NCRA 183rd Meeting

Traverse City, MI

10:00 to 11:45 am

Monday, September 22, 2008


Meeting Agenda and Minutes



Agenda Item





Call to Order

Ken Grafton



Adoption of the Agenda

Ken Grafton



Approval of the June 2008 Minutes

Ken Grafton



Executive Committee Report and Interim Actions of the Chair

Ken Grafton



Executive Director’s Report


5.1  Interim activities

5.2  BioCentury Initiative

5.3  Bioenergy Solutions

5.4  NC Rural Development Center

5.5  NCBC Update

Arlen Leholm


Working Group, Jozef Kokini,

Mark Stowers

Arlen Leholm

Joe Colletti



MRC report


6.1 NC Portfolio Review

6.2 NRSP Report

6.3 NC7 Business Plan

Doug Buhler


Doug Buhler

Marshall Martin

Joe Colletti



Nominations Committee Report

Joe Colletti




Meryl Broussard



ARS Report

Larry Chandler



Welcome and Transfer of Leadership to New Executive Committee Members for 2009

2009 NCRA Officers List

Ken Grafton




Action Items:

Item 5.1:  Irwin Goldman announced the open position for a WI AES Associate Dean/Associate Director.  This position has been posted to all AES lists, including the 1890 and 1994 institutions.  Please encourage your appropriate staff to apply.

Item 5.5:  NCBC Update

Action Needed: Please send input regarding the year three budget/plan, specifically related to continuing our relationship with the Great Plains Institute, and sustainability of the NCBC beyond year three to Joe Colletti.

Item 6.0:  MRC Report

Action Taken on Item 6.1: Doug and the MRC will continue to review the regional portfolio and the AA nomination process.  They will also review how the NC portfolio lines up with the research roadmap.

Action Needed for Item 6.1:  Please send Doug and the MRC any comments related to this process.

Action Taken on Item 6.3:  Approval of NC7's FY2009 Budget

Item 7.0: Nominations Committee Report

Action Needed:  Please see action on item 6.3; Need an AA for NC1029, Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare.

Item 10.0: 2009 NCRA Officers and Committee Members

Action Needed:

Remove Steve from Science and Tech Committee (done)

Replace L. Busch with G. Green (done)

Contact L. Nichols about Human Sciences rep position (email sent on 9/25/08)


Item 5.4: NC Rural Development Center Update

Notes:  The NCRDC Review committee has received proposals from five institutions.  On October 1, 2008, the RFA will be released with proposals back before Thanksgiving.  The entire process will be completed by December 15. 

A question was raised regarding the possibility of a 2-state collaboration.  No proposals have been received requesting such a collaboration.  This issue will be dealt with as needed.  The two finalists will likely present oral presentations, although this process has also not been finalized.

**Added 9/26: Joe Colletti of Iowa suggested that we should put a date in our RFA that indicates that the "New host site would become effective between July 1 and October 1 of 2009" to allow for an orderly transition if Iowa is not the host site.

Item 5.2: Energy White Paper Working Group Report, September 22

Presenters: Energy Working Group Members

Action requested: For information only


A great deal of progress has been made since we met in Chicago, IL on May 21.  The Energy White Paper Working Group has developed two concepts that will be discussed at our NCRA Business meeting on September 22.  We have allowed 30 minutes for an update at the business meeting.  We will discuss some logical next steps for advancing our two concepts. Mark Stowers, Vice President of POET, has agreed to join our meeting and provide an industry perspective on our proposed concepts.

See the two white paper documents (1) BioCentury Initiative and (2) Bioenergy Solutions below: 

The BioCentury Initiative provides a national platform for long-term, big science model for ensuring and/or enhancing global food systems sustainability- production, security, and safety.  Its appeal of generating research topics via national workshops and working with one or more federal agencies with competitive grants programs is strong.  This Initiative will take a great deal of effort and coordination and has high potential benefits.

Bioenergy Solutions provides a Midwest region/national platform for short to medium term, big science focused on the bioeconomy/bioenergy issue and its natural tie to food, feed/fiber, the environment and communities.  Its appeal is its collaborative process and structure with private and public partners and being issue driven within the bioenergy issue realm.  Some industry members have already indicated an interest in partnering with us on this effort.
The Energy White Paper Working Group has discussed some next steps including a session with a small group of industry leaders to advance our initial concepts.


Additional meeting notes:  Both initiatives should complement each other.



BioCentury Initiative— A National Initiative to provide solutions for the growing food and energy crisis

 (September 12, 2008)


BioCentury Initiative Purpose


The last five years witnessed the tripling of global agricultural commodity and petroleum prices and the rapid emergence of biofuels as a supply-side solution.


The world is experiencing diminishing water resources and arable land, declining soil quality and environmental degradation, droughts, and a decrease in carbon, all of which have affected global agricultural productivity.


Exacerbating these crises is global climate change that is not only affecting agricultural production, but is resulting in the spread of diseases affecting humans, animals and plants to regions of the world that  have been free of the same.  These challenges are contributing to global dislocation of social order, with riots in several countries as a result of the very high food and energy prices, making them unaffordable to the masses already affected by poverty.


We believe the solution to these problems is a renewed green revolution as a national initiative with global impact, requiring innovative partnerships and collaborations between academia, industry, and the government.


The creation of the BioCentury Initiative as an innovative and impactful partnership will facilitate an unprecedented collaboration among land grant universities, the private sector -- including agricultural, energy, environmental and food companies--and state and federal government entities to focus on improving the yield and functionality of agricultural products, to develop strategies to increase the global food supply, and to provide solutions for the growing food and energy crisis.  


The BioCentury Initiative will catalyze discovery of new knowledge and technology to enhance food and biomass production and to convert renewable resources into food and energy products. These efforts will protect our nation’s food and energy security, and add value to the agricultural enterprise.


There is now a window of opportunity to unleash the productivity of American agriculture to meet the global demand for food and to generate the raw materials to manufacture biofuels and bioproducts. This national initiative will have global impact.


Expected Outcomes and Impacts


The BioCentury Initiative will provide new knowledge and tools to remove the scientific, technical, economic and policy gaps that currently impede the promise of renewable agricultural resources to meet the food, fuel, feed, and fiber needs of the world.


Renewable, biobased solutions will be achieved through the integration of new technologies, management practices and societal acceptance. These efforts will straddle the research continuum, from the fundamental to integrative and adaptive, and include innovative engagement, education, outreach, and communication efforts.  Technologies and processes developed through the initiative will help generate economic development and job creation in the expanding sectors of sustainable agriculture and biofuels.


Resourcing the BioCentury Initiative


The BioCentury Initiative will require unprecedented cooperation between the public and private sectors, a new partnership that will help overcome the gaps in knowledge, which prevent us from realizing the potential of American agricultural and scientific ingenuity. Core issues will be defined by national workshops that bring together leaders from industry, government and academia -- providing guidance and priorities to federal agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to administer the program on a competitive basis. 


