Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
August 1997
August 1997

Meeting Participants:

Curtis Absher, KY Mike French, AR  Rafael Olmeda, PR
James App, FL Bill Harris, TX Michael Ouart, MS
Roger Crickenburger, NC Glenwood Hill, GA John O'Sullivan, NC
Billy Caldwell, NC Ray Humberd, TN Louie Rivers, KY
Nelson Daniels, VA  Nathaniel Keys, VA Dan Smith, SC
Elwyn Deal, SC  Bill Lambert, GA Gaines Smith, AL
Clint Depew, LA Ross Love, OK   Marc Thomas, GA
Allen Dunn, SC  Warren McCord, AL Steve Umberger, VA 
  Ishmel Washington, SC   


Bo Beaulieu, SRDC Howard Ladewig, TX
Elbert Dickey, NE Ralph Otto, USDA 
David Foster, AR  Walter Walla, KY 
William Hubbard, Regional Forester Ted Wilson, USDA

Officers for 1997-98

Chair--B. L. Harris, Texas A&M University
Chair-Elect--John O'Sullivan, North Carolina A&T State University
Secretary--Clint Depew, Louisiana State University

Administrative Advisor

David Foster, AR


Items for Information

The meeting was opened at 1:00 p.m. on August 25 with Mike French presiding and John O'Sullivan taking notes. We collected a list of the ANR participants and addresses so that we would have an updated list. It is indicated in the notes where people provided handouts. A copy of those handouts is being filed by the secretary and would be available to whomever might request one.

1. Introduction of new participants and guests. The list of participants is given above.

2. Nominating committee of Ray Humberd and Elwyn Deal was requested to return a list of nominees for next year's committee.

3. Comments from David Foster, Director Advisor - The Director and Administrators see the PLC process in very favorable light. In the rewrite of the Farm Bill, the question of multi state programs emerged and that is why the report to the Directors is needed. There are a variety of questions still to be discussed in the Farm Bill and long way to go yet. Formula funding questions have arisen as has the merit review of programs though this has been called for but not defined. Overall the discussion seem to be more positive and strengthening system than had been anticipated.

4. Water quality comments of Ralph Otto - (handout provided by Dr. Ralph Otto, Deputy Administrator, CSREES)

Twenty-five percent across the board cut for water quality programs discussed. He thinks that this can be done on a state level and they apply the reduction as they see fit. The broader context questions are coming into play -- a big carry over and it might be that the President's priority is not with WQ. WQ is mature; No new money. Hypoxia rather than WQ. There is a small formula fund increase. NRCS has the responsibility of technical assistance as stated in enabling legislation, and that what funds are going for now. Discussion of use of funds and responsibilities of CES and NCRS in terms of delivering educational/technical assistance to producers. Reminder: Major water shed conference in DC in September.

Discussion of handout: New directions for WQI. Summary of a Kansas City meeting on that topic. Mission and vision stated for a first draft with the expectation that there would be discussion and evolution of them. Seven goals and background statements. Proposing changes in WQ Program. Some supplemental funds for working with under-served communities. Competitive grants program as well. Also, seven centers for leadership of program goals. Continues national programs like Farm Assist/Home Assist. Liaison with other agencies (EPA). Evaluation would get increasing fund. This plan will need to come to life in 1998 with system buy-in. National Advisory Committee going to be critical to this. Connection and involvement of research also important. NRI connection is there. There was discussion of the evaluation expectation about whether the evaluation would be on separate projects or on GPRA indicators? Not resolved yet. GPRA parallel too can be seen. GPRA # D indicators seen but WQ indicators not included. Those need more work.

Two more handouts- one for programs for a calendar. Also issues which are important for WQ. Discussion for the future directions of WQ.

Question on precision agriculture. Senate is interested in major five year program. Bio technology, gnome research, precision agriculture, natural resources. Research on these. Precision agriculture- Is it a new technology or just the latest fad? Obvious role for extension. (Discussion) Probably needs coordination between private and public players. Talk of putting together a workshop in the future for this. Maybe committee needs to be an ECOP committee as an internal CES.

