despite the vital work and exciting discoveries at the State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES), we believe there is insufficient visibility for sustenance of our programs, let alone the growth which the nation needs. We seem to suffer not just from a shortage of fiscal resources but also from a lack of a recognized identity. Too few in Washington D.C. and elsewhere know of us, our mission, and the substance of our research efforts. To remedy this situation, the ESCOP, Communication and Marketing, Committee recommends a marketing (educational) campaign aimed at key federal officials who make the funding decisions upon which our collective destinies depend.

 

How do we build upon existing efforts to get better recognition of SAES and turn that into strategic support for our programs? The ESCOP, Communication and Marketing, Committee believes that earlier and repeated use of the media to educate and attract major sponsors for our programs is the best way to go forward. We have to build support in home districts and states of our congressional champions and convert that locally-based support into explanations of and publicity for the national SAES system.

 

Challenge

Over the past fifteen years (F.Y. 1992 to F.Y. 2006), Hatch program funds have been steadily eroded by inflation.  As measured in constant 2000 (inflation adjusted) dollars, Hatch funding was $192 million in F.Y. 1992 and $153 million in F.Y. 2006. During this same time period (and again measured in constant 2000 dollars), appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) increased from $8.6 billion in F.Y. 1992 to $24.0 billion in F.Y. 2006 and funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) increased from $2.2 billion in F.Y. 1992 to $3.6 billion in F.Y. 2006.

 

Why have NIH and NSF thrived while funding for the SAES system has withered?

   NIH and NSF have a strong cadre of congressional supporters who understand the agencies’ missions, support their goals, and champion their causes.

CSREES and the SAES institutions do not have legislative champions who are ready, willing, and/or able to provide the sustained leadership necessary for significant SAES funding growth.

 

Recommended Solution

The land-grant system (including the Experiment Station Section) has a strong and effective lobbying effort in place. We believe that this existing effort needs to be complemented by a narrowly-focused education campaign aimed at no more than 20-30 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. We need these members to understand:

   What we do in their state or district.

   What we do for the nation and the greater global community.

   How federal SAES funds leverage state, local, and private funds.

   Why increased SAES funding – both through the formulas and competitive methods – is so important.

The ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee recommends that the Experiment Station Section retain a nationally recognized marketing firm to help us establish a brand identity and educate federal decision-makers.

 

Who, What, Why, Where and When of a State Agricultural Experiment Station Marketing Strategy

 

Why do State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES) need a marketing strategy?

   The SAESs lack identity, are difficult to describe, and have not achieved the financial and political support levels necessary to take full advantage of their problem-solving and economic development capacity. The SAESs, a $2 billion per year enterprise, do virtually no marketing at present.

   The land-grant system’s current lobbying approach has worked well, but is not designed to educate key federal decision-makers at a level more than needed to support the lobby effort.

 

What will the SAESs achieve with a marketing effort?

   It will link state and local-based research impacts to dynamic, integrated and competitive food, agriculture, human systems, forestry, and environment research institutions.

   Also, a successful marketing effort will allow for a more educated base to support increased, sustainable funding (which must include both competitive and formula/capacity-building resources).

 

Who is the key audience for the SAES marketing strategy and where should the SAESs first focus resources to obtain the most impact?

   In the next few years, ESCOP should focus the primary marketing message on key members of the House and Senate and House Agriculture and Appropriations Committees and their relevant subcommittees. The SAESs might also focus on leaders in OMB, OSTP, and USDA.

   By initially focusing on key Members of Congress (in their local districts) we would limit the targets and link a national marketing campaign by utilizing experiment station communication expertise already in place to provide access to the local media and other outlets. This would be the most strategic and cost effective approach to marketing the SAESs.

 

Should a SAES marketing strategy include teaching and extension functions?

   A skilled marketing firm will help the SAESs determine how best to craft marketing messages for maximum impact. Clearly, teaching and extension functions need marketing assistance too; an integrated approach would better represent the system’s breath and depth.

   The advantage for marketing the SAESs includes its ability to develop multistate research teams and rapid responses to national issues.