Our nation is at a transition.  This transition can offer our federal government the ability to redirect resources necessary to realize the promise of the BioCentury Initiative and to provide solutions to mitigate the clear and present danger to our security interests of the global food and energy crises,


 The role of the Midwest in catalyzing the development of a national initiative


The greatest density and diversity of food and biomass production systems in our nation is located in the Midwest. Land grant universities in this region have a proven history, along with a number of major scientific collaborations, as an engine of the first green revolution and the ability to meet our nation’s liquid fuel needs from renewable, agricultural resources.  We can use that experience to deliver a renewed green revolution to meet today’s global food and energy crises sustainably.  


The governors and federal delegations representing the Midwestern states have taken the leadership in the development of the region’s bioeconomy.  Collectively, they can successfully advocate for the BioCentury Initiative as a national mandate and initiative.  The bioeconomy will offer jobs and income growth, in addition to energy security and can serve as a test bed for a national initiative.


Our nation’s energy, agricultural, environmental and food companies have significant scientific, technical and financial resources that could be co-invested with Federal resources in the BioCentury Initiative. Several agricultural, environmental and energy companies have already invested in precision agriculture, methods to protect our soils and water, and bioenergy development. Consequently, they may view the partnership with the land grant universities, the federal government and other private sector entities to facilitate the BioCentury Initiative as an opportunity to leverage their scientific, technical, and economic resources to create greater benefits for the world.


The BioCentury Initiative provides a framework for effective and innovative partnerships and a science-in-action platform to help deliver the world’s sustainable food and energy needs.


Next Step


The next key step is to build champions for the BioCentury Initiative among all potential partners.




Bioenergy Solutions:

Universities, Industry and Government

Working Together to Develop Bioenergy

(August 28, 2008 Draft)



By collaborating, land-grant universities, private sector agencies, food companies, and state and federal government divisions can create bioenergy technology solutions more efficiently and cost-effectively than by working alone.


Bioenergy Solutions aims to create university-industry-government partnerships focused on sustainable bioeconomy (including bioenergy and biofuels) development and commercialization. The relationship between the country's food, feed, fiber and fuel industries and the resources they require will be an important component of these partnerships. The bioeconomy doesn't exist in a vacuum and won't be successful unless its affect on all systems is assessed. Bioenergy Solutions will provide comprehensive answers to the complex issues surrounding the conversion of biomass into a range of clean, safe and renewable necessities, including fuels, energy and chemicals.



Bioenergy Solutions will remove the technical gaps that are slowing the transition to a bioeconomy by drawing from the expertise of land-grant universities across the Midwest. The interests of each partner organization will be clearly defined and partner scientists will work as a team to integrate new technologies and management practices. Bioenergy Solutions will include applied research, education, outreach and communication efforts to further society's acceptance of the bioeconomy.


Bioenergy Solutions collaborations will be focused on results. The issues, roadblocks and expected outcomes will be agreed upon by all partners before any partnerships are created.


Creating Partnerships

Initially, Bioenergy Solutions and potential partners will look at joint interests in specific bioenergy technical issues. Private and public resources will be identified and a partnership operating procedure will be created.


Each partnership will have a Midwestern land-grant university that serves as lead institution to coordinate the partnership and the national pool of scientists involved. Having one institution serve as lead also will reduce costs and duplication of efforts.


University and industry representatives will work together to develop a process to identify the bioenergy technical issues that will be studied. Developing the operating procedures for Bioenergy Solutions also will be a joint effort of industry and academia.


The Midwest: Heartland of the Bioeconomy

The Midwestern states are home to the greatest quantity and diversity of biomass in the country. Midwestern land-grant universities also have an extremely successful history of collaborating with private energy and federal entities on bioeconomy research.


Midwestern governors and federal delegations have a keen interest in the development of the region’s bioeconomy, as well as how the region can lead the nation's transition to a bioeconomy. Collectively, their influence can advance Bioenergy Solutions.


Potential Partners

Energy and food companies have significant resources that could support Bioenergy Solutions. Several energy companies already have significantly invested in bioenergy development on a case-by-case basis, but may view a Bioenergy Solutions partnership with land-grant universities, the federal government and other private entities as a better opportunity to leverage all their resources (human, natural and economic) and reap greater benefits.


Moving Forward

The next step is to identify all potential partners and develop champions for Bioenergy Solutions.


Additional Notes on Mark Stowers presentation:

IP rights and a master agreement with POET would be prorated based on contributions to the partnerships.  Use of a lead institution would greatly facilitate collaborations and is encouraged.  Next steps:  Sit down with POET (Steve Myers) and design process steps.  Further discussion will ensue during the REE meeting at the end of September.

Item 5.5: NCBC Update

Presenter: Joe Colletti, Vice President of NCBC

Action Requested: Information only



The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium (NCBC)


The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium (NCBC), with support from the Energy Foundation, was created by the twelve Midwestern State Agriculture Directors/Secretaries in the Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA), and the corresponding twelve Cooperative Extension Directors and Land Grant Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.


The NCBC is governed by a three member elected Executive Committee representing one member from each of the organization types that constitute its membership – all of whom also contribute staff support to the effort. The Consortium has been supported in its first two years by a combination of member dues ($2000 per member from 36 members per year), and two matching grants from the Energy Foundation of $100,000 each.


The NCBC was created to achieve the following goals:

·         Commercialize advanced biofuels and biomass feedstocks through development of state, regional, and federal policy,

·         Expand the sustainable use of biomass in the Midwest to produce energy, fuels, and products.

·         Raise the profile of the bioeconomy in the media and among policymakers.

·         Facilitate better information-sharing and dissemination of reliable information about the bioeconomy.

o        Share resources and expertise that mutually advances each of the North Central states’ bioeconomies.

o        Create a clearing house for information and materials.

·         Help facilitate coordinated regional approaches for working with DOE, USDA, and other federal agencies.

·         Develop a regional approach for attracting venture capital investment for projects that advance the bioeconomy.

·         Reach consensus on regional policies for encouraging the use of biomass.  Strive for multistate collaboration through implementation of regional policy goals.


NCBC is now in the middle of its second year of operation. It is anticipated that the Energy Foundation will likely fund the NCBC Consortium for another year. To make sure we are getting the most value for our investment, the Executive Committee of NCBC will seek input, this fall, from its members before entering into a third year agreement with the Great Plains Institute.



Item 6.2:  NRSP Report

Presenter:  Marshall Martin

Action requested:  For information only


ESS Agenda Brief

September 22, 2008


Agenda Item: NRSP Review Committee

Presenter: Craig Nessler


The NRSP Review Committee met in Memphis on June 3-4 to discuss the NRSPs’ budget requests and proposals.  The Review Committee developed the following recommendations for the FY ‘09 NRSP portfolio.  These were communicated to the 1862 regional research associations for discussion at their summer meetings.  The NRSP-RC had a conference call on August 15 to consider comments received from the regional associations and developed the final recommendations listed below which are to be voted on during the ESS business meeting.