5. Managing Change in Agriculture (MCA) presented by Elbert Dickey (University of Nebraska) and Billy Caldwell. First Elbert provided handouts from Nebraska and North Central Region. Issues in North Central Region: Precision Farming and private training in that area; EQIP, GPRA, Evolution of programs workshop, April 1998.
Now to MCA. (Caldwell) Background. Position papers have been developed. Real need to deal with the transitions caused by price fluctuations and risk factors for long run plan. Some programs started and out there but important areas of education needed. Working toward some workshops and getting states to share resources and ideas. Position papers were in: Risk management & marketing, integrated animal production and conservation. Issues of policies and facing changing structure in agriculture as well as managing change in agriculture in regional meetings which will perhaps in May/June 1998. Collaboration from Farm Foundation. Are people willing to be involved from local region? Each state might have teams of specialists, agents, and program developers to deal with managing change in agriculture.

Planning Committee: Southern PLC supports third idea of a regional workshop. Start with Curtis Absher, Bill Harris, Ray Humberd, Nathaniel Keys others who reviewed papers will be contacted for the committee- also need family and others outside the schools of agriculture. Also there is a recommendation of a program leaders meeting for San Antonio meeting of the National Agents meeting. Bill Harris will help coordinate that from southern region and the contact with the national agents association.

6. Ted Wilson, Deputy Administrator, CSREES.
Appeal to remind all the publics of the successes of the Cooperative Extension partnerships. Great success which need to enhance the discussion topics for the Reauthorization of Farm Bill-Title VIII. (Summary of Discussion points). Reauthorization of the aquaculture of 1980 Bill, New authority for integrated applied research extension and education competitive grants program. Require 100% non federal match for commodity and location specific activities. Amend Smith Lever 3(b) and (c) to require not less than 25% used for multi state, regional or national collaborative activities. Smith Lever and Hatch Funds to permit state specific allocations of grants by the LGU up to 10% for any research and extension allocations with an approved plan of work. Increase of this to 20% in 2000 and 25% for 2001. In addition, 25% of appropriations above 1997 funds can be allocated in a single allocation with an approved plan (with percentages changing upward by 2001). New grants program to invest in national gnome strategy. Expansion of Smith Lever 3(d) to include 1890s and 1994s. Other grants open to all colleges and universities. Phase in 1890 formula programs with matching requirements for Extension programming.

Fund for Rural America--established under Farm Bill 1996. $100 million: a third for rural development, a third for research and a third for discretion of Secretary. The selection of the planning centers proposals to be announced next week. 461 applications for planning centers were received. 35 proposals accepted. Full project proposals were due in December. Full proposals being reviewed now from 1,100 sent in. Started with $46 million, $20 million went to flood, $31 million in program, $46 million expected for next year and following years. Reapplication each year.

Agriculture database for decision support, (ADDS), CD technology, National Dairy and Pig database. Work on national sheep and beef and looking at catfish information database. Catfish might be a southern regional activity since the groups are in the southern region. Questions on process (handout).

Pesticide Applicator Training: started with EPA funds with pass through funds. Now down to $1.5 million or so. Process of funding has been identified as important at secretary level, $1.5 to $1.7 mm for EPA and $1.5 from USDA. Neither House nor Senate have included it in their budgets. Doing a review of PAT with EPA. (Discussion--Need to attempt to get funds restored.)

Small Farm Program. 78% of all farms if we use $50,000 as criteria. During the Civil Rights Hearings the question of USDA orientation came out again. Shouldn't we have it as an issue? Interagency Commission looking at this. Another set of hearings. Small Farm national leader Dennis Egbodaghe. Mickie Swisher coming from UFLA on IPA. Nine agencies want to be involved.

7. Comments of Bo Beaulieu, the new Director of the Southern Rural Development Center (since August 1). (Handout) Connection with LGU scholarship. Issues and topics being addressed: Funding for Rural America planning grant--devolution, welfare reform research regional conference, human capital and economic development linkages. Workforce preparedness of youth, Rural Health, Connection with EZ communities (including value added industry).

