North Central Regional Association


State Agriculture Experiment Station Directors


188th Meeting

1:00 to 3:30 pm, Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hilton MSP Airport/Mall of America

Bloomington, MN




Last update: 07/13/2010



Agenda Item



1:00 pm


Call to Order

Doug Buhler, NCRA 2010 Chair



Adoption of the Agenda - Approved

Doug Buhler



Approval of the April 2010 Minutes  - Approved

Doug Buhler



Executive Committee Report & Interim Actions of the Chair

Doug Buhler

1:05 pm


Executive Director's Report

5.1 Battelle Study Update

5.2 ESCOP Marketing Committee Update

5.3 Climate Collaborations

Arlen Leholm

Bill Ravlin, Wendy Wintersteen, Arlen Leholm

1:15 pm


MRC Report - All approved

6.1 Remaining New Proposals/Proposal Revisions

6.2 NC7 2011 budget

6.3 NC_temp1100 Proposal, budget, and business plan (MSU)

Marc Linit, 2010 MRC Chair

1:45 pm


NRSP Review Committee Update

John Kirby, Arlen Leholm

2:05 pm


Cornerstone Update

Hunt Shipman

2:20 pm 9.0 ESCOP Executive Committee Update Bill Ravlin
2:30 pm 10.0 ESCOP Budget and Legislative Committee Update Arlen Leholm for Steve Slack

2:40 pm


Other announcements




Future Meetings (

  • July 21-22, Joint COPs Meeting, Seattle, WA

  • September 27-30, ESS/NCRA Meeting in Nashville, TN

  • April 4-6, 2011, NCRA Spring Meeting, Embassy Suites Downtown, Indianapolis, IN

Arlen Leholm

2:45 pm 13.0 Open discussion with Meryl Broussard on making multistate committees more robust and collaborative

New NCDC - Proposal committee framework approved.  Send comments/suggestions to Marc Linit (



3:30 pm






Item 5.1: Battelle Study Update

Presenter: Arlen Leholm

The NC Experiment Station Directors voted this spring to participate in the Battelle Study with the NC Experiment Station Directors.

The cost of the study will not exceed $90,000 which will be divided among the 24 study funding partners. Ohio State University Extension has agreed to handle the contract with Battelle and will bill all 24 partners. The Experiment Station Directors will receive this billing some time in July 2010. The study will be completed by October 31, 2010.

Three links here include the Battelle Proposal OP60255, the Technical Services Agreement with Ohio State University Extension, and the Battelle Contract with Ohio State University Extension.


Action requested: None; for information only


Item 5.2:  Marketing Committee Report

Presenters: Wendy Wintersteen, Bill Ravlin, Arlen Leholm


ESCOP System Communication and Marketing Agenda Brief


(1) The System Communication and Marketing Committee strategy and structure was revised at the February 22 meeting of ESCOP (see details below).

(2) Well placed OP ED articles are a key part of the System Communication and Marketing Committee strategy to better market the great research work of the Agricultural Experiment Stations in an effort to creatively make the case for more federal investments in capacity and competitive programs.  Here are links to recent examples of successful media placements the Podesta Group and Cornerstone were able to secure through our marketing campaign: 

Earmarks may fund vital research (  and

Cost of cuts at land grant universities (


Al Levine, Dean at Minnesota, is the author of the Politico placement and Mark R. McLellan, Dean and Director at Florida, is the author of the Farm Press placement. Key to the success of the OP ED strategy is the willingness of ESS members to write OP EDs and the key contacts that the Podesta Group and Cornerstone have in placing the OP EDs in major media outlets. About 1 in 3 articles are able to be placed in these key media markets. A great deal of effort is involved in the placement of each article.

Another important component of this campaign is working at the local level to highlight for key Members of Congress and Congressional staff the innovative work that individual institutions are doing through competitive and capacity funded programs.  If you plan to host members and staff from your Congressional delegation in the near or distant future, please take a look at the attached document and contact John Scofield at the Podesta Group. This part of the campaign takes on special significance with the anticipated changes to appropriation committees after the fall elections.
Best Practices for Congressional Visits document

(4) ESCOP System Communication and Marketing Plan: Evaluation and Metrics. A metrics document listing major accomplishments is in the link below:

(5) At the Joint COPs meeting John Scofield of the Podesta Group and Hunt Shipman of Cornerstone will describe key communications and marketing opportunities for the future.  An example includes the relevant op ed placement during Child Obesity Awareness Month in September.

ESCOP Actions on System Committee Recommendations from February 22 Meeting in Washing DC

The System Communication and Marketing Committee met on Sunday February 21 in Washington DC during the CARET meetings.
The context for this meeting:  The February 21 meeting was a time for ESCOP to "reset its marketing efforts". The System Committee has functioned since January 2008. ESCOP voted in the fall of 2007 to assess itself $300,000 per year for three years. A contract with the Podesta Group and Cornerstone was put in place in April of 2008. Year three of this effort started in April of 2010. 
ESCOP discussed how/where to focus its Marketing Strategy for the most impact and how to organize the System Committee for year three without Extension's involvement.
The core strategy for the first two years of the communication and marketing effort has included:

  • Regional and National “opinion editorial” placements
  • Targeted efforts with key congressional members, including state site visits
  • An electronic newsletter to congress 

Recommendations from the System Communication and Marketing Committee:

  • Put the key focus on well placed “opinion editorials”, all with a budget message
    • It was agreed that “opinion editorials” have had the most impact
  • Continue targeted efforts with congressional members. [This has not been easy]
    • Develop a best practices approach with Cornerstone and the Podesta Group to ensure more state ownership in the process
    • New champions in congress have been developed as a result of past efforts.
  • Stop the electronic newsletter to congress
    • It was agreed that this effort was the least effective.
  • Involve other key stakeholders, such as key commodity and private sector interests who could leverage ESCOP’s communication and marketing efforts.
  • Monthly phone conferences with the new ESCOP System Communication and Marketing Committee, including all Executive Directors. 

Restructuring Recommendations for System Committee

  • Reactivate the ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee and add three members of AHS, invite one Extension Director, Ian Maw of APLU, and Executive Directors­ Arlen Leholm, Carolyn Brooks and Mike Harrington.
    • AHS members include Wendy Wintersteen of Iowa State, Al Levine of the University of Minnesota, and Mark Hussey of Texas A & M. 