At their June meeting, the NRSP-RC also discussed how it could better manage and oversee the development of NRSP renewal proposals, including the external and peer reviews and the writing committee’s responses to those reviews.  Specific procedures were developed to guide the initial review and proposal development phases to help accomplish this goal.  These procedures are outlined in the letter below from Craig Nessler to the NRSP-7 Administrative Advisors, whose project is terminating in September 2009.


NRSP Review Committee Recommendations for FY2009:


NRSP-1 – Research Planning Using the Current Research Information System (CRIS)


$346,829 FY’09 budget recommended for approval.


Comments –

·         Important for One Solution Stakeholder Committee to stay engaged with REE policy makers and IT folks to make sure the databases are useful for universities as well as USDA and Congress.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2010.


NRSP-3 – The National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP)


It is recommended that the NRSP-3 renewal proposal not be approved and that this activity be established as a multistate project that can be funded through MRF by participant AES’s and other sources.  The NRSP-3 group is commended for exemplifying the ideal of becoming self supporting.


Note: Disapproval of the NRSP-3 renewal proposal will automatically grant a one year extension for this project to Sep 30, 2009 with a budget of $50,000.


Comments –

·         Off-the-top funding is now less than 2%, an excellent example of decreasing dependency on this funding source.

·         NE region suggested this project become a multistate project with participating stations supporting the $50,000.

·         No compelling argument to keep this project as an NRSP and maintain a low level of funding.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2008.


NRSP-4 – High Value Specialty Crop Pest Management


$481,182 FY’09 budget is recommended for approval.

Project extension to Sep 30, 2010 is recommended for approval.


Comments –

·         Specialty Crops Research Initiative is not designed to support this type of activity, so this funding still needs to come from off-the-top Hatch.

·         Project group should consider how they could reduce dependence on off-the-top funding when the renewal proposal and next 5-year budget are developed.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2009.


NRSP-5 – National Program for Controlling Virus Diseases of Temperate Fruit Tree Crops


Project extension to Sep 30, 2009 is recommended for approval.

$145,678 FY’09 budget is recommended for approval, if funds do not become available from the National Clean Plant Network.


Comments –

·         2008 Farm Bill includes mandatory funding for NRSP-5 activities through the National Clean Plant Network.

·         It appears these funds will be administered through APHIS, but it is not sure the funds will be available for FY’09, so off-the-top funding approval is needed to ensure continuation.

·         If it is learned that APHIS will provide funding for FY’09 prior to the ESS meeting, the off-the-top funding request will be withdrawn.

·         If APHIS provides funding during FY’09, the difference between that funding and the approved off-the-top will be returned to CSREES for redistribution to the SAES.

·         One year project extension is needed to allow off-the-top funding in ’09, if necessary.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2008.


NRSP-6 – Inter-Regional Potato Introduction Project: Acquisition, classification, preservation, evaluation and distribution of potato (Solanum) germplasm


$110,000 FY’09 budget is recommended for approval and the National Plant Germplasm Coordinating Committee is requested to consider new ways to fund this by end of the current project.


Comments –

·         Request that the National Plant Germplasm Coordinating Committee take another look at whether or not this project should be funded in some other way through the National Plant Germplasm system.

·         As project is rewritten there needs to be a serious justification for off-the-top funding.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2010.


NRSP-7 – A National Agricultural Program for Minor Use Animal Drugs


$325,000 FY’09 budget is recommended for approval, minus any funds made available to this project in the FY’09 federal budget.


Comments –

·         Proposal for renewal of this project in 2009 will have to show substaintial funding from other sources, including industry, and a plan to transition away from off-the-top funding.

·         Current project terminates on Sep 30, 2009.


NRSP-8 – National Animal Genome Research Program


The renewal project from Oct 1, 2009 to Sep 30, 2013 is recommended for approval.

$500,000 FY’09 budget is recommended for approval with the understanding that subsequent years’ funding be contingent on more details regarding other funding sources supporting the NRSP-8 activites and information on efforts to obtain funding from industry and other non-public sources.


Comments –

·         Need to include grants and other funding sources that support activities of this project in the FY’10 budget request to justify recommendation of this level of funding again.

·         Current project terminates Sep 30, 2008.


NRSP_temp101 – USDA UV-B Monitoring and Research Program: Enhancement of Network Data Products, Research Support, and National Research Collaboration


It is recommended that this new NRSP project proposal not be approved.  Any subsequent submission of this proposal should include a better justification of the activity as a NRSP, explanation of the priority need for this information and its use, and how this activity could support research on global climate change.


Comments –

·         Discussion at the spring regional meetings resulted in the following general opinions on this project proposal:

o        West favored approval and funding

o        Northeast was not favorable because the proposal did not justify the project as a NRSP and the deliverables from the activity are not a high priority need.

o        North Central was not in favor of approving this proposal and thought it was more suited to being established as a multistate project.

o        South did not favor approval because most stations not using this data and generally thought that the data collection should be supported by other agencies.



Letter to NRSP-7 Administrative Advisors


Date: June 25, 2008


To: NRSP Administrative Advisors of Projects Terminating September 30, 2009


NRSP-7 A National Agricultural Program for Minor Use Animal Drugs

L. Garry Adams (S)
John Baker (NC)
Kirklyn M. Kerr (NE)
David Thawley (W)


From: Craig Nessler, NRSP Review Committee Chair


Re: NRSP Renewal Proposal Review Process


During our recent meeting, the NRSP Review Committee discussed how it could better manage and oversee the development of NRSP renewal proposals, including the external and peer reviews and the writing committee’s responses to those reviews.  The following procedures during the initial review and proposal development phases were approved to accomplish this.


·         External review of the NRSP project should be done in early fall one year prior to the termination date.  The review needs to include both a review of current project’s accomplishments and a merit and scientific (peer) review of a preliminary draft of the proposed future project.

·         The draft proposal should be entered into NIMSS prior to the review so that it is available on line for the external review team.

·         The external review team will be established by CSREES in consultation with the project’s AAs and the NRSP-RC.  Tom Bewick, the CSREES representative on the NRSP-RC ( or 202-401-3356), will be primary contact for this.

·         Initial review should be done in August or September and cover past accomplishments and proposed future activity.  Reviewer comments are sent to the NRSP AAs and the NRSP-RC.

·         The NRSP writing committee will revise and complete the proposal in NIMSS and notify the NRSP-RC when the final draft is ready for final review by the external review team.

·         The NRSP writing committee completes any final revisions necessary and submits the proposal as final in NIMSS no later than January 15.  The NRSP writing committee and/or the Administrative Advisor will also submit by email to the NRSP-RC Chair a brief explanation of how the proposal was revised to address any significant review comments or concerns.

·         During proposal development the NRSP writing committee should pay particular attention to addressing the following two sections of the NRSP Guidelines relative to off-the-top funding.

o        Paragraph V.E.  Management and Business Plan

“In general, NRSPs should expect a finite period of off-the-top funding. This is not a reflection of the quality of work being conducted or the research being supported by the project. Rather, this allows the SAES system to continually assess needs and develop new projects as necessary. For this reason, the business plan of project renewals must include a transition plan and provisions for developing alternative funding or reducing off-the-top funding to a minimal level. Included would be an assessment of transition options, and alternative funding sources.

