Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
August 25-27, 2003
August 25, 2003

Introduction of committee members present

Nominating committee named:  Mike French, Tim Cross & Louie Rivers

Vice Chair
CCEP Steering Committee Representative
Agro-forestry committee representation

Ron Brown comments on e-extension:
Southern Region is giving leadership to CECP and e-extension.  Extension is about the people served in the counties.  The system will better enable them to serve their customers.  ANR has to take the lead for agricultural related items. CSREES has added an additional $200,000 to e-extension.  Visualizes many more funds for the program.  We need to look for subject matter leadership from within.  Perhaps a virtual national program leader as a part of e-extension for particular subject matter since we are looking towards external partners other than USDA.

Dan Smith’s comments from Southern Directors:

Joshua Idassi raised a question about salary incentives for granting opportunities.  Some discussion about what some states are doing (draw in new grants to support programs and retain quality faculty).  Many are offering financial incentives and leave time.  Others are additional support staff from release funds.  Also there was discussion addressing the problems that could be associated with this including teamwork and co-principle investigators.  It was suggested that we canvas the states to see what is being done on these issues and come to the directors with some suggestions.  Steve Umberger suggested that the directors conduct the survey since it cuts across all disciplines.  Ron Brown suggested that we collect the information and this send the recommendation to the directors.  Roger will send an E-mail to states who have stated that they have some type of incentives.  The results will be discussed during the next conference call.

Regional Forestry Report (Bill Hubbard)

  1. Fragmented forest owners with 1-9 acres are a large percentage of the forest land owners.  They are working to address their needs.  Much of it can be done through e-extension.

  2. Satellite programming to assist at the county level.

  3. Master Tree Farmer 1 program

  4. Addressing the issue of relevancy of CECP and e-extension in all states (pine trees vs. hardwood forest)

  5. Regional forestry conference

  6. Proposal to peer review publications (can be done all online)

  7. Southern forestry GIS conference planned

  8. Introduction to Forestry for Agents available on-line

  9. Introduction to Urban Forestry for Agents available on-line

  10. Developing a Spanish language tree planting video/CD

  11. Several other courses are being put on-line.  There is also website being maintained with links to the various universities.

  12. REA funding - $4 million across all states

  13. Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP) – forestry partnerships with states

  14. National Web-based Learning Center – draft proposals for 2004 available at their website.

  15. ANREP membership is growing.  ANR personnel should consider joining and perhaps establishing state chapters.

  16. Southern Forest Research Partnership formed with Larry Biles serving as Interim Director. 

Agroforesty Initiative Report (Joshua Idassi)


  1. Increase value of small wooded areas and receive income while waiting for harvest.  Items addressed include wildlife, crop production and livestock.

  2. Connecting forest research from Extension to publication format.

  3. Various states have capabilities to assist with publications as well as many universities that currently have programs going on in the Southern Region including field days and workshops.

  4. Working group is planning for a regional conference and is hoping for good participation.

Suggest that agroforestry becomes a work group under the ANR group and a part of the annual work plan.  NRCS & Forest Service are both willing to assist in the agroforestry effort.  The committee voted to make this working group a sub-committee of the ANR group.

CECP System
Julie Sexton demonstrated the Risk Management principles for Farm and Agribusiness Managers on the CECP site.

Concerns about the CECP and e-extension were expressed.  The main concern is that information be sharable and that the user can customize information in both CECP and e-extension.  Copyrighting issues are also a major concern when discussing both programs. 

Bill Hubbard demonstrated a module on CECP for forestry.  It is interactive where possible.  Many of the modules come from publications that have been peer reviewed by sources other than Extension such as the Forest Service.  System speeds are still a concern.  Many counties are still on dial-up systems.

Craig Woods demonstrated work that has been done on HorseQuest (  Several states are involved with users being able to obtain answers from the experts via email in a short turn around time.  The question answers are shared among the specialist participating in the program.  It is very interactive with photos and some streaming video.  This information can be transferred to CECP.

Joan Dusky – How Do We Put Modules Together

Previous assignments on domains were reviewed and some changes made.  The Categories / Domains are as follows:

  1. Agronomic Crops
  2. Horticultural Crops
  3. Animal Sciences
  4. Forestry
  5. Natural Resources
  6. Aquaculture
  7. Risk Management
  8. Small Scale Farming
  9. Sustainable Agriculture
  10. Lawns & Gardens

The question to ask specialist developing the modules is “What questions do you get from your new agents?”

A committee to look closer at the identified domains was assigned by Roger.  The committee includes: Ed Smith, Nelson Daniels, Carrie Castille, Joan Dusky and Jimmy Henning.

Further discussion included the ability to share information developed.

      CECP – Developed for new agents but can be used by the general public.

      e-extension – Developed for outside audience.