   No matter the mission involved, a successful marketing effort must remain focused, simple, economical, and directed at those individuals who affect system budgets.

 

Doesn’t our advocacy firm already perform the marketing function as part of its lobbying contract with the SAESs through NASULGC?

   No the existing advocacy firm, hired to lobby Congress on behalf of the Colleges of Agriculture, Extension, the SAESs, etc. does not have the marketing function in its contract. However, the marketing strategy must coordinate closely with the lobbying effort – a strong marketing effort would complement and strengthen the system’s effectiveness.

 

What attributes and experiences must a marketing firm possess if selected to develop and implement a SAES marketing strategy? Where would the firm deliver the messages?

   The firm must have demonstrated congressional marketing success and it must understand how to influence our key target audience.

   The firm must be able to deliver marketing messages to the key members in their home districts and to the most important media markets that influence those members but be able to tie local outcomes to a national SAES system.

 

How do you hold a marketing firm accountable for performance?

   ESCOP would identify and carefully monitor outcome measures and objectives stated in the marketing firm’s contract for progress toward the strategy’s objectives and goals.

   ESCOP will develop a marketing outcome report and present it to the system annually. Additionally, ESCOP will conduct a comprehensive review after three years.

 

Who will hold the marketing firm to its milestones and outcomes as stated in the contract?

   ESCOP charged the Communication and Marketing Committee with developing a strategic marketing plan and thus accepts this responsibility.

 

How will SAES marketing efforts complement other attempts to gain new resources?

   It will enhance our chances for success with efforts such as CREATE-21 and NIFA.

   It will enhance and be coordinated with the existing lobbying effort.

   It will cooperate with other parts of the NASULGC system where appropriate.

 

How will ESCOP fund this marketing effort?

   ESCOP initially provided the Communication and Marketing Committee $10,000 to develop a marketing firm proposal.

   ESCOP must fund and implement successful marketing efforts over the long run.

   ESCOP needs some off-the-top funding to sustain at least the initial phases of this marketing effort.

   ESCOP and its member institutions could strategically redirect funds currently spent on fragmented efforts whose impacts are, at best, unknown to fund and sustain much of the proposed marketing effort.

   At some point, ESCOP could ask SAES stakeholders to contribute to the effort’s funding.

   A coordinated marketing effort from ECOP and ACOP may also benefit the strategy.

 

When should the marketing effort begin?

Ideally, in order to influence the next annual budget/appropriations cycle, the effort should begin no later than October 1, 2007.  A marketing firm should be selected as soon as possible.

 




(4) Attachment B (2007 ESCOP RFP)

 

America’s State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES) seek assistance from a public relations firm with national scope on a narrowly-focused effort to build SAES awareness among select congressional decision-makers. This effort will be closely coordinated with the federal advocacy firm which represents the experiment stations and other elements of the land-grant university system. The successful bidder will present, as part of their response to this RFP, a detailed strategic marketing plan that can be readily implemented by the selected firm.

 

Situation

The State Agricultural Experiment Station System is an essential part of today’s science community. The SAES fuels America’s economy, provides a high quality, safe and secure food system, and develops science-based information to protect and manage the environment. The SAES has many demonstrated impacts which are presented in several publications such as “Science for Agriculture: A Long-Term Perspective” (Huffman and Evenson 2006), “Maximizing Benefits from Research: Lessons from Medicine and Agriculture” (Cowling et al. 1996), and “The Impact of U.S. Formula Funding on Agricultural Productivity: A Counterfactual Study” (Rosegrant and Cline 2004).

 

Despite the vital work and exciting discoveries at the SAES, we believe there is insufficient visibility for sustenance of our programs, let alone the growth which the nation needs. We seem to suffer not just from a shortage of fiscal resources but also from a lack of a recognized identity. Too few in Washington, D.C. and else where know of us, our mission, and the substance of our research efforts. To remedy this situation, the ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee (ESCOP-CMC) recommends an educational campaign aimed at key federal officials who make the funding decisions upon which our collective destinies depend.

 

How do we build upon existing efforts to get better recognition of SAES and turn that into strategic support for our programs? The ESCOP-CMC believes that, as a first step, we must build support in home districts and states of our congressional champions and convert that locally-based support into explanations of and publicity for the national SAES system.