 However, not all projects may be shifted to other funding sources. Projects seeking to continue with significant amount of off the top funding should fully justify the request. 

 The renewal application should include a critical assessment of the original plan and address any shortcomings to ensure that the project will function more smoothly or effectively in the future. The proposal must indicate what additional resources have been generated or leveraged and indicate how those and any additional resources will be continued or sought.

 Note. Not all projects can be transitioned to other funding sources and, if the project meets an ESCOP priority, the project may continue with off-the-top funding.”

o        Paragraph V. H. Budget 

“The NRSP team must present an annual budget for each of the five years (See Appendix F).  The budget must take into account all sources of funds (Multistate Research Funds, industry, federal agencies, grants and contracts, and SAESs).  There are two tables in Appendix F, one for MRF and one for Other Sources.  For the SAESs, the project should estimate the in-cash and in-kind contributions.  The budget narrative should provide an estimate of the per cent contribution from each funding source.”


If you have any questions about any aspect of this process, please contact me or Eric Young (Exec. Vice Chair) at or 919-513-1746.  Please see the attached NRSP Guidelines for more details on the entire process for renewal of a current NRSP. 


Thank you,

Craig Nessler

Item 6.3: NC7 Business Plan

Presenter: Joe Colletti

Action requested:  Approval of NC7’s FY2009 OTT Budget request


NC7 Cover Letter

September 10, 2008

To:       NCRA

From:  Wendy Wintersteen, Administrative Advisor, NC-7


I am writing in response to the NCRA’s request for NC-7 to develop a business plan to address the Plant Introduction Station’s budget shortfall projected for the next several years.  The NCRA’s request was discussed with the faculty representatives to the NC-7 project and the representatives outlined our response to this request. 


What follows is an articulation of the rationale for the original request to increase the NC-7 from the NCRA, and a review of past national efforts to increase federal funding for all Plant Introduction Stations and a request to the NCRA from NC-7 committee to support a new national-level effort to increase core federal funding for all Plant Introduction Stations.


The NC-7 committee representatives understand that the federal allocation to the NCRA Experiment Stations has not increased and that this makes the original NC-7 request very problematic.  However, the representatives felt it was critically important to request an increase in the NC-7 budget so that the NCRA understand that the Plant Introduction Station will not be able to continue the full scope of the current project because of real rising costs and a limited budget.  In 2002, over 1400 accessions were regenerated annually.  In 2005 and 2006, approximately 1200 regenerations per year were supportable.  In FY07 and FY08, 1000-1100 regenerations were supported.  Viability testing decreased a total of 40% between FY05 and FY08 levels.  In FY09, with a flat budget, all activities must be scaled back.  In FY10, some crop curation and support teams will have no student labor to support genebank activities, and decisions will be made to eliminate specific crops and personnel from the Station’s portfolio to address the budget shortfall.  Meanwhile, demand for well-documented plant genetic resources of known provenance continues to increase every year.


The long-term partnership of the Plant Introduction Stations with the land grant institutions has resulted in a world-class plant germplasm and information delivery system that serves the public.  While the private sector is highly invested in plant breeding, their focus is on a very narrow set of germplasm limiting the potential public benefits worldwide.  If this system is allowed to decline, the unique collections held by the Plant Introduction Stations will be at great risk.


In addition the NC-7 representatives wanted to again share the success of the NC-7 project.  Attached is an executive summary of the project that includes summary tables showing the participation in the project by the NCRA and demand for services from the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station.  Also attached is the NC-7 impact statement.


The NC-7 representatives also reviewed the previous discussions on charging for services as a means to cover operational costs.  In 2005, the NCRA suggested that fees be established for services as well as a mechanism to accept donations.  I worked with ARS administration to confirm that the USDA Secretary of Agriculture prohibited this approach and communicated that policy to the NCRA.  This policy severely limits the ability of the NC-7 to develop a standard business plan for general operations.  The National Plant Germplasm Coordinating Committee devoted significant effort to analyzing alternative funding mechanisms for the PI Stations.  The Committee came to the conclusion that the combination of Hatch and ARS funding is the only model which is realistic, and despite the complexity, works very well to achieve U.S. germplasm research objectives. 


And finally, the NC-7 representatives request that the NCRA work to address the shortfall of federal funding of the Plant Introduction Stations nationwide.  We are quickly moving to a situation that resulted in the 1997 GAO report, “Information on the Condition of the National Plant Germplasm System”, GAO/RCED-98-20.  The report stated that just over half of the CGCs reported that the genetic diversity contained in the NPGS collections is sufficient to reduce the vulnerability of their crops, and identified several concerns impacting availability of crops diversity.  A primary concern was acquisition and sufficient funding to support it.  Additional concerns included lack of sufficient information on germplasm traits to facilitate germplasm’s use in crop breeding and research; lack of capacity for preservation activities (viability testing, regeneration, and long-term backup storage) to keep pace with collections’ preservation needs; minimal viability testing; regeneration backlogs at the four major locations (NC7, NE9, S9 and W6).  Obstacles to accomplishing these obstacles were primarily related to lack of funding, inadequate facilities, restricted germplasm access, and management of the quarantine process.


The 1997 crisis was averted when the American Seed Trade Association worked with lobbyist Kellye Eversol to double the funding of the entire NPGS between 2000 and 2004. 


The NCRPIS benefitted significantly during 2001, 2002 and 2003, with funding increases which essentially enabled it to return to the 1993 operations functional level, replace old equipment and invest in key technological improvements.


Investments in technical improvements, automation, and information technology integration enabled significant gains in efficiencies in the areas of germination, regeneration, seed drying and processing, seed storage, and development of software applications that facilitated the capture, analysis and transfer of information to the public GRIN database, and also improved curatorial ability to manage their collections.


The NC-7 representatives request that the NCRA work with the Policy Board of Directors to request approval for support of a similar partnership with the American Seed Trade Association to address the funding crisis but on a national scale.


Thank you for your consideration of the above information and request.

NC7 Project FY2009 Budget Request and Future Projections

Basic Budget

NC7   FY06


NC7     FY07


NC7      FY08 Proj


NC7 FY09 Request 3

USDA-ARS  FY10 Proj4

NC7   FY10 Proj

NC7   FY11 Proj












Personnel: salaried






















Personnel: hourly


































































Equipment & Supplies






















Research Support Agreement






















Specific Cooperative Agreements






















Contracts & other Services






















Repair & Maintenance






















Offsets 5

































Base Funds




3,099,251 1


















1 Base funds include ~ $1.018 M in GEM Project CRIS and $2.1 M in PIRU CRIS Projects

2 Projections shift add student FTE supporting maize to the GEM CRIS Project, leaving 5.7 student FTE on PI CRIS to support all other crops

3 Reflects cost-saving adjustments that would need to be made

4 Reflects reduction of all student FTE on PIRU CRIS to zero; remaining funds will not support regenerations at FY04 activity level

5 Offsets include incoming grant and other funds, such as NIH, Sclerotinia, GRIN-Global Project, and from ARS via NPS

Appendix Table 2

Iowa State University Contribution to NCRPIS (nominal dollars)

































Facilities off-campus










Facilities on-campus










Farm residence




















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


Sept. 11, 2008




TITLE:                          Conservation, Management, Enhancement and Utilization

                                    of Plant Genetic Resources


DURATION:                 From October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2012.

