NCAC14: Plant Pathology

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

Date of Annual Report: 03/15/2004

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 01/10/2003 - 01/12/2003
Period the Report Covers: 01/01/2003 - 01/01/2004


Brief Summary of Minutes

See attached file for NCAC14's 2003 meeting minutes.



Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 09/15/2016

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 01/10/2004 - 01/12/2004
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2002 - 09/30/2003


Brief Summary of Minutes

See attached file for 2004 meeting minutes.



Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 03/09/2005

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 01/13/2005 - 01/15/2005
Period the Report Covers: 01/01/2004 - 01/01/2005


See minutes from 2005 meeting.

Brief Summary of Minutes

(See attachment.) The primary business conducted was a review of the regional research projects assigned to NCAC-14, as well as discussion of items of common interest to the members. Tours of USDA-APHIS and NC Stae University facilitiesd were conducted.


See minutes from 2005 meeting.


Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 08/31/2006

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/04/2006 - 02/05/2006
Period the Report Covers: 01/01/2005 - 12/01/2006


Anne Vidaver (NE), Dale Gallenberg (SD), Murray Clayton (WI), Carol Ishimaru (MN), Jim Stack. (KS), Jack Rasmussen (ND), Ray Hammerschmidt (MI), Randy Rowe (OH), Thomas Baum (IA), Robert Hoeft (IL), Jim English (MO) and Ray Martyn (IN) Administrative Advisor Steve Slack (OH), and CSREES Representative Kitty Cardwell (DC).

Brief Summary of Minutes

The committee met first with SCAC 11 to discuss issues of mutual concern. NCAC 14 members then met to review projects, present state reports and receive updates. See minutes


We provide reviews of multistate projects, also discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, and provide updates of department activities across the region. This allows the committee to have a good understanding of plant pathology issues across the NC region and promotes cooperation. More details in minutes.



Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 04/23/2007

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 01/11/2007 - 01/12/2007
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2006 - 09/01/2007


Ray Hammerschmidt (MI), Thomas Baum (IA), Jack Rasmussen (ND), Larry Madden (OH), Peter Goldsbrough (IN), Anne Vidaver (NE), Murray Clayton (WI), Robert Hoeft (IL), and Jim English (MO), Administrative Advisor Steve Slack (OH), and Kitty Cardwell (DC), of the USDA/CSREES. South Dakota, Kansas, and Minnesota were not represented.

Brief Summary of Minutes

Members introduced themselves. New members, Larry Madden, the interim head at Ohio State, and Peter Goldsbrough, the new head at Purdue, were welcomed to the group. Anne Vidaver represented Jim Steadman, the new head at Nebraska, who was unable to attend because of another meeting.

The agenda was reviewed. Goldsbrough moved and Hoeft seconded motion to approve agenda. Motion carried.

Minutes from the 2006 meeting were reviewed. Clayton moved and Hoeft seconded acceptance of minutes. Motion carried.

A subcommittee comprised of Rasmussen, Hoeft, and English was formed to select a site for the 2008 meeting.

A subcommittee comprised of Clayton, Baum, and Goldsbrough was formed to select a secretary for the 2008 meeting. This person would then serve as committee chair in 2009.

Administrative Adviser Slack asked that reports from the NCAC 14 committee be submitted by the end of February as to be available to the NC Directors Multistate Committee at their meeting in March. Slack also led a discussion on federal funding agricultural research, the presidents proposed budget, and the impending farm bill. The discussion, punctuated by questions and answers, was centered around CREATE 21 and the legislative mood in Washington, D.C.

Some key points of the discussion were:

1. Congress has rejected the presidents most recent budget proposals for changes in federal base funding of agricultural research.

2. A group appointed last spring with representation of CSREES and Experiment Stations to discuss the topic of federal funding and possible competitive grant programs for agricultural research. Enhanced communication on how programs operate at both the state and federal level was one outcome.

3. The NSF and NIH each have a single voice speaking to congress for their respective budgets. By comparison, agriculture has multiple voices. This sometimes results in a message that appears to lack focus. CREATE 21 may provide for a single voice for agricultural interests.

4. CREATE 21 currently is being put into legislative language and may become part of the new Farm Bill. If CREATE 21 goes through it is hoped that effective communication of priorities and impacts will lead to enhanced investment in programs.

5. Two factors are pushing CREATE 21. First, there is a need for new money for agricultural research. Budgets have been flat for two decades. Second, the current model for how the system operates has been questioned which CREATE 21 addresses.