 

Request for Proposals

The ESCOP-CMC intends to retain a public relations firm with national reach and reputation to increase awareness of the land-grant university system and the SAES to a select group of congressional decision-makers. This educational effort will be closely coordinated with the ongoing federal advocacy (lobbying) work performed by the land-grant system’s advocacy firm (Cornerstone Government Affairs, Washington, D.C.) of NASULGC’s Board on Agriculture Assembly and the leadership of selected land-grant universities as appropriate. This RFP is circulated to your firm because we understand that you have the specific capabilities, experience, and personnel necessary to successfully fulfill the proposed Scope of Work set forth below.

 

Responses to this RFP are due in the NASULGC office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 31, 2007.

 

Bidders will present 10 original copies of their proposal to:

 

Dr. Gerald Arkin, Chair, ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee

National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges

1307 New York Avenue, NW, Fourth Floor

Washington, DC 20005

Attn: Dr. Ian Maw

 

Responses shall include (in this order), the following sections:

1.      Executive summary.

2.      Description of how your firm, if selected, would develop and implement a strategic marketing plan for an educational campaign to build SAES awareness among select congressional decision-makers.

3.      One-year budget associated with the campaign, with a specific estimate of the cost of (a) preparing, and (b) implementing the required strategic marketing plan.

4.      Proposed metrics to enable the ESS to judge the efficacy of this campaign.

5.      Background information on your firm.

6.      Biographies for the team you intend to dedicate to this assignment.

7.      Three case studies (of no more than two pages each) demonstrating success in carrying out similar assignments within the past three years.

8.      Such other brief materials as you deem appropriate.

 

Scope of Work

The ESCOP-CMC has identified 13 members of the House and 15 members of the Senate (the members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees) that will be the focus of this educational campaign. For two or three of these members (you may keep the member’s name, state, district, etc. anonymous if you desire), please provide a specific outline (of no more than a single page) explaining how your firm might  secure no less than five favorable “impressions” over the first 12 months of the assignment. Suitable “impressions” may include (but are not limited to) some or all of the following educational experiences:

   Preparation and placement of an op-ed piece heralding specific programs or projects at the SAES within that member’s state or district.

   Planning and execution of an event featuring the member and appropriate SAES or land-grant university officials that will likely generate favorable publicity for all involved.

   Planning and execution of an “impression” that links the SAES, its key stakeholders (e.g. agricultural commodity groups) and the member in such as way as to help the member better appreciate how the SAES benefits his/her constituents.

   Creation and fulfillment of a communication channel to provide a steady flow of information from the SAES to the member and his/her key staff in the district/state and in Washington, DC.

   Identification and motivation of the member’s key constituents (outside the land-grant system) to communicate their support for the SAES to the member.

 

Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. What we seek in your response is sufficient detail to demonstrate your knowledge of these member’s issues and interests and the kinds of “educational experiences” that could increase SAES awareness with each member and his/her staff.

 

In addition to the one-page member-by-member plans, please provide details on how your proposed effort would be coordinated and managed, including the steps you will take to replicate efforts across the country (thereby stretching the available budget). Also, please explain in detail how your efforts and actions will be communicated to the ESS and how you will coordinate with the federal advocacy firm. Finally, explain how you might place stories in certain top-tier media (e.g. Washington Post, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal) that help raise the visibility of the SAES to all of the members that the SAES intends to educate through this campaign.

 

Budget

No more than $240,000 will be available for this effort during the first 12 months of the campaign, so your budget should be developed with that limitation in mind. Please provide a budget that shows exactly how many (and which) of the individual member-by-member plans you would implement under such a limitation.

 

Selection Process

The ESCOP-CMC will review submitted responses and select two or three firms for face-to-face interviews. These interviews will be 90 minutes in length and will be conducted in Washington, DC, on September 12, 2007.