Original project approved 1947.  Revised:  1955, 1961,

1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006


Executive Summary


The conservation, management and utilization of plant genetic resources, also known as germplasm, form the basis for harnessing genetic diversity to create and sustain agricultural production systems.  The economy of the North Central Region (NCR) in particular, is based primarily on non-indigenous crop species that were imported years ago.  The productivity of our agricultural system is dependent on our ability to continually refine cultivars, inputs, production systems, markets and end-use processes to respond to production challenges and to changing societal needs.  Providing for the conservation and availability of these resources, by its very nature, is a public responsibility which cannot be supported through privatization.  Significant crop utilization needs have developed for fuel, as well as for food, feed and fiber.  Industrial applications for plant-based material continue to be developed, adding to the complexity of R&D needs, and by extension, of needed plant genetic resources.


Crop improvement depends on successfully utilizing genes found in germplasm collections, such as those of the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS), which has been partially funded by Regional Project NC-7 since 1947.  The function of a germplasm collection is analogous to that of a library; the researchers who “borrow” its resources to develop and provide solutions for dietary and nutritional needs, biotic and abiotic production issues, phytoremediation and rehabilitation of disturbed environments, biomass production and to provide genetic diversity used to serve a wide array of basic plant research objectives.


Within the NCR, a broad diversity of germplasm activity is conducted, and is illustrated by Table 1.  Many CRIS projects through the North Central Region involve the use of plant germplasm, fundamental to the objectives of NCR researchers.  Every state in the NCR and every land grant institution,  conducts germplasm research connected with NC-7 germplasm, including maize (the world’s number one crop with production centered in the Midwest), oilseed Brassica, amaranth and millet, fruit and vegetable research, ornamentals and medicinal plants.  Other oilseed crops research, sunflower, canola, camelina and pennycress is conducted primarily in KS, SD, ND, NE, MN, IL and WI, but all states actively conduct research on new crops and new uses.  Eight NCR states have CRIS Projects connected with the NC7 Ornamental Trials.


Table  1: CRIS Active projects regardless of termination date in the North Central region for Knowledge Area 201 - Plant Genome, genetics and genetic mechanisms and Knowledge Area 202 – Plant genetic resources.  Source: CRIS database and search on 02 Sept. 2008.







State LGU

# of projects







































North Dakota








South Dakota































*   Knowledge Area 201: Plant Genome, Genetics, and Genetic Mechanisms

     Knowledge Area 202: Plant Genetic Resources






** Includes all USDA Cooperative Agreements, USDA INHOUSE (ARS), USDA contracts, and any projects not submitted through the LGU




The perspectives contributed by Regional Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) members are invaluable to developing an understanding of germplasm needs, utilization potential and value throughout the NPGS.  The TAC members have requested and suggested organization and structure of information needed to determine project impact and provide accountability, and formats for analyzing and evaluating distributions, with whom they benefit and how benefits are realized.  They have repeatedly recognized the need for adequate support of genebank activities, and the importance of integration of USDA and CSREES resources in order for genebanks and the NPGS to provide for research needs.



Primary genebank functions with respect to germplasm include the following activities:

*    acquisition                   *          distribution

*    maintenance               *          enhancement

*    characterization          *          utilization

*    evaluation                   *          documentation and information management.


Information collected with respect to these activities complements our abilities to optimize germplasm management.  The NCRPIS specializes in the conservation and management of outcrossing, heterogeneous species which require facilities and methodology for controlled pollination.  Its regional ornamental germplasm evaluation program, programs for identifying host-plant resistance of crops to biotic and abiotic stresses, and enhancement breeding efforts in various specialty crops are also unique.  Furthermore, it has a history of providing leadership to the NPGS for development of automated processes to capture and transfer phenotypic information associated with the collections to the public.  The NCRPIS is providing leadership for the GRIN-Global Project, a joint effort by USDA-ARS, the Global Crop Trust and Bioversity to provide a successor to the Germplasm Resource Information System (GRIN).  The various TACS are an important element of the project, in that they help seek and provide perspective on user information needs. Crop Germplasm Committees (CGC’s), made up of researchers from the public and private sectors with specific crop expertise, act to advise us on key acquisition, characterization and evaluation issues and needs for the following crops: Maize, Sunflower, Root and Bulb Vegetable, Forage and Turf Grass, Crucifer, New Crops, Herbaceous Ornamental, Woody Landscape Plants, Leafy Vegetable, Cucurbit, and Clover and Special Purpose Forage Legume. 


Demand for plant germplasm continues to increase, as evidenced by the history of NC7 distributions (Table 2).  Over one-half of NC7’s domestically distributed accessions are requested by researchers in the North Central Region; in 2007, over 68% of NCRPIS domestic distributions were to NCR researchers.  Specific distribution information by crop is provided in Table 4.  The NCRPIS is responsible for about 10% of the NPGS germplasm collections, approximately one-quarter of the germplasm distributions by PI station sites (Figure 1), and 12.5% of all NPGS distributions (Figure 2). All distributions are free of charge, as per US Dept of Agriculture policy.  This policy is in alignment with the recognition that global exchange of plant genetic resources is fundamental to the wellbeing of all societies, and that germplasm is the common heritage of mankind.  Increasing operating costs are negatively impacting the ability of the station to regenerate needed germplasm and make it available to researchers.  Without additional resources, fewer regenerations will be made, and germplasm will become less and less available for research needs.



Table 2:  NC7 Germplasm Distribution History by CSREES Region & Internationally

















































Total Domestic

























Foreign Distributions:

















Total Distributions:











Another key function of the NCRPIS is to facilitate the utilization of our collections.  Curators have accomplished this primarily by providing germplasm users with valuable information that better targets germplasm use, as well as by providing the germplasm itself. Trait descriptor lists are developed and approved by the CGCs, and collected in collaborative evaluation trials or during the regeneration process.  Typically, NCRPIS curators load over 30,000 descriptor information items annually to the GRIN database.


Methods to be utilized by NCRPIS include the following:

The Multi-State Research Projects support four (4) Regional Plant Introduction Stations (for the North Central Region the NCRPIS is supported through the NC-7 Project), and help sustain major components of our national effort to provide germplasm and information for basic and applied research. Because needs are continual for new and improved crops and for basic scientific research, the NC-7 Project is, by nature, a long-term effort. Changes in its organization and mission generally evolve gradually, but specific management procedures can change dramatically in response to the development of new technologies and research findings. With continuing NC-7 support, the NCRPIS will continue to be the leading NPGS active site for managing heterozygous, heterogeneous, seed-propagated germplasm that generally requires controlled pollination, and for managing the requisite insect pollinators.