On February 22, ESCOP approved the recommendations of the System Communication and Marketing Committee and, additionally: 

  • Approved reactivating the ESCOP Communication and Marketing Committee and named the new committee, “The ESCOP System Communication and Marketing Committee”
  • Empowered the newly reactivated committee to:
    • Be chaired initially by Gerald Arkin
    • Revise operating procedures to meet needs of new structure and strategy
    • Meet twice a year in person. During the CARET meeting in February and the Joint COPs in July.
    • Develop a process and implement a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the Communications and Marketing efforts. Evaluation must be completed for presentation to ESCOP at the Joint COPs meeting in Seattle on July 21-22, 2010. ESS will vote on continuing the Communications and Marketing efforts at its annual meeting in Nashville, TN from September 27-30, 2010
    • Nancy Cox was approved as the System Marketing Committee liaison to C-FAR. The goal is to leverage our marketing messages through C-FAR.

Continuing Members
Gerald Arkin, Associate Director, University of Georgia, and Committee Chair
Wendy Wintersteen, Dean and Director, Iowa State University
Al Levine, Dean, University of Minnesota
Ian Maw, VP, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, APLU
Arlen Leholm, Carolyn Brooks and Mike Harrington, ED staff to committee

New Members:
Stephen Herbert, Director, Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station
Michael Hoffmann, Director, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
Nancy Cox, Associate Dean for Research; Director Animal Physiology, University of Kentucky
Mark Hussey, Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M
Makola Abdullah at Florida A&M University
Marvin Burns at Langston University. 

Returning Members:
Bill Ravlin, Associate Director, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University
Mary Duryea, Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director Reforestation and Urban Forestry, University of Florida
Ron Pardini, Associate Director & Interim Dean, College of Agriculture, Biotech & Natural Resources, University of Nevada
Colin Kaltenbach, Vice Dean, College of Agriculture-Life Sciences and Director of Experiment Station, University of Arizona

Action Items:

Information only for Mini-land grant meetings

ESCOP will make a recommendation on continuing the Marketing effort beyond year three at the ESCOP Business Meeting July 21. This meeting is part of the Joint COPs meeting in Seattle, WA. A vote to continue the Marketing effort will take place during the ESS/ARD Business meeting in September. 


Item 5.3: Climate Collaborations

Presenter: Arlen Leholm


Action requested:  None; for information only


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Item 6.0: MRC Report

Presenter: Marc Linit, 2010 MRC Chair


Proj Type Proj Rvwr

Current Proj # (Temp #)



MRC Comments

6.1: Remaining Projects Needing Approval







NC1022 (NC_temp1022)

The Chemical and Physical Nature of Particulate Matter Affecting Air, Water and Soil Quality. 


 Revisions approved by MRC.  Will renew as NC1184 NC1187 on 10/1/2010 following NCRA and NIFA approval.


NC1023 (NC_temp1023)

Improvement of Thermal and Alternative Processes for Foods (NC136)


No revisions actually requested by the reviewers.  Project will commence as NC1023 on 10/1/2010.  Expiring project renamed NC_old1023


NC1025 (NC_temp1183)

Mycotoxins:Biosecurity and Food Safety


Revisions approved by MRC.  Will renew as NC1184 NC1183 on 10/1/2010 following NCRA and NIFA approval.


NC1131 (NC_temp1184)

Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Skeletal Muscle Growth and Differentiation


Revisions approved by MRC.  Will renew as NC1184 on 10/1/2010 following NCRA and NIFA approval.


NC_temp1186 (new project)

Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health


Revisions approved by MRC.  Will become NC1186 on 10/1/2010 following NCRA and NIFA approval.







NC_temp1185 (new project)

Cover crops to improve environmental quality in crop and biofuel production systems in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi basins


Revisions approved by MRC.  Will become NCCC211 on 10/1/2010 following NCRA and NIFA approval.

Other funding decisions

6.2: NC7:  Approval of FY2011 budget and business plan (pasted below).  No change in OTT funding request from FY2010 ($522,980).  The MRC approves this budget, but would like to discuss flat OTT requests if AES funding continues to decrease.

6.3 NC_temp1100:  Approval of MSU's new proposal and budget/business plan.  Requesting $25,000 of OTT funds from AES (see project proposal in NIMSS at:  The MRC approves this request as an investment in good faith.  The budget will be reviewed annually by the MRC against the stated project goals.






Background:  The plant genetic resource (PGR) needs of the North Central Region have been supported for over 60 years through a joint partnership, designated as Multi-State Research Project NC-7, between the USDA, ARS, Plant Introduction Research Unit, Iowa State University and the other members of the North Central States Agricultural Experiment Station.  The NC-7 Project has served as a major component of the National Plant Germplasm System, and its activities have significantly contributed to improved crop technology in the North Central Region, the U.S., and abroad, by providing plant genetic resources and associated information to scientists and educators.  The Multi-State Research Project meetings serve as an important vehicle for information exchange and feedback between participants, Administrative Advisor and genebank personnel.


Accomplishments for 2009:

  • The collection totals 50,874 accessions of 1,666 species and 342 genera with 74% available for distribution and 79% backed up at Ft. Collins, CO. About 1,545 accessions were also backed up at the Svalbard Global Germplasm Vault.
  • Plant exploration and transfers from the NCGRP provided 709 new accessions in 2009, including Daucus from Tunisia; Prunella from Japan and China; ornamentals (many Fraxinus sp.); Cucumis sativus disease differentials; Helianthus and maize with expired intellectual property rights; Nigerian and Australian maize inbreds that passed through the St. Croix quarantine facility; 29 teosinte collections from CIMMYT, collected in Mexico (under the SMTA); and wild Helianthus, Amaranthus, Gomphrena, Monolepis, Brassica, Hypericum and Prunella from the U.S.
  • Original seed samples of the accessions are stored at -18 C to extend seed longevity, while the working collection is stored at is improved by storage in -18 C rather than 4 C.
  • Viability tests were conducted on 2,483 accessions.  Methods to break dormancy in Calendula, Echinochloa, and Helianthus were investigated, as were after-ripening phenomenon and loss of seed dormancy during cold storage of Calendula
  • A total of 26,886 items representing 13,507 accessions were distributed (6% increase over 2008) in 1,486 orders to 1,081 users worldwide in 2009.  Internally, 8,871 accessions were distributed in house for viability testing, observation, pathology tests, and backup. Regeneration efforts in Ames and with collaborators resulted in harvest of 940 accessions, and storage of 2242 inventory lots, including 1024 original seed lots. 
  • Photoperiod control capacity to induce photoperiod sensitive maize to flower with temperate germplasm was expanded to cover 96 rows.
  • A reliable protocol for cryopreservation of dormant vegetative Fraxinus buds was developed in collaboration with NCGRP researchers, allowing storage of important Fraxinus clones, especially for staminate and/or sterile cultivars that cannot be conserved as seed populations.
  • Breeding system investigations of Prunella identified two types of floral morphology, differences in selfed seed set among accessions, and suggest that breeding-system variation should be useful in developing efficient regeneration protocols, breeding and selection strategies.
  • Five different insect pollinators were used to assist in pollinating accessions.  Alfalfa leafcutter bees continue to be a significant part of the pollination services program. Results from tests of feeding fondant sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to honeybees led to the conclusion that hives produce brood and stay strong and healthy with either feed type, and free-flying hives require HFCS late in the season to prepare adequate food stores for overwintering.
  • Over 16,250 observations were entered in the GRIN database,  In addition, 845 digital images were loaded to GRIN. 
  • Helianthus woody biomass trait analysis observations were collected in Ames, in addition to providing germplasm in support of the genetics and genomics portions of a USDA/DOE project.
  • Web-based planting reports and one- and five-year performance report forms were widely utilized by NC-7 Regional Ornamental Trial participants in 2009.
  • Year two of the three year project to develop GRIN-Global, scheduled to replace the GRIN system, was completed and initial beta-prototypes and a release candidate were tested.
  • The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize Project released 12 lines in 2009 representing 5 maize races.  These lines have unique agronomic traits, pest resistance, or value-added grain characteristics and will be used to broaden the genetic diversity of temperate U.S. maize production. Together with ISU collaborators, dihaploid seed of 400 25% exotic lines was harvested in 2009 and increased in 2010.  Haploid induction and subsequent doubling in maize is now a major area of focus to create unique maize germplasm research tools.
  • Additional accomplishments will be reported in the NC-7 annual report and minutes ( ).