8. Civil Deliberation comments presented Curtis Absher--We need to practice skills to conduct ourselves in the basics of democratic process rather than taking a position and defending it. Referred to concentrated hog industry issue and civil discussion with agents in non advocacy roles. Tobacco, small farm and rural community and health issues. National Leadership institute also which builds skills in mediation and defusing confrontations. SARE Chapter 3 Kettering Foundation support for Civil Deliberation Process.

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, August 26, 1997 - The meeting reconvened at 1:00 p.m.

1. Collaboration and Partnerships--Regional Accountability Committee. Michael Ouart and Howard Ladewig. (Discussion) - Following up on discussions this morning in the general session (process/framework of relevance, quality and impacts). Training with an end product in mind. Ignore the problem of the accountability framework. Database with relevance to stakeholders and for virtual organizations and collaboration. Relation of subgoals to GPRA. Subgoal being tied to program inputs. How do we expand to regional impacts and inputs? Creation of a matrix for everyone to be able to have a place for their collaborative piece. What about regional training of state teams (agents, communications, specialists, administrator)? Training on evidence collection based on preselected priority area. Is there an area in ANR? Team will need materials/curriculum for back home. May be next spring. There are real attitude problems about accountability throughout the system. Accountability gives us a marketing tool. Those are some of the culture questions. How long does it take to get critical mass? Specialists need to report and are important for state programs to tell the stories. Bring in communications to disseminate marketing reports. This brings others wanting to see their successes in print. What is CES accountable for? Extension role can be seen as facilitate change and advocate change. Therefore show role impacts on the one or the other.

2. Ray Humberd: Nominating Committee Report, Chair, B. L. Harris; chair elect, John O'Sullivan; secretary, Clint Depew from Louisiana. Seconded by Elwyn Deal. Unanimous.

3. David Foster presented the Rile Foundation Southern Regional Workshop, "Productivity and Conservation: Working toward common goals." NRCS/CES/ARS October 8-10 in Birmingham. Discussion of model projects with 319 funds from state WQ projects as case studies for use in the workshop. Tom Riley (AR) and Roger Crickenberger (NC) reviewed for selection for presentation. Need to select three projects for presentation as case studies. Who is audience for the conference? CES and NRCS staff and selected private sector side too. Conservation districts? Probably not. Model programs? Projects reviewed? 35 reviewed, 10 have been screen from 10 states. Focus of conference is productivity and conservation. Topics ranged from animal waste, systems, stream bank management, WQ. Other states will be invited to do posters from the common areas. What do we need to do? Goal of conference? To foster collaboration at state and local levels of CES/NRCS. Need a liaison between this group and conference. Fee Busby was suggesting that the state team be filled from around the region with suggestions of names proposed. David Foster will list categories for a resource book of people who would be able to work with NRCS: nutrient management, rural development, natural resources--range, forestry, wildlife and fisheries, animal waste management and WQ. Name and telephone number and e-mail address. Conference will be to discuss the case studies and then review that for results to take home.

4. David Foster: Grazing Land Initiative. Phase 2 will be focusing on research and extension. Two national meetings since last year. At the October meeting the discussion of Phase 2 will occur. Discussion of ESCOP and ECOP about supporting this at the regional level. Getting ready to discuss with NRCS. George Ham from KSU system and David Foster are designated by ECOP/ESCOP. Framework discussion to see where things can go. Look at Grazing Lands Technology Institute as mentioned in the handout from Fee Busby this morning.

5. (General Discussion) EQIP Programs experiences in the Southern Region. CES-AR provided an educational plan for 1997 as a collaboration of CES, FSA and NRCS, (handout). GA (FVSU) reported in similar work with limit resource audience. Texas reported involvement in state technical advisory committee to define priorities and AES programming. TAMU-AES will hire a staff person and NRCS will pay for it, to maintain linkage of SCS and TAMU-AES. There is an initial three year time frame. Parallel funding at national level should occur so as to facilitate programs. KY has a person as a liaison with the state department of water quality. FL provided a handout about its collaboration with some funding available. MS provided a report about a proposal submitted and training conducted in collaboration with Alcorn and MS Soil and Water Conservation Society. OK had a handout and commented on being less far along. Question of training of NRCS and education. GA has received no funds from EQIP for training. NC also has received no funds for training. NC does have parallel training ongoing with CES programs. FVSU did training in high priority area. SC in discussion with NRCS with a forage grassland focus. TN informed agents of EQIP but not involved in training. PR training with some funds. VA has representation on the state technical committee. It was recommended that there should be a discussion at the national level to clarify funding for training and education.