A unique federal, state, and private-sector cooperation has been essential to the effectiveness of the NC-7 Project and is critical to its future success. NC-7 funds originally provided about 40% of total support, and more recently provide approximately 20 of the project’s monetary budget, not including ISU’s substantial in-kind support. These critically needed funds have resulted from a long-standing commitment from the SAES Directors of the NCR’s land grant universities, who have provided funding taken “off-the-top” of the Multi-State Research Funds (MRF) received from the USDA/ARS Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).  Although 12 permanent state positions are authorized, only 10 positions have been filled for the past four years due to a combination of increases in cost of operation and declining budgets due to rescissions.  Hatch funds currently support three curators and their support staff, the Program Manager and farm and facility support staff, travel costs for the state employees, and a small fraction of equipment and operating costs.


The USDA/ARS provides 75-80% of the NCRPIS budget (see Appendix Tables 1 and 2 for budget history), including funds for salaries of many of the staff, general operations, travel of ARS employees, and certain facilities and equipment.  Incoming grant funds are received by ISU and ARS staff for specific projects, i.e. medicinal plant collection development and use for NIH-funded research, Helianthus biomass research, and the enhancement of the GRIN system.


The State of Iowa, through the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station at Iowa State University, provides substantial in-kind and fiscal support in the form of land (120 acres), facilities, benefits and administrative services for ISU employees supported by regional funds, and other local assistance. 


Many other researchers and institutions in the U.S. actively manage germplasm as a component of their ongoing activities, but none has the total “system” approach of the NPGS. The NCRPIS demonstrates that fact particularly well. During the past 57 years, the NPGS and the NCRPIS in particular have built a coordinated structure and critical mass of trained curatorial and support staff, unparalleled within the United States. Individual states and the private sector lack such infrastructure and broad expertise.



  1. Cooperate and participate as a key element in the NPGS, a coordinated national acquisition and management program of plant germplasm valued for agricultural, horticultural, environmental, medicinal and industrial uses in the NCR and throughout the U.S.


  1. Conserve seed and/or vegetative stock of more than 1700 plant species.


  1. Within the NCR, throughout the U.S., and internationally, encourage the use of a broad diversity of germplasm to reduce crop genetic vulnerability.  Provide viable plant genetic resources, information and expertise that foster the development of new crops and new uses for existing crops, and facilitate cultivar improvement of established crops, thus contributing to a sustainable, biobased economy.


  1. Contribute to understanding of plant-environment interactions, including risk assessment and determination of characteristics that differentiate a species’ ability to adapt and whether it can become invasive in specific environments.


  1. Educate students, scientists and the general public regarding plant germplasm resource issues.


  1. Conduct research, and develop an institutional infrastructure needed to attain the preceding objectives efficiently and effectively, including advancements in software applications development to improve functionality and efficiency.



As shown in Table 3, NCRPIS has steadily increased both the number and proportion of the collections available for distribution, as well as providing required quantities of seeds for long-term backup at the NCGRP.  Progress is due partially to the application of new technologies which enable us to extend our resources for regeneration and also to an increased focus on resolving our availability backlogs.  However, a considerable number of accessions remain unavailable or are only held at a single site.  Our 2001 external review cited regeneration backlogs, which render portions of the collections unavailable, as the primary obstacle to increasing evaluation and characterization efforts that provide valuable information about the collections. Many CGCs also reiterate availability as the primary limitation to the capture of evaluation and characterization information (1997 GAO report to Congressional Committees, Information on the Condition of the National Plant Germplasm System, GAO/RCED-98-20.)




Table 3:  NCRPIS Collection Size and Progress in Availability and Back-up


                                                Number of      Percent           Percent

                        Year                 Accessions    Available        Backed-up

                        2007                49,971               73                    79

2004                47,925               71                    76

2001                47,100               68                    73

                        1997                44,000               59                    61

                        1993                41,000               38                    34



            NC7 holdings are approximately 10% of NPGS collections.




Table 4: Number of Accessions Distributed 2007, Grouped by Curator




















































Flax - cultivated  



Flax - wild



Sunflowers – cultivated



Sunflowers – wild









Maize relatives






Cucumis - cucs



Cucumis - melo



Cucumis - wild





































Figure 1:

Figure 2:  Germplasm Distributions, All NPGS, 2000-2006




Item 7.0:  Nominations Committee Report

Presenter: Joe Colletti

Action requested: 

  1. Please communicate our need for assistance to your institutions’ extension staff.  Providing them with a brief description of AA time commitments and general scope of what being an AA for an NCERA would greatly assist the nominations committee when they need to find volunteers. 
  2. Let us know if you agree with adding points 3 and 4 above to our current AA guidelines.  The current guidelines can be found below.
  3. Please help us try to find a replacement AA for NC1029, Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare.



AA Vacancies and Distribution within the NC region:  As you are aware, we have several AA positions coming open this summer, but have not had much luck finding volunteers to take on these roles.  Upon updating the AA Nominations by State document, it came to our attention that the distribution of these responsibilities is quite uneven, ranging from 2 to 18 – even when the smallest institutions with the fewest resources are removed from consideration.  By updating this list and increasing our candidate pool, we hope to narrow this gap and recruit volunteers to lead the available projects.  This document is now available on-line here. 


Some suggestions for helping alleviate the AA shortage include:


  1. Formalizing the addition of Extension leaders into our candidate pool, especially for ERA’s.  **We have just appointed an Extension AA for NCERA210, Dr. Steve Lovejoy from MSU.
  2. Have the MRC re-evaluate our research portfolio and see if there are any projects that could be combined or simply not renewed after their next termination date.
  3. Require all new projects to have an AA on board prior to NCRA approval.  We feel that project’s require strong leadership to succeed, so having a willing AA is important for a new project in particular.
  4. Encourage more department heads and chairs to volunteer for open AA positions.  This should help take the strain off directors and others and also reduce the number of projects without AAs.
  5. Consider allowing tenured professors to take on AA and/or co-AA roles, at the discretion of each station director.  This would increase our pool as well as provide these individuals and opportunity to become more involved with multi-state research.


NCRA AA Guidelines and Training

Updated:  May 29, 2008

Colored text indicates recent change


  1. Introduction
    1. The NCRA has experience a good amount of turnover in the past year. 
    2. The NCRA Multistate Research Committee makes many of the same comments on mistakes/revisions that need to be reviewed with everyone in an AA role.
    3. There are many updates within NIMSS and on the forms. 
    4. Note the Helpful Links located at the end of this agenda. 