Financial Situation:  Significant accomplishments continue to be achieved; financial resources for this project are a major concern.  Since 2004, NC-7 funded ISU positions have decreased from 12 to 9.  Reductions provided technical support for germplasm distribution, field activities, and oilseeds curation.  On the USDA-ARS side, fewer students are being hired in order to maintain financial resources for operations, resulting in fewer regenerations and viability tests for major crops with extensive labor requirements, such as maize, oilseeds, and vegetables.


NC-7 Budget Request

Modest salary increases have been proposed for our NC-7 funded staff members.  Given the continued tough economic circumstances for the Agricultural Experiment Stations, no increase in NC-7 Project funding is requested for FY2011; the budget request remains at $522,980.  Infrastructure requires additional maintenance as it ages.  FY10 projections include nearly $6,000 to reroof the building used to overwinter honeybee colonies.  Planned carryover of funds into FY11 will support a repair and maintenance project, over $50,000 to recover a greenhouse with Exalite. Replacing the greenhouse covering is necessary to improve light transmission to facilitate plant growth.





Iowa State University Contribution to NCRPIS








FY10 estimated


















Facilities off-campus








Facilities on-campus








Farm residence
















1       Benefits amount lower than originally projected due to position vacancies.


Action requested: Approval of MRC recommendations

Action taken: Approved


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Item 7.0:  NRSP Review Committee Update

Presenters:  John Kirby and Arlen Leholm


National Research Support Project Review Committee Meeting

Dallas, Texas

June 7-8, 2010


Draft Notes


1.      NRSP-1 Research Planning Using the Current Research Information System (CRIS and NIMSS)


Discussion:  Following a peer review of the project renewal proposal, it was decided that funding for the CRIS system was no longer justified given the development of the REEport System.  There is still a strong consensus that NIMSS needs to receive continued support.  In order to allow time to transition from the current CRIS system to REEport and to prepare a separate proposal for NIMSS, a one year extension is requested.  In addition, given the current process for funding both CRIS and NIMSS will have sufficient funds to support the program through the FY2011 fiscal year.  There is also some discussion about other research support activities such as coordinated impact reporting for multistate research projects that might be provided through a revised NRSP-1 proposal in addition to support for NIMSS. 


Recommendation:  Approve one year no-cost extension.


2.      NRSP TEMP4 Enabling Pesticide Registrations for Specialty Crops and Minor Uses, 2010-2015


Discussion:  There is support for the NRSP-4 proposal in all regions.


Recommendation:  Approve project proposal for 2010-2015.


3.      NRSP TEMP6 The US Potato Genebank: Acquisition, Classification, Preservation, Evaluation and Distribution of Potato (Solanum) Germplasm, 2010-2015


Discussion:  The following concerns/questions about the proposal were raised by the Committee:

1)      The Peer Review report raises a question about the lack of specific types of milestones.  The response to this comment by NRSP-6 did not appear adequate to the Review Committee.  The Committee understands the rapidly changing resource and policy climate but also feels that NRSP-6 should be able to identify more specific milestones for the five-year period of the proposal against which progress could be measured.

2)      The proposed 5-year flat budget is not realistic given anticipated increases in salaries, wages, etc.  The proposal does not include a plan for addressing cost increases.  There does not appear to be any other means to support such increases.

3)      The budget plan includes funding from the MRF and ARS.  It includes no other sources of funding including in-kind support from SAES’s and industry.  What is the total amount of funding available for the acquisition, classification, preservation, evaluation and distribution of potato germplasm?

4)      The NRSP-RC would like an explanation as to why commercial users of NRSP-6 services cannot be expected to pay for those services.   It is argued that these services are important to the industry being served and it is not clear why the industry would not be willing to pay for them.

5)      Appendix G provides some information on the impact of the program.  Can NRSP-6 provide or describe how they will provide more specific quantifiable documentation of its impact on the industry? 


The above questions will be sent to the NRSP-6 Committee with a request for a response by August 1, 2010.  The NRSP-RC will review the response during the August teleconference prior to finalizing a recommendation concerning the proposal.  At that time the Review Committee will consider three options: approval; disapproval and discontinuation of funding; and disapproval and a three year phase out of funding.


Recommendation:  No action on proposal.  Questions will be sent to the NRSP-6 Committee with a response deadline of August 1, 2010.


4.      NRSP TEMP161 National Animal Nutrition Program, 2011-2016


Discussion:  The proposal was revised to address a series of questions raised by the NRSP-RC Committee at last year’s meeting.  The following concerns/questions about the revised proposal were raised by the Committee:

1)      The Committee feels that the revised proposal still does not make a compelling case for the need for this project.  The Committee feels that the responses to the questions raised last year concerning the demand for this project and the lack of support from ARS and NRC are inadequate.  It is not clear why there is no proposed support from ARS.  The proposal describes the recent/current activities of NRC for specific species – sheep, goats, equine and fish.  It appears that the NRC 10-20 year schedule for updates is the issue and not necessarily the lack of support.   