A motion was made by Jim Apps and seconded by Bill Harris to raise this question with the southern directors as consideration . (Motion approved.) This is listed above in the Action List.

6. Sustainable Agriculture Roger Crickenberger and John O'Sullivan. (Handouts of accomplishments, grants, call for proposal, and a presentation by John Ikerd). Background information about the PDP, Accomplishments reported, Competitive grants funded and state implementation. List of projects, Concerns about support. Link to research base. State coordinators meeting will be October 8-10 in Raleigh. The regional winter meeting will be held January 21-22, 1998 in Memphis, TN. There is also a national Sustainable Agriculture meeting March 5-7, 1998 in Austin, TX. Competitive grants for membership and whether there are broad representation involved. Input from ANR requested for new members as slots occur is encouraged.

7. Elwyn Deal. Ad hoc committee on meeting needs of commercial agriculture. Suggestion of developing a regional project. Program deliver rate and rapid response efforts. Use of new technologies (Internet, web , satellite, fax, etc. ACRES, DTN) to meet needs. Recommendation to approach the directors with a written proposal in the prescribed form for a full fledged regional agriculture application via distance education or some other format. Discussion from Mike Ouart and David Foster about time limitations for submission to PLC committee to then bring it to directors. Note need to involve and link to agriculture communications and computer people for their involvement. Suggestion of working with research group working with NASA. Elwyn Deal, Mike Ouart, Roger Crickenberger, Bill Lambert and Ross Love volunteer to help with this program.

8. Discussion of lack of time to cover all the important topics which we have on the agenda but we can't really address. Would there be another time we could meet? Then have conference calls in the other two quarters. It would be possible at the winter SA meeting or the SAAS meeting. Doubling up meetings creates the burden of a long stay away from the office. Possibility of meeting at the same time as the national agents meeting, but that would be just a month before this meeting. There was a motion from Roger Crickenberger with a second from Elywn Deal to set a meeting for six months from now and to communicate it to the directors. (Motion approved). This is listed in the Action Items above.

9. A Motion was made to thank Dave Foster and that our appreciation be conveyed to the directors. (Second by Bill Lambert). This was agreed to unanimously. It is listed in the Action Items.

The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Wednesday, August 27, 1997 - The meeting opened at 7:50 a.m.

1. Michael Ouart provided the PLC planning committee report. The evaluation forms were lost in travel. Therefore, he asked that each person reply to the following questions on a sheet of paper: what session was most/least valuable? What can PLC do to support ANR programs and ANR committee? What themes, ideas and topics for next year? (Handout of history and process steps to bring issues up to directors and administrators). Other action items: FCS formalized the topics to have at the workshop on training in accountability (nutrition and health and parenting), 4-H wants the Directors to look at who provides administrative advisor for the regional horse committee. The Program Staff Development looking at core competencies. The development of core competencies is being developed as a joint effort with the middle management committee.

2. Michael Ouart then reported on national catfish ADDS system of data. He expressed interest in southern regional leadership providing leadership in this area. MS is bringing a group together (9 from region-including 2 from the 1890 community) Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC) is providing the leadership. Request our submission to directors of request to make this an official southern regional project so that they can move forward with the process. The group has begun data collection, editing formats, leadership for this process, pre-proposal for USDA funds. SRAC willing to put in $30,000. Request others to put in. This was made as a motion made by Michael and seconded by Roger Crickenberger). (Vote: All in favor). It is included in the action items for the directors.

