Board News

NEW BOARD NEWS

 

Bi-Annual BANR Meeting

Due to a lack of core dollars for support, BANR did not hold an in-person meeting this Spring.  The Board members have continued to be active on an ad hoc basis to assist BANR staff.  Planning is underway for a virtual meeting this fall, and an in-person meeting in winter.

 

BANR operates on all “soft” money, so there is a need for sponsorship of every element of the Board’s work.  Board meetings are where potential studies and other new activities are proposed and explored, so partners interested in the diversity of issues related to agriculture, food, and natural resources are being sought.

 

Scoping Meeting on Resistance Management and Weed Summit II: September 10 and 11, 2014

BANR will host the second national Summit on Herbicide-Resistance at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, DC on September 10, 2014. A scoping meeting to explore the problem of resistance management more generally will be held the following day.  The first national “Weed Summit” was held in 2012. A Proceedings of the 2012 Summit can be found HERE.  For more information on the second Summit and the Scoping Meeting, contact Kara Laney at Klaney@nas.edu.

 

New Study and Call for Nominations:  Evaluation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs)

BANR and a sister Board--the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate—are pleased to announce a new study to examine the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC). This study will evaluate the purpose, goals, and scientific merits of the program within the context of similar programs, and whether the LCC program has resulted in measurable improvements and progress toward its stated goals. Nominees to serve on the study committee are being sought immediately.

 

Nominees: We are looking for nominees with a broad range of relevant expertise including conservation biology, ecology, wildlife management and conservation, habitat restoration, program management and evaluation, natural and cultural resource management, engineering, and developing decision-support tools. Efforts will be made to balance the committee with representation from academia and private, non-profit sector as well as with experience in state, tribal, and federal governments.  Send nominees (name, affiliation, and a brief statement of the individuals relevant expertise) to Jenna Briscoe at jbriscoe@nas.edu.  Please provide nominees no later than JULY 31.

 

The statement of task for the study is as follows:

 

The National Academy of Sciences will convene an ad hoc committee to examine the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC). This committee will evaluate the purpose, goals, and scientific merits of the program within the context of similar programs, and whether the LCC program has resulted in measurable improvements in the health of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. This will include:

 

  • An evaluation of the scientific merit of the LCC program and its goals.
  • A comparison of the stated purpose and goals of the LCC with other similar programs. How are these programs similar, and how do they differ? Is there substantial overlap in their mission and purpose?   If so, is there rationale for and benefit from this overlap? Is there sufficient coordination with these related programs?
  • A comparison of the types of projects supported by LCC and related programs.
    • Do the projects supported by the LCC program overlap significantly with the traditional portfolio of other FWS programs?   If so, is there rationale for and benefit from this overlap?  Is there sufficient coordination with these related programs?  What benefit, if any, is gained by moving and/or consolidating this work within the LCC program?  What effectiveness or efficiency is lost, if any, by housing this work within the LCC program?
    • Do the projects supported by the LCC program overlap significantly with the portfolio of related programs in other agencies? If so, is there rationale for and benefit from this overlap?  Is there sufficient coordination with these related programs?
    • An examination of the evaluation process for the LCC program. What is FWS’s strategy to assess the effectiveness of the LCC program? What are reasonable short, medium, and long-term metrics for the effectiveness of the LCC program in achieving its stated purpose and goals?
    • An assessment of the impacts of the LCC program. What goals have been achieved? What improvements in managing habitat and fish and wildlife species might be reasonable to expect from the LCC program in the timeframe it has existed?  What longer-term impacts are likely to be realized?

 

NEW STUDY COMMITTEES


Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects

Members of a new study committee were recently appointed by the President of the National Academy of Science (NAS). The committee will conduct a broad examination of genetically-engineered (GE) crops and food, building on and updating past NRC reports on environmental, public health and other issues.  The first public meeting will be held on September 15-16, 2014 in Washington, DC. The list of committee members and a sign-up for study announcements can be found HERE

 

Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, 8th edition

The NRC Chairman has appointed the members of the committee to prepare an update to the 2001 report on the Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle.  The committee will hold its first public meeting in Washington, DC in late September or early October where researchers, nutritionists, and other stakeholders can present topics that should be addressed in the new report.  The meeting date will be announced to newsletter subscribers. The membership of the committee and more information on the study can be found HERE.  