2)      The response indicates that this proposal is supported by several multistate research projects.  What specific multistate projects will be supported by the proposed NRSP? 

3)      The proposal appears to support Extension activities.  What specific research activities are dependent on this information?  What specific empowering tools are being provided to researchers? Perhaps the project’s activities would be better addressed as an Extension and Research Activity (ERA) project or as a component of eXtension. 

4)      There appears to be considerable duplication in infrastructure including separate coordinators with equal budgets.  Again would an ERA type project support coordination of these activities?


Rather than sending these comments/questions to the authors with a request for a written response, the Committee feels a direct conversation with them would be more productive.  A conference call will be scheduled with the Committee and Nancy Cox (and/or any other individual Nancy would suggest).


Recommendation:  No action on proposal.  The Committee will schedule a conference call with Nancy Cox to discuss the comments/questions presented above.


5.      FY2010-11 Off-the-Top Funding Requests


Project                         Request           Recommendation


      NRSP-1                       $0                    $0

NRSP-3                       $50,000           $50,000

NRSP-4                       $481,182         $481,182

NRSP-6                       $150,000         No action pending decision on proposal

NRSP-7                       $325,000         $325,000 *

NRSP-8                       $500,000         $500,000

NRSP TEMP161        $350,000         No action pending decision on proposal


* with the caveat that if funds equal to or less than this amount become available to NRSP-7 through a Congressional special grant or equivalent funding mechanism during FY2010-11, that amount will not be distributed to NRSP-7 from Hatch MRF


6.      Other Topics



A concern was raised in the Western Region that the Committee and the System as a whole spend an inordinate amount of time on annual budget requests for the NRSP’s when the projects and associated budgets are approved for five-year periods.  A question was raised as to whether this process is the best use of the Directors’ time.  The assigned Administrative Advisors prepare and recommend the annual budgets based upon appropriate progress.  This discussion led into a subsequent discussion of the purpose of NRSP’s and the role of the NRSP-RC Committee. 


The ESS Guidelines for National Research Support Projects includes the following charge to the Committee:

One of the specific charges to the committee is to use the national priorities and needs as a basis for the review and evaluation of existing and new NRSP projects. It is responsible for assuring that the NRSP portfolio is monitored and is responsive to needs. The committee will identify specific areas of research support needs or at least utilize input from an established ESCOP mechanism such as the Planning Committee because of their focus on emerging issues and needs. The committee has the authority to proactively identify research support needs. The committee has access to resources available to seed the creation of new NRSPs responsive to emerging needs.

Consistent with this charge, the Committee first discussed several possible processes for identifying new areas of research support needs.  Two processes that were discussed were sessions at regional meeting and sessions at the annual ESS meeting. The Committee then conducted a brainstorming session to identify potential research support needs.


The first area that generated considerable discussion was the germplasm collection system.  The members discussed the need for a new, comprehensive and creative analysis of the overall system.  The current collections are underutilized and support appears piecemeal.  This system is critical particularly in light of the implications of the system to contribute to the high national priority areas such as sustainable bioenergy, climate change, and food security.  Is there an opportunity to authorize support for a new system in the upcoming Farm Bill?  Perhaps we can work with other advocates such as the Specialty Crop Alliance.  A comprehensive system would have direct input from stakeholders.  The Clean Plant Network and IR-4 may serve as models.  Ralph Cavalieri will contact Lee Sommers concerning developing a proposal that could be brought to ESCOP.


A second area where a NRSP might be constructive would be climate change; namely support systems and tools necessary for modeling.  These tools will contribute to projects to adapt agriculture to climate change/variability.  Components of climate change research to support would be genetics, breeding, modeling, water resources and pest management.


A third area of needed research support is the broad area of bioinformatics.  The development of a systematic bioinformatics platform would be valuable.  Perhaps NRSP-8 might evolve into such a NRSP that would develop tools necessary for modeling and common data bases.  There is potential to work with the USDA and NSF to develop long-term support for this area.


Another area of needed research support is the development of standardized methodologies for life cycle analysis.  A NRSP could address issues of process, methodology, data and resolution issues.  Like the area of bioinformatics, it would be critical to consolidate the multiple environmental data sets into one place where all researchers could have access.  This need is another area where the USDA could take the lead but partner with other federal agencies.  It would be important to contact Cathy Woteki early on to discuss this idea.  We should look to establish a task force to discuss and think through this area.


A fifth area of need would be the development of a common database to serve as a science foundation for functional foods research.   There is a need to invest in big science rather than just projects.  This NRSP could support and enhance a number of multistate research projects.


The Committee discussed mechanisms for developing these national data repositories.  It was suggested that we propose “NRSP Development Committees” for these five areas.  The committees would be created with a two year life.  The expectation would be that the committee would develop strategies for implementing these ideas along with strategies for long term funding.  A report would be expected after the first year of their initiation.  Funding in the range of approximately $75,000 would be provided to the committee to support project coordinators and meeting expenses.  Each committee would have a regional Executive Director assigned to it but the coordinators would be expected to provide the key facilitation to the teams.  The white papers prepared for the Science Roadmap would provide a 30,000 foot perspective on the research needs in these priority areas.


Members of the NRSP-RC volunteered to develop concept papers, key scientists and potential leadership for these proposed NRSP’s:


Ralph Cavalieri           -           Plant Germplasm

Arlen Leholm              -           Climate Change

John Kirby                  -           Bioinformatics

Mark Cochran             -           Sustainable Lifecycle Analysis

Mike Vayda                -           Functional Foods


Another very different area of support that the NRSP-RC could provide would be in the area of networking facilitation to bring together teams of scientists to address issues in new challenge areas.  This idea could potentially expand the current multistate research system beyond one that is reactionary to one that is proactive in tackling the larger societal issues. The augmentation of the current multistate research system could direct it to address the current USDA priority needs and assist the scientists in the development of competitive proposals in these areas.  Dan Rossi agreed to develop a concept paper for this area of support.


The NRSP-RC would serve as an umbrella mechanism to provide overall support to and monitoring of these activities.


The overall proposal will be discussed on the upcoming ESCOP Chair’s Advisory Committee conference call and at the July ESCOP meeting.  If the proposal is approved, the members of NRSP-RC will prepare concept papers and lists of potential members.  Reports on progress will be discussed during the August conference call and during a meeting of the Committee at the ESS/SAES/ARD meeting in September.