6. There is constant pressure to do things differently. There is a sense that the manner in how we do business will change in the future. There are two key questions. First, what will this change look like in the end? Second, do we want to be dictated to or would we prefer to help direct the change?

7. National interest in alternative energy suggests new opportunities including more interaction of agricultural faculty with agencies such as the Department of Energy, with engineering departments and interests, and so forth.

Kitty Cardwell, USDA/CSREES National Program Leader for Plant Pathology, informed the group that Marty Draper, formerly of South Dakota State University, has joined CSREES, also as a National Program Leader for Plant Pathology. She then discussed federal funding for CREES. The next federal budget may have significant implications for special research grants, which account for approximately 15% of the CSREES budget. Potential changes in federal crop insurance may come to link good farming practices to crop insurance for producers in the near future. If this happens, CREES may expand their activities in information exchange models and platforms. The Soybean Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (Soybean PIPE) is one example of this kind of platform. Chairs, heads, and Experiment Station directors need to think about how this may affect their units. At the same time, the PIPE systems need to find a way to become self-supporting, perhaps through end-user fees, in the next decade or so.

Kitty Cardwell and Ray Hammerschmidt announced that the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) was approaching its five year anniversary and that diagnosticians from around the country would be attending the NPDN annual meeting later this winter in Orlando, Florida. Hammerschmidt indicated that the NPDN and the associated meeting grew from the fact that many diagnosticians are unable to attend annual APS meetings. Cardwell said that the NPDN is moving toward adoption of International Standard Operation (ISO) procedures. This may affect laboratory accreditation for detection or diagnosis of specific diseases. There was consensus among the committee that the NPDN is very useful that has elevated the status and capabilities of diagnostic clinics in the North Central region. Additional discussion by the committee revealed that most departments in the NC region have a diagnostic course available to graduate students.

Cardwell updated the committee on the Plant Biosecurity Grant Program. This program entertains proposals that focus on detection, diagnosis, mitigation, and control of and recovery from bioterrorism events. She also gave an update on the National Research Initiative, including activities in genomics.

After a break for lunch, Hammerschmidt called the afternoon session to order at 1:32 p.m.

The subcommittee of Clayton, Baum, and Goldsbrough nominated Robert Hoeft to become committee secretary in 2008, then committee chair in 2009. Anne Vidaver moved and Thomas Baum seconded the motion that this recommendation be enacted. The motion carried, but one abstention (Hoeft) was duly noted.

The group then reviewed regional projects (SEE ATTACHMENT UNDER MINUTES FOR REGIONAL PROJECTS).

Before breaking for dinner, the committee had an informal and impromptu discussion about the future education of plant pathology graduate students. The underlying question that seemed to drive the discussion was, Is the broadly-trained plant pathologist a dying breed? Among other points, it was noted that 1) industry, government, and extension in particular are have trouble finding broadly-trained plant pathologists, and 2) graduate-level courses that have a laboratory component seem to be disappearing.

The group then proceeded to individual state reports. Some highlights, mostly pertaining to personnel changes, are outlined below:

Goldsbrough reported that Dr. Huber retired from Purdue last year. His fine institution will host the North Central APS meetings in 2008. English reported three new hires in his unit at Missouri, but none is a pathologist. Missouri will be searching for a new Division Leader. Baum reported two new hires at Iowa State (Drs. Gary Munkvold and Leonor Leandro). Rasmussen reported that NDSU is searching for three new faculty members. One will replace Dr. Stack who retired in 2006. Another will replace Carl Bradley who left NDSU for a position at Illinois. Hoeft confirmed the hire of Carl Bradley. Hoeft also hired a bacteriologist, but apparently he did not have to raid another North Central faculty to do so! Illinois also filled faculty positions not related to plant pathology. Dr. White retired and another individual announced his intentions to do so. Hammerschmidt stated the need for everybody associated with NCAC 14 needs to purchase at least one new car from either GM, Ford, or Chrysler within the next year. Clayton reported that Wisconsin lost one faculty member, but they hope to replace that individual soon. They also were searching for an extension pathologist. Madden reported that Ohio State hopes to hire a permanent head within the year. Ohio State lost Drs. Curtis, Rowe, and Gingery to retirement, Drs. Kamoun and Lindbo to other opportunities, and the national championship in football to Florida. Dr. Pierce Paul is a new faculty hire. Vidaver reported that Jim Steadman is the department head. Nebraska lost a USDA virologist, but hope to get the position refilled soon.