 

STUDY UPDATES (07/2014)

Review of the AFRI Program

The committee examining the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the competitive research grants program administered by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is making final edits to its report on the program in response to  comments received through the Academy’s anonymous report review process.  Assuming the Academy leadership approves the committee’s changes, the report will be ready for release in early September.

 

When the release date is finalized, an announcement will be sent out to BANR newsletter subscribers with more information.  The public release briefing will be conducted as a webinar, so interested parties will be able to see the briefing from their desktop computers.  More information about the study and committee membership can be found HERE.

 

A Framework for Assessing the Health, Environmental and Social Effects of the Food System

The “framework” study committee, which is jointly overseen by the Academy’s Institute of Medicine along with BANR, held its final meeting last month in Woods Hole, MA.  The committee is aiming to get its report into review in September so that the report might be released by the end of 2014. 

 

The study task is to develop a systematic approach for comparing the health, environmental, and social effects of different configurations of the food system (defined as activities, practices, or other aspects of concern within or across the food system).  The membership of the study committee can be found HERE.

 

Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, 8th edition

As of July 1, 2013, the committee preparing an update to the NRC Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle has completed all of its meetings and is preparing the report to go into review by mid-August.  Because the document is lengthy and also includes a computer model of beef cattle nutrition, the review and revision process is likely to take several months. Information on the membership of the committee can be found HERE.

 

 

PREVIOUS UPDATES (12/2013)

 

AFRI Program

The NRC committee that is reviewing the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the competitive research grants program administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, held its final meeting in October, 2013.
The committee is now preparing its penultimate draft of the report, which will be sent out in late December to a team of anonymous peer reviewers.  The committee must revise its report in response to the reviewers’ critique, a process overseen by the Report Review Committee of the National Academy of Sciences.  The report on the AFRI program is expected to be released by the summer of 2014.   More information about the study, which was requested by USDA, can be found HERE.


Framework for Assessing the Food System

The goal of this study, which is being led by the Academy’s Institute of Medicine in partnership with BANR, is to develop a systematic approach for comparing the health, environmental, and social effects of different configurations of the food system (defined as activities, practices, or other aspects of concern within or across the food system). In September, the committee held a public 2-day workshop in Washington, DC on Mapping the Food System and its Effects.  View the agenda HERE.

 

Committee on the Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle


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From right to left: Top: Andy Cole, Clint Krehbiel, Ron Lemenager, Galen Erickson
Seated: Joel Caton, Karen Beachemin, Michael Gaylean, Joan Eisemann, Luis Tedeshi
Not Pictured: Terry Engle

 

Committee to Review the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

In open sessions, the committee heard about the origins of AFRI, the current operations of AFRI, the broader picture of competitive grant programs in agricultural research, and other topics.  Individuals who spoke before the committee included USDA officials, grantees, and others:

 

Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, USDA/NIFA
Ed Knipling, Administrator, USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Sharlene Weatherwax, Associate Director for Science and Biological Environmental Research, Department of Energy
Ian Maw, Vice President of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
Anthony Pescatore, Board President, Federation of Animal Science Societies
Jeffrey Volenec, President, Crop Society of America
Hon. Catherine Woteki, USDA, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Extension
William H. Danforth, II, Chancellor Emeritus, Washington University, St. Louis
Mark Mirando, National Program Leader, USDA/NIFA
Ann Lichens-Park, National Program Leader, USDA/NIFA
Conner Bailey, Professor of Rural Sociology, Auburn University
Holly Neibergs, Professor of Genetics, Washington University
Li-Jun Ma, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts
Lee-Ann Jaykus, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in Food Science, North Carolina State University
Barbara Schaal, Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor, Washington State University
Jeffrey D. Armstrong, President, California Polytechnic University
Roger Beachy, Professor, Washington State University
Scott Loveridge, Professor of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
Peggy Lemaux, President, American Society of Plant Biology
Will Fisher, President of Science and Policy Initiatives, Institute for Food Technologists
Kei Koizumi, Assistant Director, Federal Research and Development, Office of Science Technology Policy
Noah Engelberg, Progam Examiner, Office of Management and Budget