The proposal for the new NRSP’s and new multistate project facilitation will be presented to ESCOP for approval first during the CAC conference call on June 21 and if it receives positive feedback at the ESCOP meeting in July. 


7.      Committee Leadership 


Mike Vayda has accepted a position at the University of Arkansas and will no longer have SAES responsibilities.  The Committee considered three alternative replacement strategies for the chair of the Committee.  The first alternative was to rotate Committee leadership to the incoming chair, John Kirby.  John will assume the chairmanship of NCRA this coming year and would prefer a year delay in assuming the chair of NRSP-RC.  The second option was to maintain the chair from the Northeast region but there was a concern that the incoming chair would not have had direct experience serving on the Committee.  The third alternative was to have Ralph Cavalieri assume the chair for one year.  Ralph has the most previous experience on the Committee.  In order to maintain continuity, it was also suggested that Dan Rossi continue to serve as the Executive Vice Chair for the coming year.

Recommendation:     Recommend to ESCOP Chair that Ralph Cavalieri be appointed as the NRSP-RC Chair for the remainder of the two year term and that Dan Rossi continue as Executive Vice Chair.

8.      Future Meetings


The Committee will meet by conference call in August.  Dan Rossi will forward a Doodle poll to schedule the call.


The Committee will also meet in person at the ESS/SAES/ARD meeting in September.  We will attempt to schedule a 7:00 am breakfast meeting. (Note that the Committee recommended including the NRSP definition as part of its presentation at the ESS meeting.)


 Action requested:  None; for information only.


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Item 9.0: ESCOP Executive Committee Update

Presenter: Bill Ravlin


Letter to Dr. Roger Beachy from Clarence Watson, ESCOP Chair:




Experiment Station Section

The Board on Agriculture Assembly

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities 

June 28, 2010

Dr. Roger Beachy, Director

United States Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 2201
Washington, DC 20250-2201


Dear Director Beachy:

On behalf of ESCOP I want to thank you very much for taking time to meet with us last Tuesday.  We greatly appreciate the open and frank discussion we had on various issues impacting agricultural research and the federal-state partnership.  We were particularly pleased to hear that you desire to continue our dialog and maintain open communication on issues that impact all of us and society as a whole. 

The group has compiled the following list of important points that resulted from our meeting.  We would be grateful if you would let us know if we have misinterpreted anything you said.


·         The business model institutions use to fund research is changing dramatically, including new and different funding sources from many different public and private agencies and more salaries on soft funds, particularly support positions.

·         A dialog will begin soon with the AFRI Coalition to learn their most fundamental questions for plant and animal research and to ask them to participate in providing resources and determining research priorities. We’re also going to talk to them about what they plan to concentrate on in their own research efforts in the future so NIFA doesn’t have unnecessary duplication.

·         Currently there is some pressure for NIFA to pick up slack in NSF’s plant science funding.  It’s unclear if NSF will continue to support the type of basic research that underpins the agricultural enterprise.  If they are not, NIFA would need a significant increase in funding to cover those areas.

·         One option to increase funding for basic research is to allow AFRI to go to full overhead rate and be more like NSF and increase capacity funds, at a lesser rate than AFRI, to support applied research.

·         Positive statements regarding capacity funds have been made recently in meetings with OSTP, as well as pointing out how critical these funds are to the land grant universities.  The White House is being told that NIFA has been making changes, and we need support for all parts of our budget in order to effectively implement these changes. 

·         We need to show the White House that some of the capacity funds are being used toward the grand challenges.  Institutions do not need to use all capacity funds toward the national goals, but we do need to know how much is being used in these areas.  However, it is true that if a researcher’s program is aligned with one of these goals they’re more likely to be successful in AFRI.

·         Individual investigator grants are very important to the success of the faculty and the agriculture research enterprise in general.  Our goal is for AFRI to provide 30% of its funding for individual investigator grants and 70% for larger team grants beginning with the next RFA.

·         The opportunity for regular 2-way communication with ESCOP is welcome, including at least two face-to-face meetings per year with the leadership.  Agriculture is changing dramatically and we need to change to meet its needs.  How do we handle this change and still maintain the US export status in the agricultural world market?  We need to look 20 years down the road and structure ourselves to meet the challenges.  We need to all be on same page to address these huge issues, and regular communication is critical.

·         ESCOP should make recommendations on how to continue this dialog and regular communication with me and my office.  Meryl Broussard will be my office’s liaison to ESCOP and Ralph Otto will be liaison to ECOP.  I want to know when there is a particularly important place or meeting for me to be in attendance.  We will bring ESCOP on board when significant issues arise in Congress that needs our joint support.

·         The new NIFA organizational chart should be available soon, possibly within the next couple of weeks.  We are waiting on one signature.  We will then be seeking four scientists to help lead the four sub-institutes and would like to disseminate these position announcements through ESCOP’s network and hope that you will help us find the right people.


With regard to a regular face-to-face meeting with you and the ESCOP leadership, I would propose that one of those meetings be in conjunction with the ESCOP meeting we have every year in D.C. in late February.  A second meeting could be scheduled in mid to late summer, also in D.C., based on your availability.  After the meeting, Eric Young and I had a conversation with Meryl Broussard about the idea of setting up a regular monthly conference call with the ESCOP Chair and Executive Director, and Meryl was very agreeable to doing this.  I would like to start these calls in August rather than July due to the Joint COPs meeting in July.


Thank you again for meeting with us. It was a very productive and informative discussion.  Please let me know any comments you have in regard to any of the points expressed in this letter.


Clarence E. Watson

cc:  Meryl Broussard

      Ralph Otto

Action Requested: None; for information only.


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Item 10.0: ESCOP Budget and Legislative Committee Update

Presenter: Steve Slack, Arlen Leholm


For information and discussion


Click to view the Farm Bill Survey Presentation.


The Budget and Legislative Committee has a full complement of members with Bret Hess (WY) replacing CY Hu.  In keeping with the rotation among the four geographic regions, Steve Slack agreed to become chair elect.  Mike Vayda will be moving to U-Arkansas to become Dean of Agriculture effective July 1.  Steve Slack will become chair after the Joint COPs meeting in July.  The chair elect will come from the West.  The committee holds regular monthly conference calls on the 4th Tuesday of each month.