3. Joe McGilberry and CRD Committee came in for a presentation and discussions. The presentation was of the food processing resources at LGU project. A hard copy distributed. They are in the process of putting it to Internet version from an SRDC home page. This will happen by end of September. It will have hotlinks to individual sites as possible. Also will have a floppy disk but that will not be available on a broad basis. Now the question is how to move forward across state lines. Presentation of the layout of the database. Further discussions to move this on a national level. Collaboration is already occurring across state lines-comments-southern regional task force exchange programs for food processing centers and survey programs about resources, guidelines to sharing facilities, resources. Question: would this also be a SRA-IEG (FCS) food safety issue? Probably need to be brought in on process and find out where they are in their process. Part of electronic links of virtual center of excellence idea.

4. Warren McCord: Would there be interest in a regional meeting focusing on community approaches to agriculture and natural resources, FCS, 4-H? Maybe this should be a theme or topic for our next PLC meeting. Agents are being drawn into a variety of issues in communities as this change in rural America. Also there is the possibility that there will be a stronger federal base of Small Farm programs. That would make a connection with community and social issues. Welfare reform issues impact dramatically on rural communities.

5. Another person made a comment about the southern need for community development institutes. Would there be a need for such a thing perhaps through the SRDC - a 3 or 4 day intensive workshop in some of the skills of community organization and collaborations? Maybe with CEUs, targeted to county agents. Loss of agriculture programs and welfare reform for rural counties is a double whammy. Train the trainer type thing? Not really thought through yet, but good suggestion. Probably significant interest if there would be graduate credits.

6. Recommendation to Southern Directors about regional training in accountability. Motion to make Sustainable Agriculture and IPM s the two topics for the program in accountability presented by Howard Ladewig. Recommendations of team which a cross section of agents, specialists and communications fro participation in the regional workshop. (Michael Ouart motioned, John O'Sullivan seconded). How to write and analyze baselines of GPRA planning process. Maybe in skills to develop plan and reporting sequences--finding indicators and success stories and then putting them into the systems. Understanding that there be a clearer plan to be developed. (5 to 3 in favor). So there are serious reservations and lack of endorsement of this. Maybe not a quorum. Concerns for 1890 reporting. Also regional information group in his process?

7. William Hubbard Regional Forestry Program. (Handout). Discussion of the key points of the handouts.

8. There then followed the distribution of committee reports. Wildlife Committee--no action. Farm Management--handout of minutes from meeting (June '97). Marketing report will be coming based on meeting minutes (held June 97). Outlook conference--meeting in September. (Ray Humberd will be the advisor for current year). Poultry workshop--21-24 October in Nashville, TN, (handout). No letter to directors needed. Pesticide meeting will be October 1. For the Animal Science Committee, Dr. Luce and Dr. Huges. Are preparing a workshop in Oklahoma in May 1998. Agriculture Engineering will meet (October 1998), J. Langston providing leadership. Dairy Group has not met. There h as been turnover among personnel. Their last meeting was in February 96. Next meeting TBA. IPM minutes will be submitted. Horticulture will be meeting to SAAS. Roger will be program advisor. Forestry last held in 96. Their next meeting is in 99. Horse show. Regional WQ (Jim App) (handout). Next meeting in 1999. Southern Public Affairs report (handout). Comment that Subcommittees need to show action to justify their existence. Dates and places of meetings as well a Program Advisor collected on a form by Mike French.

9. Summary of comments about the National Ag Agents meeting held in Burlington, VT. There was confusion about the date/time of the ANR meeting which was planned to be held there.

The ANR Committee adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

Respectively submitted by: Dr. John M. O'Sullivan, Secretary, Southern Region ANR Leaders.

Action Items Response to Information Requested

Information was requested of the ANR Program Leaders by Southern Directors/Administrators concerning multi-state collaborations.

The ANR Committee listed many examples of multi-state and regional collaboration which are occurring throughout the Southern Region. The group felt that it would be very easy to justify 25% of our work as multi-state or regional. Documentation and establishment of formal agreements may be the challenge.