Ray Martyn, former Head at Purdue and current President of APS, joined the meeting mid-morning. He reported that there will be several noticeable changes at the APS meetings this year. Included in these changes will be how alumni socials are run. He also gave an update on the Centennial meetings for APS scheduled for 2008 in St. Paul, MN.

Rasmussen reported that the site selection committee had identified Dallas, TX, as the site for the next meeting. The meeting will be held in conjunction with annual meetings of Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) on February 2-3, 2008, with travel days on February 1 and 4. The meeting will be held at the Adam Mark Hotel and the adjoining convention center in downtown Dallas. Rasmussen noted SAAS has a website for the meetings ( and that it currently is possible to secure hotel bookings. Plant pathology chairs and heads from other regions will be invited to discuss issues related to the future of our discipline.

The committee broke for lunch, then reconvened in the afternoon for a tour of the Sandia National Laboratories previously organized by Hammerschmidt.


We reviewed regional research projects assigned to individual committee members, presented state reports, and discussed issues of mutual concern and interest. We toured the Sandia National Laboratory to gain an understanding of research and services provided by that facility.



Impact Statements

  1. Oversight of regional research projects was provided.
  2. Relationships between departments and various chairs and heads in the North Central Region were improved.
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Date of Annual Report: 03/10/2008

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/02/2008 - 02/03/2008
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2007 - 09/01/2008


Sue Blodgett (SD), Murry Clayton (WI), Jim English (MO) Peter Goldsbrough (IN), Ray Hammerschmidt (MI), Bob Hoeft (IL), Carol Ishimaru (MN), John Leslie (KS), Jack Rasmussen (ND), Jim Steadman (NE), Administrative Advisor Steve Slack (OH), and Kitty Cardwell (DC) USDA/DSREES.

Absent: Iowa, Ohio

Brief Summary of Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 am by Chair Rasmussen. Following self introductions, the agenda was approved as submitted. The minutes were reviewed. Motion to approve minutes was made by Clayton and seconded by Goldsbrough and passed unanimously.

A subcommittee of Hammerschmidt, Blodgett, and Rasmussen were approved as the nominating committee. Another subcommittee of Hoeft and Steadman were approved as the site selection committee for the 2009 meeting.

Administrative Advisor Slack report:

1. He commended the group for holding a joint meeting with counterparts in other regions the prior day. Most of those in attendance at the meeting on Feb 2, were from NC and SE regions.

2. Reminded the group that all renewals and requests for new projects must be submitted by late Feb.

3. Reported that Chris Hamilton is new Exec. Secr. of administrative office of NCRA/NIMSS.

4. Reported that Federal Budget will be released on Feb 5. Anticipating that Exp. Sta. will need to be proactive in keeping HATCH budget as there is continued pressure to convert to more competitive grants. Farm bill is in conference between Senate and House. New bill contains language on structure of CSREES- may be name change to NIFA. Specialty crops have been highlighted for funding, but this is not new money, but rather money will be taken from current budget. Specialty crops funds will most likely be allocated in a competitive grants program.

CSREES Representative Cardwell report:

1. National coordinating group establishing criteria for Clean Plant Network. Initial intent of the program was to establish location where materials could be sent to clean it from viruses and/or facility that would maintain disease free root or bud stock tissue.

2. Biofuels- competitive grants program for 50 million for ten years.

3. Shared brochures that highlighted several of the funding programs including NRI, IPM , Renewal Energy and Biobased Products.

4. Encouraged the group to stress the importance of having a strong section on the extension program that will be developed for the proposal. Must show that a program will be delivered and that there will be a follow up survey to determine the success of the program.

5. Plant biosecurity NRI has been reopened.

National Plant Diagnostic Network - Ray Hammerschmidt indicated that this program was renewed for an additional 5 years. Suggestions from the review included:

1. Increase diagnostic training for CCAs.

2. Improve communication with other interest groups- industry, government, etc.

3. Enhance efforts in entomology and weed science

4. Now developing an accreditation process for laboratories involved in NPDN. Discussion that followed indicated a concern about lack of trained diagnosticians available in the work place. Suggestion was made to invite someone to attend next year's session to describe the problem and offer a potential solution to overcome the problem.

A survey of the profile of individual departments was conducted. Data were compiled and shared on faculty number, salaries, starting salaries, student numbers, graduate stipends, post doc stipends, budget distribution between research, teaching, and extension.