Chair: Michael Vayda (NERA)



William (Bill) Brown (SAAESD)

Steve Slack (NCRA) Chair -elect

Jeff Jacobsen (WAAESD)

John Kirby (NCRA)

Orlando McMeans (ARD)

Carolyn Brooks (ED-ARD)

Bob Shulstad (SAAESD)

Tom Brady (NERA)

Thomas Burr (NERA)

Bret Hess (WAAESD)

Executive Vice-Chair: Mike Harrington (WAAESD)


Input for the 2010 Farm Bill

A nation survey of Directors was conducted to obtain preliminary input for the 2010 Farm Bill.  There were 38 responses to the survey with good representation from all regions.  A summary of the results is shown below.



ESCOP Budget and Legislative Committee

2012 Farm Bill Recommendations Survey Final Summary Results


There were 38 completed survey responses with 89 visits to the site.  Regional responses are shown below; however, two respondents did not indicate regional affiliation


·         ARD – 3 (8%)

·         NERA– 8 (22%)

·         NCRA – 6 (17%)

·         SAAESD – 9 (25%)

·         WAAESD – 10 (28%)


HATCH PROGRAM - Strong support to reauthorize program - 34:2


Hatch Justification

The strength of the nation’s land grant system rests in its mission of service for the public good. This philosophy drives the research programs of the land grant system with the ultimate objective of developing new knowledge having the potential to enhance people’s lives either in the near- or long-term. This mission-driven approach is bolstered by a unique federal-state-county partnership linkage to the land grant system which provides base or capacity funding ensuring the stability needed to maintain focused programs. This advantage has allowed land grant institutions to maintain a focus on clientele service and a strong linkage to the land grant model resulting in excellent relationships with those we serve


·         The funds allow Directors to address critical and unique local, state and regional agriculture issues/problems that are relevant on the local level.

·         Depending on the state, these funds provide for some basic research but more significantly, translational research that is not easily fundable through competitive grants is supported.

·         Hatch funds provide the support long-term research.

·         Increasing costs such as maintaining core infrastructure and diverse intellectual capital investments has increased by more than inflation.

·         Funds are leveraged approximately 5:1

·         We recommend combining Hatch funding with Animal Health and Disease (Section 1433) funding. The Animal Health and Disease (Section 1433) funding has declined over time (at the expense of funding the Veterinary Medical Services Act). There is hardly enough money in the Animal Health and Disease (Section 1433) funding line to distribute by formula and to have an impact.


EVANS-ALLEN RESEARCH PROGRAM - Strong support to reauthorize program 27:1


Evans-Allen Justifications

The strength of the nation’s land grant system rests in its mission of service for the public good. This philosophy drives the research programs of the land grant system with the ultimate objective of developing new knowledge having the potential to enhance people’s lives either in the near- or long-term. This mission-driven approach is bolstered by a unique federal-state-county partnership linkage to the land grant system which provides base or capacity funding ensuring the stability needed to maintain focused programs. This advantage has allowed land grant institutions to maintain a focus on clientele service and a strong linkage to the land grant model resulting in excellent relationships with those we serve


·         The funds allow Directors to address critical and unique local, state and regional agriculture issues/problems that are relevant to underserved populations.

·         Depending on the state, these funds provide for some basic research but more significantly, translational research that is not easily fundable through competitive grants is supported.

·         1890 institutions are poorly supported in States

·         Funds are insufficient to maintain essential base program support

·         Evans-Allen funds provide the support long-term research.

·         Increasing costs such as maintaining core infrastructure and diverse intellectual capital investments has increased by more than inflation.


McINTIRE STENNIS COOPERATIVE FORESTRY PROGRAM - Strong support to reauthorize program 25:3


M-S Justifications:

The strength of the nation’s land grant system rests in its mission of service for the public good. This philosophy drives the research programs of the land grant system with the ultimate objective of developing new knowledge having the potential to enhance people’s lives either in the near- or long-term. This mission-driven approach is bolstered by a unique federal-state-county partnership linkage to the land grant system which provides base or capacity funding ensuring the stability needed to maintain focused programs. This advantage has allowed land grant institutions to maintain a focus on clientele service and a strong linkage to the land grant model resulting in excellent relationships with those we serve.


·         The role of forest systems in urban corridors and at the interface of agro-ecosystem and the urban ecosystem is very vital for our ecosystem health and sustainability, especially in light of climate change and climate variability! I definitely think that the research and education regarding the role of the forest ecosystem using McIntire-Stennis funding is vital for our nation's ecosystem sustainability and functioning.

·         There is increasing demand for forest research. The language should be changed to make provisions for non-federal matching waiver for 1890 institutions similar to what is given to the U.S Virgin Islands and Guam.

·         Our nation's forests are a key part of our national, regional and local ecosystems that must be preserved and utilized. Especially in the area of biofuels, the MS program will direct funds to local issues supporting sustainable use of forests.

·         Inflation for the past twenty years of essentially flat funding for the M/S Program has resulted in these funds becoming a very small portion of the total appropriated budget for most Ag Experiment Stations. They are not sufficient to maintain essential base program support.

·         Funds are essential to maintain capacity while focusing on competitive funding streams




Other comments:

What the heck is the program accomplishing? Look at the 1 pager prepared for the Feb CARET Hill visits....what are the tangible outcomes? What is the purpose going forward?


AFRI - Unanimous support for reauthorizing AFRI


2012 Farm Bill AFRI Authorization suggested at $1 to 2 billion







The AFRI funding is a vital research funding mechanism the addressing major national issues pertaining to agriculture and our food suppl.  As such it moved to a position equivalent to NIH and NSF.


Other comments:

This competitive grants program should not be funded at the expense of other programs with good outcomes from USDA funds such as formula funding to Land Grant Universities and water quality and IPM programs.


This program is at the center of issues facing the nation for the rest of the century. Chronically underfunded, a huge influx of cash is needed to enable Beachy's vision without killing the programs that have produced despite horrible underfunding. An increased investment will pay dividends far above linear proportions due to the fact that programs have been funded at such laughably low levels for so long.


Major challenges face American agriculture including the need to produce more food and fiber for a growing world population as well as competition for renewable bioenergy production


AFRI should be increased to the level of a Manhattan project-type effort to insure safe food for the nation. Language and intent should be changed to more directly address food production. The 5 challenge areas should be bolstered by more direct linkages to specific production research.


Funding is insufficient to support research on global societal challenges. Funding rates less than 15% demonstrate the paucity of funding available.


Need more funding to include more categories and universities. Right now the big integrated programs will be too few in number to catch the richness of the smaller yet important programs that the USDA needs to fund at local and state levels.


This program is, and will be, the driving force for agricultural research in the US. Ag research has been underfunded for years. Climate change and exponential global population growth will demand new knowledge and new technologies to maintain global food security and hence domestic homeland security.


