Chairman Clint Depew opened the meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 26 with a review of the agenda and a request for items that needed to be added to the agenda. He welcomed new members of the ANR Leaders' group and had everyone introduce themself.
Bill Harris made a motion seconded by Curtis Absher that the minutes from the last meeting be approved as presented. The motion was voted on and passed.
Dr. David Foster, Advisor, indicated that the next meeting of the Southern Region Extension Directors will be held in Tulsa in April. At that meeting, discussion will be held on the feasibility of hiring a Regional Extension Director. The outcome of that discussion should be known by the next PLC meeting.
Ag Policy and Our Role
Dr. Ron Knutson, Texas A&M Ag Policy Center, made a presentation on agricultural policy and the role states play in policy development. His presentation centered on the two areas of 1) economic situation and outlook; and 2) policy situation and outlook.
Regional Web Page Committee and Master Naturalist Program
Michael Ouart gave an update on the regional PLC web site that had been developed (http://www.ext.msstate.edu/srdc/). He indicated that each state should check and verify the contact information listed for their state. Changes should be forwarded to Bonnie Teater. In addition, each state should send Bonnie Teater the web site address for their programs in agriculture and natural resources.
Michael also indicated that the regional Master Naturalist Task Force had met recently and that things were progressing well.
401 & 406 Grant Update
Dennis Kopp, CREES, indicated that the RFP for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (401) would be coming out soon. The deadline for proposals would most likely be extended past the original date of May 8. Unfortunately, there was a chance that Congress might eliminate the funding for the program through a supplemental budget bill currently under consideration. Dennis encouraged preparation of proposals on a multi-state and multi-disciplinary basis.
The integrated competitive grants (406) RFP should be coming out in late March with a 60-day time period for submission. All four-year accredited colleges are eligible to submit proposals to the integrated competitive grants programs. New integrated grants activities that will become available in 2001 include 1) Youth farm safety education and certification; and 2) Pesticide applicator training.
Mike French indicated that the regional pesticide impact assessment program committee would like to prepare a proposal to be submitted for the region for pesticide impact assessment. Joe Schaefer made a motion seconded by Mac Horton that such a proposal be prepared. It was voted on and passed.
Bill Hubbard distributed his report as regional forester. He indicated that there had been 1400 participants at 62 satellite sites for the Master Tree Farmer program with over 29,000 contact hours.
It was pointed out that it was important that ANR program leaders visit with their Extension Directors to let them know the benefits of the regional forester program.
The following recommendations were made for Bill Harris to carry forward to the PLC.
Carry forward the recommendation that a regional master naturalist program be established.
Bill Harris made a motion that was seconded by Joe Schaefer that the Southern Region Water Quality Committee conduct a water quality workshop in 2001. It was voted on and passed.
With no further business the meeting was adjourned.
Steven H. Umberger