The Nominating Committee recommended Joan Dusky as the representative from the ANR committee.  The group voted to accept this recommendation.

There was a discussion concerning the number of National Program Leaders in ANR areas at USDA.  There has been a disconnection since the decline in the number of National Program Leaders. 

Roger reported on the ANR program leaders during the NACCA meeting in Green Bay.  Some comments coming out of the meeting included:

The ANR Program Leaders will need to develop strategies prior to the next National Program Leaders meeting in Washington D.C.

Dan Smith commented on the need for better connection with National Program Leaders Under the old program leader system, they worked closely with the state program leaders and specialists.  This will no longer be the case.  The new system is missing that connection.  The model has changed and there are no plans to work at this level.  USDA now serves as more of a granting agency.  We may be able to develop a model to help bridge the gap in these positions.  We may want to look at liaison committees in specific areas such as risk management.  These committees could help to bridge the gap due to a lack of NPL positions.

Ron Brown’s comments were that we could better serve ourselves by taking the leadership as described by Dan.  This would also allow us to work with other federal agencies other than USDA.  Some examples are the working relationships that were established with EPA through the Southern Region Directors and the establishment of the Risk Management Centers.

Further discussion was problems with the lack of leadership with things like the Pesticide Safety Education money from EPA.

Dan suggested that we take this information to the Directors in the form of a proposal to justify the need for liaisons along with some ideas for progress.

Ron Brown conveyed that the idea of National Program Leaders come from within Extension via work on e-extension.  Perhaps we can provide subject matter expertise from each model such as horse, sustainable agriculture and horticulture.

Tim Cross suggested a trial run of this idea through ECOP Liaison Team with Risk Management and e-extension.  Tim and Roger will draft information.  They will share it with other Program Leader committees and communicate it to the Extension Directors in February

Carrie Castille presented on the Master Farmer Program being conducted in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  This is a voluntary program for farmers addressing environmental concerns and regulations.  It is implemented on the watershed basis and contains classroom lecture, model farm workshops and field days and the development of a conservation plan for the farmer.  This type of program may be modeled across the region.

There was some agreement.

August 26, 2003

Review and Update of Plan of Work

  1. CECP Taxonomies (Draft Completed / Final Due Date - March 15, 2004)

  2. Multi-State Programming and Specialist Sharing (continuing)

  3. SARE Curriculum Proposal (completion date – December 2004)

  4. Southern Region SARE Liaison (done – completed June 29, 2003)

Other possible items include an EPA liaison person for region six. 

Another is the national program leader

The concern over money from RREA being distributed to the 1890 Universities was addressed.  In some state the money has not been divided.  Dr. Smith will address the issue with the directors and administrators concerning the issue.

A discussion of time of specialists being used to developed e-extension projects was addressed.  Concerns were voiced about the impact of using state specialist for virtual teams to develop and review materials.  Dan feels that initial material will come from information that is already in existence.  Also, material currently being developed for states can and will be adapted to fit the system.

Review of ANR Committee progress and new assignments meeting dates, locations and chairs were updated.

Joint Meeting with CRD committee

Bill Cooke gave a presentation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – there is a possibility of a regional GIS training and certification conference.  This could be jointly sponsored.

Bo Beaulieu provided information about and encouraged participation in the Sustainable Community Innovations grant process.  Proposals are due September 5, 2003.

Ed Jones provided information on the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).

There was some discussion concerning multiple organizations (NACAA, ANREP and etc.) in which agents are a part of and participate in. 

Issues were raised concerning the Galaxy Conference and participation from the ANR agents.  The NACAA has decided not to participate in the Galaxy Conference.  Dan stated that the directors have no authority to dictate what to the agents association what to do.  However, they will be discussing it during the directors meeting and welcome input into the situation.  There was expression throughout the group that there be a serious discussion on behalf of all parties to discuss pro’s and con’s of the conference.  It was suggested that directors and program leaders should encourage representation at the conference.

Ed Jones provided an update on the effort to fill a NPL position in the area of Fisheries and Wildlife.  Jim Parker at Virginia Tech was chairing the effort to fill this position via an IPA.  Ed will forward the correspondence to the Southern Region Program Leaders.

Joan spoke of a meeting with the other regions and the CSREES in Washington, D.C. in a national conference.  Mike suggested that it not be just a meeting with CSREES but open it up to other federal agencies such as EPA and others.  Roger and Nelson will get with the leadership of the north-central leaders for further discussion.

Committee Nominations for 2004

Chair - Nelson Daniels

Vice Chair - Jimmy Henning

Secretary – Marion Simon

CECP Committee – Joan Dusky

Leadership Committee Representative - Louie Rivers

Agroforestry Committee Chair - Tim Cross

Joan Dusky discussed the results of the sub-committee for CECP domains were discussed and assignments made. 

Quarterly meeting were discussed.  They will be set for November 2003, February 2004 & May 2004.