World population estimates indicate that we will need to double food production in a few short years. This will not be possible with current levels of funding for Agricultural research. Significant increases are essential.


Research addressing ag and natural resource issues is dramatically underfunded compared to research programs in basic science, energy, and health. Attraction the best scientific requires funding increases.


The research supported by AFRI is critical to our national security and economic viability, because it addresses needs in food, feed, fiber, and energy production; health and nutrition; climate change and environmental sustainability; and the viability of urban, suburban, and rural communities and economies


We think that AFRI should be combined with Section 406. Funding for Section 406 programs has been flat since these programs were initiated. In addition, combining these two funding lines and offering only one RFA will standardize programs and application processes which will make it easier for faculty to apply. Increased funding for AFRI is needed because basic and applied research in ag and natural resources will provide solutions to many societal challenges such as global food security, bioenergy, climate variations, food safety, and obesity. Funding for agricultural research is still too low to solve these major societal challenges.








Beginning Farmer Rancher Program




Biomass R&D Program




Organic Research and Extension Program




Specialty Crops Research Initiative






Beginning Farmer Rancher Program

·       Mixed Support for Reducing the Matching Requirement currently 25%




0% Remove matching requirement

16 (46%)


2 (6%)



No change, keep at 25%

12 (39%)


1 (3%)


Other:  no response


·       Suggested Funding for Beginning Farmer Rancher Program, Mean: $18.95 m, currently $19 m


Amount (m)

















Beginning Farmer Rancher Program Justifications


Increased funding is needed to have a greater impact and assist more new people in becoming farmers and ranchers. The population of America's farmers and ranchers is aging and it is very difficult for new people to enter this area. Young people want to become farmers and ranchers, but if they do not come from a family farm, it is extremely difficult for them to afford the capital investments to work in this area. With the increased demand for local food production, America needs more farmers and ranchers. Without a pipeline to build the American workforce in farming and ranching, much of our food production will likely move off shore, which will create major national security issues.


With an aging population involved in farming/ranching and the economy and fabric of rural communities threatened, support for programs to encourage new entrants into farming and ranching is crucial to create viable employment opportunities in most areas of the country and to maintain our national food, feed, fiber, and energy production capacity.


More than a few respondents thought the program should be eliminated and several suggested its effectiveness.   One suggested that this was a “western program”.


Other comments:  I am not convinced of the efficacy or impact of this program. Are people happy with the outcomes from it?


Biomass Research and Development Program

·         Suggested funding for Biomass R&D - Mean $69.3 m, current funding $40 m


Amount (m)



















Biomass R&D Justifications

It is critical that the U.S. diversify its dependence on its two major sources for biofuels - coal and oil/gas. Biomass is a potential for fuel production - with an emphasis on other than ethanol products. Bioproducts offer another entrance point into nontraditional markets for U.S. agriculture.


National energy and food needs, including solving conflicting goals of crop production


Change from "Biomass Research and Development Program" to "Renewable Energy Research and Development Program" so as to include other energy projects that interface with agriculture such as solar and wind in dual land-use applications.


We should look into different types and sources of biomass. Switch grass should be encouraged as vegetated buffer strips (nutrient and sediment reduction role) and also as a source of biomass for bioenergy production. We should look at the waste such as poultry litter, aquatic waste, wood clippings in urban households, etc. as a biomass that can be used for bioenergy production.


This is a hugely important area, and an economic portal for the US. Problem is there are so many sister programs, even a large competing program within AFRI.....with different (unclear) objectives, different principal players, confusing opportunities. Why not role all USDA (NIFA & ARS) efforts into one large effective program that includes REGIONAL opportunities (not dictated by Beachy), single-investigator opportunities, small group project opportunities, and planning grants for large consortia, as well as the huge consortia grants for the (pre-selected golden children) large project groups Beachy seems hell bent to fund.


This is a critical component of the USA strategy to become less dependent on foreign oil.


This topic is well-covered within the AFRI program. No need for a separate granting program suggest, combining resources in AFRI.


Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Program

·         Strong Support for Reducing the Matching Requirement currently 1:1




0% Remove matching requirement

15 (43%)


11 (31%)


3 (9%)

No change, keep at 1:1

3 (9%)


3 (9%)


Suggested funding for Organic Program, Mean= $27.7 m, currently $20 m


Amount m)






















Specialty Crops Research Initiative

·         Strong Support for Reducing the Matching Requirement, currently 1:1




0%, Remove matching requirement

16 (46%)


10 (31%)


4 (11%)

No change, keep at 1:1

2 (6%)


3 (9%)


Other:  10%; 25% with half to come from 3rd party






Suggested funding level for SCRI, Mean: $64.2 m, currently $50 m


Amount (m)



















SCRI Justifications

As the U.S. agricultural industry moves away (or is moved away by world economic forces), it is important to put an emphasis on specialty crops where the U.S. has a competitive and comparative advantage.


The specialty crop sector merits increased funding because it will produce the foods to support dietary recommendations for increased fruit and vegetable consumption; it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by promoting local and regional food production near major urban areas and by increasing the presence of plants in urban and suburban landscapes. A reduced match requirement would ensure that research is not directed exclusively to the needs of large multinational producers and the few very large commodity groups that have access to significant funds for match.


A 50% match in funding is more realistic to allow more faculty and more institutions to compete for this funding and conduct research and extension related to organic food. With the decrease in state funding in many states, and the general economic slowdown in the US, there are fewer resources available to provide the 100% match.


Just like "small businesses are the engine of the US economy" specialty crops are the innovative engine for value-added products, specifically addressing human health and food safety issues, and are an economic factor for many rural communities.


Fruits and vegetables are being proved to be the healthy sources of food and prevention of obesity, thus I think it is important that we increase our focus in this area.


The specialty crops area of agriculture is growing and represents a key part of new farm startups.

Expand definition of crops to include animal crops (ie: calf crop)


There are currently too few projects funded at too high of levels. It would be better to have more projects funds at substantially smaller levels (e.g. $500,000 total). The large CAPS that have been submitted and funded recently are getting more and more esoteric and niche-oriented. This is a good program, but focus on more numerous smaller projects with tangible outcomes that don't require a significant part of the effort and funds on project management.


The 1:1 match severely limits proposals for minor specialty crop that have not yet established an industry from which a match can be obtained. The match requirement turns this program into a funding opportunity for already commoditized specialty crops and inhibits the development of new minor or new specialty crops.


Expand program priorities to include more fundamental and foundational research.