  1. Who is eligible to be an AA?
    1. Administrative Advisors should preferably be associated with a North Central State Agricultural Experiment Station (SAES). 
    2. An AA may be ANY current or previous director, associate director, or assistant director in research, extension and/or academic programs.  Deans and Associate Deans may serve as AAs. Department Chairs/Heads may also serve as AAs.  Potential AAs also include those who have completed the ESCOP/ACOP Leadership Development program.  It is preferable that they have experience with Multistate Research Processes including experience as committee members and familiarity with the regional Multistate Research Guidelines.  The above statements apply to extension directors as well.
    3. If the situation calls for it, the NCRA may consider assigning a co-advisor to a committee in addition to an assigned Administrative Advisor.  Co-advisors may be required when the primary AA of an MRF project is a department head/or chair.  The co-advisor would oversee the functions of the primary AA.  At the station director’s approval, this co-advisor could be a full professor with an interest in leading a multi-state project. 
    4. It is preferable that an Administrative Advisor was not an immediately past participant on the project for which he/she is being considered.
    5. Many AAs, with the exception of department chairs/heads, will serve as AA to at least two regional projects, providing the advantage of reducing the learning curve and endorsing economies of scale in advising.
    6. Terms begin immediately following appointment of the new Administrative Advisor.

  2. Types of Projects (these are uniform across all regional associations):



Multistate Research Projects

Appendix A

Projects that involve integrated, potentially interdisciplinary, and multistate activities; have expected outcomes, including original research results; convey knowledge; and are peer reviewed.  


Coordinating Committees

Appendix B

Activities that provide a mechanism for addressing critical regional issues where multistate coordination or information exchange is appropriate within a function (ie. research, education or extension); have expected outcomes; convey knowledge; and are peer reviewed.


Education/Extension and Research Activity

Appendix B

Activities that 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.  

NC-500 Series

Rapid Response Projects

Appendix F

Committees formed, for a maximum of two years, to provide a mechanism for response to acute crises, emergencies, and opportunities using the multistate research approach. Activities may range from formally organized research on targeted objectives to very informal research coordination or information exchange activity, depending on the circumstances; have expected outcomes; convey knowledge; and are peer reviewed.


Development Committee

Committees of duration less than two years for the purpose of developing a Multistate Activity; have the expected outcome of a full proposal for a particular Multistate Activity; and are peer reviewed.   Approval of NCDCs requires written support (email, snail mail, fax, etc.) from two SAES directors as well as a brief justification. 


Advisory Committee

Committees of department chairs/heads from a particular discipline that exchange information and serve a multistate administrative function through review of multistate activities, but are not peer reviewed.  


National Research Support Projects

Activities that 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; funded through off-the-top MRF Hatch appropriations; and are peer reviewed.  

*We have now eliminated the NCR-type committees. 

  1. Updates to Proposal Formats:
    1. Sections of new proposals left blank - EVERY SECTION of EVERY PROPOSAL FORMAT must be filled in for complete project submission. 

                                                              i.      Updates/reminders about proposal formats:

                                                            ii.      NC- (Appendix A - Be sure to fill in the “Literature” section! 

                                                          iii.      NCCC- and NCERA- (Appendix B - The regional associations have now added a short (4000 character) “Procedures and Activities” section – don’t forget to fill this in!  Also, be sure to include the “Literature” section!

    1. As a heads-up, a “Linkage” section may be added to each proposal format in the next year.  Please keep an eye out for it. 
    2. All new proposals MUST be submitted in NIMSS by December 1 in the year prior to termination. 
    3. 5-year projects are reviewed in their third year (aka Midterm Review). 
    4. Review Process:

                                                              i.      December 1: New proposals submitted in NIMSS

                                                            ii.      December 15: SAES-422 Annual Reports due for review

                                                          iii.      January-February: NCACs provide initial review comments.  These comments are forwarded to the NCRA Multistate Research Committee (MRC) for further review.  NCAC comments SHOULD NOT be acted upon by the reviewed committee until they hear from the NCRA/MRC (see the next steps). 

                                                          iv.      Early March: NCRA MRC meets to discuss the proposals/projects up for review.  Comments/recommendations are forwarded to the NCRA meeting for approval. 

                                                            v.      Late March/Early April: NCRA directors meet and provide final approval to the MRC comments.  The FINAL recommendations are forwarded to the committees.  The NCRA/MRC makes the final official recommendation. 

1.      NCRA approved projects:

a.       NC – Forwarded to CSREES for final approval. 

b.      NCCC/NCERA – Approved by NCRA immediately. 

2.      Deferred approvals:

a.       The MRC/NCRA may recommend that either major or minor edits are made to the proposal before approval. 

                                                                                                                                      i.      Minor edits: If made by June 1, the NCRA gives the MRC authority to approve the project so it does not need to be reviewed again by the directors in July. 

1.      i.e. title changes, participant updates, etc.

                                                                                                                                    ii.      Major edits: These need to be done by June 1 and the revised proposal will need to come before the NCRA directors again in July. 

3.      Denied approval:

a.       The NCRA may disapprove a project completely, though this happens rarely.  The disapproval notice will be supported by NCRA recommendations (ie. try another region, topic to broad, research not novel, etc.).

b.      In most cases, the NCRA/MRC will recommend that a project become an NCDC project (development committee).  See above for details. 

                                                          vi.      June 1: All revisions due for deferred approval or July review.

                                                        vii.      Mid July: NCRA summer meeting

1.      Hopefully, all MRC business can be completed by the end of this meeting.  Any remaining business will be dealt with in September. 

                                                      viii.      Late September: NCRA fall meeting


V.    NIMSS Meeting Authorization

    1. All meetings MUST be authorized through NIMSS before station directors will reimburse participants for travel.  NIMSS sends the authorizations to all directors in every regional association. 
    2. Projects are expected to meet at least once annually. 
    3. For experienced AA’s, there is one new section of which to be aware: the meeting’s start/end time. 

                                                              i.      You may choose either “start/end time to be determined” or a specific start time, if known. 

                                                            ii.      It is preferred that you include a start time with the meeting authorization to help station accounting offices plan for travel reimbursement. 


VI. SAES-422 Annual Report Submission

    1. SAES-422 Annual Report Forms (Appendix D - are REQUIRED for all project types (NC, NCCC/NCERA, NCDC, NCAC, NRSP).

                                                              i.      Provides not only a brief summary of the minutes, but also the accomplishments and impacts a committee has made.  This is important to help justify the need for multistate research!

                                                            ii.      SAES-422s are due 60 days after completion of the annual meeting. 

                                                          iii.      EACH SECTION is REQUIRED on an SAES-422 – not just the meeting minutes!  Under the “Accomplishments” section, be sure to include any linkages! 

    1. Termination Reports – NC-type projects only:

                                                              i.      In the final year of NC- projects, if a project is changing project numbers, a termination report may count as the SAES-422. 

                                                            ii.      Termination Reports are identical to the SAES-422 but they are comprehensive of the project’s 5-year period (with the exception of the “Summary of Minutes” section – this is from the last meeting). 

                                                          iii.      Termination reports are due 6 months from the project termination date.