PLC Action Items

Action Items for Directors

State Reports – presented by committee members

August 27, 2003
  1. Introductions

  2. Introduce Jon Ort for comments
    Wants to learn from the group:
    1. Ag transitioning from commodity to product ag
    2. Integrated and multistate activities
    3. Partnerships will be very important-how at the state levels we are working with other federal level partners.  Need to figure ways to more effectively work with other federal partners.  Encourage leadership locally, state and federal for extension to be involved in encouraging these partnerships.
    4. Understand impact of ANR program leadership and what it contributes to the system—look at it as an element of professional development.
  1. Ralph Otto (CSREES)
    1. Budget:  closing out FY03; ability to commit funds ended August 8.
    2. Getting ready for FY04 and developing budget for FY05
    3. FY04 budget won’t be down any; not major increase in budget will make it difficult for many states
    4. FY03:  Homeland security and diagnostic network.  In FY04 asking for $16 mil for diagnostic network.  House had done its work, but Senate has not.
    5. Sometime after Labor Day, may see the budget move to completion, but may not have a signed budget by Oct. 1.
    6. FY05:  emphasis: nutrition and obesity; genomics; homeland security (EDEN funding; training thru extension; $.5 mil in FY04 for diagnostics training initiatives through extension.  Does not look like we are under federal pressure to reduce programs.

Q:  How does budget situation relate to NPL positions?  Not under a hiring freeze.  Looking for increasing numbers of IPAs for this purpose to target NPL gaps.

  1. Personnel:

    Ted Wilson is retired to Florida.  Trying to backfill the competitive grants position has been difficult because of multi-level clearances required.  Same issue exists with families, 4H and nutrition position; may fill this fall.  For competitive grants, had 65 applicants; review board sent 8 to be interviewed; won’t see replacement until after January.

  2. Recent hires:
    Dr. Bob Smith—animal diagnostics

    Dr. Kitty Cardwell—plant diagnostics

    Dr. Quereshi—animal health and genome

    Jim Green in horticulture

    Nancy Lewis- food safety

    Bruce Menzel—fish and wildlife

    Vacancy—food safety microbiologist
  3. Penalty mail:  August 4 memo:  effective Oct. 1, federal penalty mail funds will end.  Allocation will be made on basis of statutory formula for b and c funds.  Some of larger states will see their May allocation reduced.  Ralph asking that this memo be sent to broader distribution and put on the USDA website.

  4. PSEP:  discretionary funding used to cover a budget shortfall.  Used a couple million dollars for this purpose, which was about equal to PSEP dollars.  States had not billed for about $3 million, so concluded there was enough money to gloat the program.  The billing is a lot more current now.  We are not able to resurrect to get FY04 money.  The have $700,000 from other sources to provide in 04 (39% of previous allocation).  Going to ask for PSEP program and accounting review.  Going to ask EPA to execute an agreement early in the FY.  Concerned about keeping a coordinated program thru USDA.  Indirect costs will apply in many cases if don’t flow the money thru CSREES.  Also looked at going back to prior years and pick up unspent funds, unobligate those dollars and use them, but can’t make that work, plus it’s not a lot of money.

  5. On NPLs, need to have state extension people apply for positions; many applicants come from research background.  Philosophy of CSREES and USDA is that competitive programs is the way to go, thus NPL positions are reflecting that.  But need strong extension element injected into roles of NPL positions.

  6. 2501 funds transferred from NRCS to USDA.  Concerns raised about continuity of the funds.  One reason is funds had been encumbered for future years so that subsequent years funds were tied up.  RO thinks funds for FY04 are freed up and open for allocation, but not sure.

    Ralph Otto:  202.401.5877

  7. Jim Horne, Kerr Center report on SARE PDP coordination introduced himself and gave overview of Kerr Center programs and relation to extension and SR SARE.  Kerr Center submitted proposal for coordination, including advisory input from 1890s, 1862s, NGOs, farmers and SARE.  Want to expand audience to other federal and state sustainability partners.   Ecological, food system, social considerations, equity, fairness and QOL issues.  Want to connect with CH1 projects to help ensure profitability.  Purpose of PDP is to train ag professionals.

    Want to blend farmer and researcher experiences to help farmers be ecological sound and profitable.  Want to engage state coordinators in ways different from the past.  Want to make additional funds available to help state coordinators implement whole farm oriented concept in PDP—more intense application of the funds.  Want to increase number and quality of proposals, emphasizing partnerships with other agencies and groups.

  8. Role of state coordinators:  would like to see more active role in building state program in SA, shaping a more competitive grant program among state coordinators.  Will include 1890 and 1862 professionals and state coordinators in designing the ultimate PDP structure.

    AC asked Horne to identify 1890 and 1862 partners to be a part of the coordinating process.