Other New/Innovative Competitive Grant Opportunities via Mandatory Funding


I think looking into animal waste management and environment can be a mandatory funding for certain regions. For example, with the president Obama's mandate on Chesapeake bay clean up, Federal government needs to appropriate mandatory funding to look into multiple ways that poultry litter in the Chesapeake bay region can be manage to eliminate its negative environmental impact while sustaining its economic viability for both the poultry operators and the residents of the states who have poultry production as one of their agricultural production systems. I think that this mandatory funding can accompany a 25% matching from the poultry industry, so to have a shared responsibility.


Funding for research in nutrition - fundamental nutrition issues


Energy and climate change broader than the focus on biomass.


Hatch Evans-Allen Smith Lever Get these as Mandatory - far from competing with AFRI, and difficult as possible for Beachy to raid.


A neglected area for agriculture support is in FORAGE RESEARCH. Programs are disappearing across the nation because of a lack of funding and thus the means to apply modern research tools to issues related to forage breeding, management and other aspects of this vast natural resource.


Suggest folding these specialty programs into AFRI with objective of making competition on even playing field for all LG, large and small production systems.


Mandatory funding would be a good option for: - A program in support of small diversified farms that can meet the needs of major urban areas through local production. - A program to support research on sustainable land use patterns at the watershed level, including implementation tools for land use planners.


We think a new program related to public perception of food and agriculture is needed. American's know (and care) more about Tiger Woods' personal life than they do about how their food is produced. This program could have a research, extension, and education component. We need to understand people's attitudes toward conventional agriculture in the US, how they make decisions, etc. as well as how to changes can best be made in their knowledge and behavior.


Systems approaches to agriculture (agro-ecosystems) are a highly important topic if we are to address many of today's most important environmental and societal issues related to agriculture.


New research on land use with marginal soils or in marginal climates. These lands could become much more important as the demand for food and biomass production increases in coming decades.


Other matters that the Committee on Legislation and Policy should address within other titles of the 2012 Farm Bill


In the 1890 Facilities Program, provision should be made for facility and equipment maintenance.



Discussion questions from Mike Harrington:



Attached are B&L materials for your summer meetings. I urge you to have some discussion of the opportunities.

On reflecting of the results, one thing that occurs to me is that we've nibbled around the edges.  We identified programs for reauthorization at increased funding caps and suggested reductions in matching funds but little else.  I offer a few thoughts below.

Should we seek a higher IDC rate?  The low indirect cost rate for USDA grant has been a problem for a number of years. There are institutions that require the college to make up the difference between the AFRI rate and the institutional rate   Raising the rate without increasing total funds would mean that fewer awards could be made until the pot grows. Can we bite this bullet and go to 30% IDC rate?

Should we consider formalizing the regional programs in a different way?
The regional IPM centers provide a critical antenna for broadcasting and receiving pest information.  The centers have highly effective in mobilizing resources in a very timely way to address high priority issues at the local, state and regional level.  They have done much in stimulate the formation of highly effective and efficient working groups which would likely not have happened with a centrally managed system. This grass roots level mechanism will disappear unless the Senate and the conference committee provides funding this year. 

Is it time to rethink the regional water quality programs?  You may know that these programs were created based on the 10 EPA regions because this is how water quality is managed and there was funding available.
However, these programs have now moved to include many other aspects in addition to water quality.  However, there is no ownership based on the traditional geographic regions in which we all work.  Such a geographic distribution may well facilitate new partnerships with other agencies while not impacting EPA relationships.

Should we seek to formalize the minor use animal drug program in some way so that it meets the needs of those stakeholders in the manner that we have been able to accomplish with the IR-4 program?  There are numerous drug approval requests but few resources to meet those needs.

Have a safe holiday weekend.

Best regards,



H. Michael Harrington, PhD

Executive Director, WAAESD

Campus Delivery 4040

University Square, 1311 S College Ave.

Colorado State University
Ft Collins, CO 80523
Phone:  970-491-6280; Fax:  970-491-6250


Action requested:  None; for information only.


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Item 13:  Multistate Project Discussion with Meryl Broussard

Presenters: All


Updates to NCRA Expectations Document:

DRAFT:  6 July 2010




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.



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:


Development Committees (NCDC):

NCDC - Regular:  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.


NCDC – Proposal:  An NCDC-Proposal serves as a platform for development of a multi-state or regional competitive grant proposal for submission to AFRI, NSF, NIH or other programs.  Establishment of the committee needs the concurrence of three or more SAES directors and has a duration of not more than two years.  Membership of the committee is comprised of an AA appointed by the chair of the regional association and scientists who intend to collaborate on development of the competitive grant proposal.  The committee must have representation from three or more states working collaboratively of the grant proposal.  The expected outcome is a grant proposal submitted to a regional or national competitive program involving collaboration among three or more states with a minimum budget of $1M per year.  Should the committee not reach consensus on the development of a regional proposal, a summary report of activities is expected in lieu of the proposal.  The committee chair is expected to submit a copy of the submitted proposal or the summary of activities to the MRC within 30 days after the grant program due date.  A proposal submission or summary report would terminate the committee.  Committee activities could be extended beyond the normal two-year period if the submitted proposal was not funded but received good reviews and encouragement for resubmission.  Grant proposals and their reviews should be submitted to the MRC for renewal consideration.


Meetings will be held as needed to support the development of the proposal.  The NCRA office would assist the committee in scheduling meetings, conference calls, etc.  A host institution would take responsibility for local arrangements of meetings.  Each state AES represented on the committee is expected to cover the travel cost of its representative(s) to the committee meeting.  Costs associated with travel to committee meetings, proposal preparation and station funds identified as a voluntary match in the proposal budget (If award is made) are allowable multi-state Hatch expenditures.



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.  In lieu of the SAES-422, NCDC - Proposal Projects are required to submit a copy of the completed grant proposal submitted as an outcome of their effort.  If no proposal was submitted the committee chair is to submit a summary of activities.  Either the proposal or the summary of activities is to be submitted to the MRC within 30 days of the grant program due date.


• 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?


3. Progress since the midterm review based on outputs, impacts and milestones.


4. 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.


5. Timelines and benchmarks to gauge success must be evident in the proposal.


6. Participation: Proposal must include participants with sufficient expertise and geographical distribution to adequately address the objectives.


7. Outreach/Technology Transfer: Proposals must document stakeholder involvement.


8. The committee must write a title clearly, concisely and in lay language.


9. The committee must demonstrate a complete CRIS search to ensure no overlap with other committees both regionally and nationally.


Action requested:  Approval of the new NCDC - Proposal framework

Action Taken:  Approved.  Please send any comments or suggestions for this new committee to Marc Linit (


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