VII.  NCRA Impact Statements

    1. We have or will ask all of our projects to submit impact statements for inclusion on the NCRA impact statement website and the national impact statement database.  Both of these sites help to concisely outline why multistate research is so important and effective. 
    2. Although we have asked almost all of our committees to submit impact statements, many have failed to submit them.  PLEASE HAVE YOUR COMMITEES WRITE THESE IMPORTANT PIECES!
    3. To ease the process, there is a simple form to fill out.  Impact statements are no longer than 2 pages.  See 
    4. If the committee has kept up with SAES-422s, the process should be fairly painless. 


VIII.                       Committee Participation

    1. It is up to the SAES directors, supported by the Administrative Advisors, to keep the participant lists current in NIMSS.  This ensures that participants are copied on all correspondence sent through NIMSS. 

                                                              i.      Non-SAES participants: AAs can input and update this information by:

1.      Sending hardcopies of Appendix Es to participants, have them fill out, then send it back to the AA (

2.      Participants can enter their own information into NIMSS and the AA just needs to approve it (notification sent by the system when the participant submits). 

                                                            ii.      SAES participants: ALL participation entries should be handled by the SAES directors’ offices.  This avoids confusion on everyone’s behalf. 

    1. AAs: If you think a committee is missing a discipline or station, be sure to mention this to the committee so contact can be initiated. 


  1. Information to take to your committee meetings:
    1. FIRST: View the NCRA AA Newsletters at  These newsletters are updated quarterly.
    2. In addition to the newsletter topics, other topics you may want to discuss with your committees include:

                                                              i.      National budget issues not included in the newsletters

                                                            ii.      NCRA Office updates not included in the newsletters

                                                          iii.      CSREES news

                                                          iv.      Project timelines (ie. midterm reviews/new proposals needed?)

                                                            v.      Etc.


  1. Other topics/General questions?
    1. Virtual NIMSS training is now available within NIMSS under the Help menu.  Please contact Chris Hamilton if you have any questions about NIMSS. 







What You’ll Find:

AA Responsibilities

AA Virtual Handbook


Anything you’ve ever wanted to know regarding the NCRA and your role as AA.  If there’s anything missing, be sure to let us know – the topics are submitted by you, the AA!

AA and Committee Member

Food for Thought

AA Newsletter

Updates for AA’s regarding NCRA/national multistate project policy.  The newsletter also contains reminders of upcoming deadlines, AA Q&A, and more!

Location of Project Information

National Information Management and Support System (NIMSS)

The official repository for anything related to multistate projects and activities, NIMSS is used to submit annual reports and meeting authorizations, as well as write proposals.  There are even functions allowing you to send emails to entire committees, post committee photos, and create committee websites. 


One of the quickest ways to get acquainted with a project is to check out its homepage. 

  1. After signing into NIMSS, mouse-over “Projects” > click “View” > and click “Project Homepages” on the left side of the screen. 
  2. Next, choose the project number and click on it.  This should open a new browser window containing the homepage. 
  3. Navigate the homepage by using the navigation bar in the upper left corner of the screen. 
  4. Virtual, self-paced training is available under the Help menu.

General Regional Information

NCRA Homepage

Skim this homepage for information about members and cooperators.  You’ll also find information about special NCRA projects such as Hatch surveys and project impact statements.   

Submission Forms (Appendix E, Appendix D (SAES-422 Annual Report Form), etc.)

Hard Copy

NCRA Forms

and Appendices

Although submission of all multistate research forms must take place through NIMSS, advisors often ask where they can find the hard-copy versions of appendices.  Many advisors prefer to send the appendices to committee members via email.  The information can then easily be cut/pasted into NIMSS by either the AA or the committee member, depending on the level of NIMSS authorization.  


Item 8.0:  CSREES Report

Presenter: Meryl Broussard

The CSREES name change will be occurring soon. 

Please refer to the ESCOP CSREES report at for a detailed update on current CSREES activities.

Item 9.0: ARS Report

Presenter: Larry Chandler

Larry introduced himself as the new Midwest Area ARS Director.  Larry can be contacted at:
Phone: (309) 618-6602
Fax: (309) 681-6684
PEORIA, IL, 61604

ARS budgets are flat at best due to the continuing resolution.  Some projects, specifically those in Columbus and Urbana may be affected in the coming year as resources are tightened.

Larry plans on conducting site visits this fall and looks forward to future interactions with the NC AES directors.

Please see Larry's ARS Update during the ESCOP meeting for more detailed information.

Item 10.0:  2009 NCRA Officers and Committee Members

Presenter: Ken Grafton

Action requested: None, for information only.





2008-2009 Officers and Committee Members

(Fiscal Year 2009 begins October 1, 2008)



F.W. Ravlin, OH, Chair (08-09) (

D. Buhler, MI, Chair-Elect (09-10) (


Executive Committee:

F.W. Ravlin, OH, Chair (09) (

D. Buhler, MI, Chair Elect (09) (

K. Grafton, ND, Past Chair (09) (

John Kirby, SD, MRC Chair (09) (

A. Leholm, NCRA, Exec. Vice Chair (Perm) (


Multistate Research Committee (3-year term):

J. Kirby, SD, Chair (09) (

M. Linit, Chair-Elect, MO (10) (

D. Benfield, OH, (10) (

J. Kokini, IL, (10) (

S. Ramaswamy, IN, (11) (

 A. Leholm, Ex-Officio (


Resolutions Committee (3-year term):

M. Linit, MO, (09-11)


Nominating Committee (2-year term):

S. Greening, MN, (09) (

Doug Buhler, MI, (09-10) (


Rural Development Center Board (2-year term):

W. Wintersteen, IA (perm) (

A. Isserman, IL (


NRSP Review Committee Representative (NCRA):

M. Martin (2-year term) (


ESCOP (3-year term):

W. Ravlin, OH, Chair of NCRA (09) (

D. Buhler, MI, Chair-Elect (09) (

K. Grafton, ND, Past Chair of NCRA (09) (

A. Leholm, NCRA (Perm Alt) (


ESCOP Executive Committee:

K. Grafton, ND, Past Chair of NCRA (09) (

A. Leholm, NCRA (Perm Alt) (


ESCOP Chair's Advisory Committee:

S. Pueppke (IL), Past Chair, (

A. Leholm, NCRA (Perm Alt) (


ESCOP Budget and Legislative Committee:

S. Slack, OH (

J. Kirby, SD (


ESCOP Communications and Marketing Committee:

W. Wintersteen, IA (

W. Ravlin, IN (

A. Leholm, NCRA (Perm Alt) (


ESCOP Science and Technology Committee:

F.W. Ravlin, OH (


ESCOP Science and Technology Committee Social Science Sub-Committee:

C. Sigurdson, IN ( - Ag Communication

L. Nichols, SD ( - Human Sciences

S. Ramaswamy, IN ( - At Large

F. Larry Leistritz, ND ( - Ag Econ

G. Green, WI ( - Rural Sociology

R. Birkenholz, OH ( - Ag Education


ESCOP NIMSS Oversight Committee:

J. Colletti, IA (

F.W. Ravlin, OH (


North Central Bioeconomy Consortium

NCBEC Vice President, J. Colletti (

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