 

 

(Click picture for more information)

From left to right: Top: Bert Garza, Gene Hugoson, Jim Carrington, Steve Buccola, Keith Belli, Jim Zuiches, Ronnie Green, Phil Pardey
Seated: Peter Bruns, Machi Dilworth, Vic Lectenberg (chair), Steve Balling, Rosemary Haggett, Bennie Osburn
Not pictured: Sally Rockey, Juliana Ruzante

 

PREVIOUS BOARD MEETING NEWS (12/2013)


The National Research Council (NRC)’s Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) met in Washington, DC on November 14-15, 2013. The Board explored emerging issues in animal nutrition; revitalizing research universities; crop models, and the PCAST report on Agricultural Preparedness, among other topics.  Joan Guilfoyle, Chief of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro (WH&B) Division, visited with BANR members to describe the agency’s reaction to the recently issued NRC report on using science to improve the WH&B program.


US Forest Service Climate Adviser David Cleaves and Al Sample, President of the Pinchot Institute, talked to BANR about the critical needs for forest management in the face of climate change; World Wildlife Fund’s Jason Clay provided a briefing on the role of aquaculture in a sustainable global food system; Michael  Wolosin from Climate Advisers pitched a possible NRC study on the relationship of U.S. consumption and tropical deforestation; and, Iowa State University’s Micheal Owen discussed efforts underway to address herbicide-resistant weeds.  In the coming weeks, the Board members will develop follow up plans to pursue some of these topics in greater depth. Contact Robin Schoen for more information.

 

The fall meeting of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) was held at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, CA on October 15-16, 2012.  Board member A.G. Kawamura treated BANR to a local tour. First on the agenda was a High Temperature Fuel Cell Tri-Generation project at the Orange County Sanitation District, featuring a large wastewater digester unit, a high-temperature electric-producing hydrogen fuel cell, and a public filling station for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles (Irvine, CA is hot bed for test vehicles). Thanks to Dr. Scott Samuelson of the UC, Irvine for being a guide for the group. 

 

The next stop was the Orange County Great Park, a 1,300 parcel of land that once housed El Toro, a Marine Corps Air Station.  The land is gradually being transformed into a large, multi-use, urban park featuring a giant hot-air balloon, athletic fields, and other amenities.  BANR visited the park’s Farm and Food Lab, where school children and the public can learn about the science and practical experience of growing one’s own food.  Among the assortment of themed demonstration plots are several learning stations, including one featuring a solar powered aquaculture-aquaponics unit.  The Farm and Food Lab is maintained by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.

 

Finally, the Board viewed the 200 acres of park dedicated to urban agriculture, where beans and other vegetables, organic strawberries, and native plants are being grown on the transformed former runways of the Air Station under the stewardship of Orange County Produce.  

 

A Very Special Thanks to A.G. Kawamura for arranging the tour in Irvine, and to Tom Larson for being our host at the Farm and Food Lab.

 

 

From left to right:  Roger Sedjo, Harold Bergman, Vic Lechtenberg, Kirk Klasing, Peggy Barlett, Norman Scott, A.G. Kawamura, Peggy Tsai, Hal Salwasser, Joan Eisemann, Rick Dixon, Karen Imhof, Robb Johnson, Robin Schoen, Kathy Segerson, Mercedes Vazquez-Anon, Gene Hugoson, Chuck Rice, and our host at the Food and Farm Lab, Tom Larson.