1. What are examples of sharing resources which have been conducted, which were successful and not successful?

The Regional Forester position is a success as is the EPA liaison from Region 6. Ms/LSU joint dairy program (formal), may be expanded to a beef program as well. This is working well. Sc/NC dairy science informal agreement. NC/SC/GA apple program is being set up. AR/MO boot heel region informal support. Southern Rural Development Center. PDP, SARE. Burley tobacco work in TN, VA (travel paid by VA), TN/NC/SC tree fruit (planned), TN/KY PDP Dairy project as well as a milo field day. UK also shares a tobacco specialist with OH and IN. UK distance education tobacco and cabbage used in other states. Scott Co., TN and McCreary Co. KY working together informally. FL, GA, AL, SC are talking about cooperation and looking for specific programs where collaboration will help. They are discussing formal agreements and positions with money and MOUs in areas where the commodities are not major in state. The first area will be diary. Blue mold warning system with UK, NC. Weather centers are also collaborative. NC waste management (12 states in south and west); agriculture medicine (informal) with SC; peanut/cotton program with VA/NC (mutually supportive). Dairy records program in multistate and international. Dairy programs in VA, NC, SC are collaborating as dairy herds decrease in those states and programs downsize. Internet in-service training SC/GA/AL. FL lead in a distance education program from PDP. EX-TVA Agri-21 last year MS/TN doing a video on this program. TX multistate county programs with OK, NM, AR, LA programs being conducted jointly in county programs. TX also working internationally with Mexico in west TX counties and neighboring Mexican states. There is a trade show of Agribusiness with Mexico as well and TB control with Mexico. Agronomic programs are shared with farmers in lower valley having land on both sides of the border so there is a lot of interchange. International trade formal agreements on agricultural products from Mexico. There is a program on Communities and Economic Transition which is being conducted by TX, OK, NM, CO, UT sharing resources with 4-H, CRD. TX and OK have joint field tours and county meetings (county level), also wheat research and extension. TX is also working with KS on risk management and MO with general farm policy analysis. There is a Model Farms Program throughout the south to study policy impacts on dairy, grain crops, beef arms. There is the collaborative effort in livestock (National Livestock Marketing Agreement) with many states involved (formal). NC mentioned the Philip Morris Leadership Program (KY and six other states). National Leadership Program KY/NC. There is a formal agreement for a program on reclaimed mine land VA/KY. The tomato (trellis) program is an informal program from Fletcher Center at NC (four other states--formal on research informal on extension side). There are Regional IPM and WQ Programs with successes and tangible benefits of workshops, publications and materials (even beyond the Southern region to North Central), Urban IPM, IPM manual (OK leadership). Aquaculture is a regional effort including 1890 (SRAC). Sharing disaster (hurricane, drought) information is being established. Southern Regional joint committees are focusing on specific topics.

2. What are barriers?

Barriers - financial resources and attitudes about ownership and visibility in having a program in the state. Fiscal and personnel offices have different guidelines at different institutions. Multistate programs work when specialists and agents see the need. Attitudes work both ways in terms of support for local materials and institution, sometimes imported information is seen as better. Need to focus on needs. A barrier is institutional promotion and tenure systems. There might be the fear by specialist about doing more or fear of having outsiders come in and do a better job. Also the amount of time it takes to make the administrative arrangements to obtain closure. Issue might be a reluctance to travel across state lines but setting up a formal agreement. Some legislatures very concerned about out of state travel. They are a constraint.

3. What needs could be effectively met by conducting programs across state lines and/or throughout the region?

Engineering type things; precision agriculture, irrigation. We might need a position to facilitate across southern commodities to coordinate linkages across the web (Virtual Center of Excellence)--like the Regional Forester Position. Maybe we need to set up a joint meeting of ANR and Computer/Communications staff for brainstorming discussion next year. We need to bring in Experiments Station Researchers too. All of the things listed under one above are being done to address needs. These are things that we have in common. We need to develop educational materials collaboratively. This might run into tenure problems but given the lack of funds for program development this is an area of importance. Finally it is very important to address the question of marketing and informing others of all this collaboration in this region since the question came up.