 

Campaign Execution

Following ratification by the Experiment Station Section, and as funds become available (which could occur as early as October 1, 2007), the ESS plans to execute the strategic marketing campaign detailed in the winning bidder’s response. The selected public relations firm will report to the ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee on a quarterly basis and will stand for an annual contractual review. The selected firm will also coordinate closely with the BAC’s federal advocacy firm (Cornerstone Government Affairs), which will provide day-to-day management assistance to the ESCOP-CMC to help ensure that this educational campaign is successfully executed. Our nation’s Agricultural Experiment Stations stand ready to aid the marketing firm in implementing its strategic efforts within each targeted congressional district or state.

 

Questions

All inquiries about this RFP should be made to:

 

Dr. Gerald Arkin, Chair, ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee

Assistant Dean/Assistant Provost

The University of Georgia

Griffin Campus

1109 Experiment Street

Griffin, GA 30223

garkin@uga.edu

770-228-7263

770-467-6081 (Fax)

 

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Item 11: NRSP Review Committee Recommendations, Preview (From SAAESD Brief)

Presenter: Marshall Martin

 

Background: The NRSP Review Committee met on June 6, 2007 in Kansas City.  Committee members present were Lee Sommers (CO), chair and W rep; Marshall Martin (IN), NC rep; Bill Vinson (WV), NE rep; Craig Nessler (VA), S rep; Al Parks (Prairie View A&M), ARD rep; Larry Miller, CSREES rep; Eric Young, S Executive Director; Mike Harrington, W Executive Director and; Don Latham (IA), stakeholder rep.

Following discussion of the NRSP budget proposals submitted to the Committee, the following recommendations will be presented to the Experiment Station Section at the annual meeting.

Budget Requests
NRSP-1.
  Research Planning Using the Current Research Information System (CRIS).  The amount requested for FY08 was $337,574.  It was noted that the FY08 budget reflects the obligation of the SAES to fund 25% of the cost of CRIS as well as an increase in funding since the SAES now funds 75% of the cost of NIMSS through the CRIS budget.  Motion by Martin to accept budget request. Second by Parks. Motion passed.

NRSP-3.  National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP).  The budget proposal of $61,000 for FY08 was consistent with the prior recommendations of the Committee to implement a phased reduction in funding.  Motion by Latham to accept budget request. Second by Nessler. Motion passed.

NRSP-4.  National Agricultural Program to Clear Pest Control Agents for Minor Uses.
The amount requested for FY08 was $481,182.  This request is consistent with prior recommendations of the Committee.  Motion by Martin to accept budget request. Second by Parks. Motion passed.

NRSP-5.  Develop and Distribute Deciduous Fruit Tree Clones Free of Viruses and Virus-like Agents.  The amount requested for FY08 was $145,919.  This request restores funding for the project to the level existing in FY06.  The Committee supports this level of funding based on input from the National Plant Germplasm Coordinating Committee as well as feedback from each of the regional associations.  Motion by Martin to accept budget request. Second by Nessler. Motion passed.

NRSP-6.  Inter-Regional Potato Introduction Project.  The amount requested for FY08 was $110,000.  This project is an essential component of the National Plant Germplasm system and the funding request is consistent with maintaining ongoing support from the SAES for the project.  Motion by Nessler to accept budget request. Second by Latham. Motion passed.

NRSP-7.  Minor Use Animal Drugs.  The amount requested for FY08 was $542,700.  This project has not requested funds in past fiscal years because the funding has been provided via a special grant originating in the USDA budget.  Due to the uncertain status of special grants in the USDA budget, the project submitted a request for off-the-top funding to the Committee.  The Committee concluded that funding via the President’s budget request for USDA was likely.  Motion by Latham to reject the budget request. Second by Nessler.  Motion passed.

NRSP-8.  National Animal Genome Program.  The amount requested for FY08 was $400,000.  This request is consistent with prior recommendations of the Committee. 
Motion by Latham to accept budget request.  Second by Parks.  Motion passed.

NRSP Guidelines
The Committee reviewed the guidelines and is proposing the following changes for consideration by the ESS.

  1. Change from 2/3 vote to simple majority for overturning recommendation
  2. Change of term for regional association committee members

It was also noted that the current guidelines do not contain a section detailing the process for their revision. A proposed process will be submitted to the ESS.

Action Requested: None, for information only.