Dr. Clayton was nominated for the position of incoming Secretary, to serve as Chair in 2010. He was unanimously elected to the position.

The site selection committee recommended that the 2009 meetings be held in Ponce Puerto Rico in late January or early February. Meeting at this location will allow individuals to view the winter nursery program of a commercial operation as well as that run by the Illinois Crop Improvement Association. In addition, those that wish can travel to Mayaguez to visit the University and begin recruiting.

Discussion was held on the future of meeting with other regions. Options being considered for 2010 include:

1. Cease and desist

2. Limit it to southern and NC

3. Hold national and consider going to DC

4. Hold it in conjunction with APS

Carol will Chair APS Dept. Head breakfast in 2008 and will discuss the possibility of a national meeting of Heads.

A total of 12 projects were reviewed. One termination, two midterm reviews, and the rest were informational reviews.

State reports:

Nebraska: 17 faculty. Changing name of department to Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Will have new position in fungal genomics. Initiating Dr. of Plant Health and Biosecurity curriculum.

Michigan State: 14 tenure track faculty. 2 new positions in last year.

Minnesota: 26 faculty, including 6 adjunct faculty from six different units. One new faculty fungal biologist- hired in past year. Total of 25 graduate students, with 18 of them being domestic. Biocontainment level 2 greenhouse recently completed and level 3 facility due for completion in winter of 2008.

Missouri: 9 tenure track faculty. 14 graduate students, 4 of which are domestic.

Indiana: 26 tenure track faculty, of which 14 consider themselves plant pathology.1 retirement in 2007 (Huber). 28 graduate students (45% international).

Iowa: 17 faculty. 36 graduate students, half of which are majoring in plant pathology. One new hire in 2007 in plant-associated microbial ecology.

North Dakota: 14 tenure track faculty. 3 new hires in 2007- fusarium head blight and fungal biology, dry bean/pulse crop diseases and fungal biology, row crop extension. 23 graduate students- majority international.

Wisconsin: 17 faculty. 1 retirement and 1 new hire in 2007. 44 graduate students.

Illinois: 31 faculty of which 9 are plant pathologists. 66 graduate students. Initiated surcharge tuition of $1000 per student in last academic year. Initiated plant breeding center with funding of 1.3 million from industry and 80% salary of the director from the Provost office.

Kansas: 20 state faculty- hired 7 faculty by end of this month over 3 year period. 3.5% merit increase last year. Deferred maintenance has accumulated to level of 750 million. Adding undergraduate minor in bioinformatics and genomics.

South Dakota: 33 tenure track faculty. 36 graduate students with approximately 50% international. A seed technology building is in the planning process.


Regional projects were reviewed and actions taken on those at mid term as well as one that will be terminated. Discussed issues of mutual concern and interest.


Impact Statements

  1. Oversight of regional research projects was provided.
  2. Relationships between departments and chairs and heads in the North Central Region were improved.
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Date of Annual Report: 03/27/2009

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/03/2009 - 02/05/2009
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2008 - 09/01/2009


Thomas Baum (IA), Mike Boehm (OH), Murray Clayton (WI), Bob Hoeft (IL), Carol Ishimaru (MN), John Leslie (KS), Jack Rasmussen (ND), Jim Steadman (NE), and Kitty Cardwell (DC) USDA/CSREES. Absent: MO, SD, IN, MI.

Brief Summary of Minutes

1. Meeting called to order by Hoeft at 6:30 pm.

2. Administrative Advisor Slack joined the meeting at 6:40 by speaker phone. Ideally final reports will be submitted by February 15  these should be sent to Hoeft who will forward them to Slacks office for official submission to be completed by March. Impact statements are becoming more important and thus reviews should comment on the quality of project impact statements. Currently the federal budget is still operating under a continuing resolution. President Obama hopes to have a budget passed within the current year. Budget proposals have 3-5% increases in them for federal programs and thus passage would be of benefit to our stakeholders. Meanwhile, the proposed stimulus package also includes increases to large fed grant programs like NIH, NSF, etc. Of three grant proposals that came out of the Farm Bill, there will be RFAs for these again. The RFA for the SCRI is out now; funding is at $47M and a 100% cost share is expected. In addition, $25M are allocated to a biomass research and development initiative, and a final RFA will be forthcoming on an organic agriculture and extension initiative with $17.3M allocated. (Cardwell noted that a total of 60 awards are expected for the SCRI, some up to $1M. Given the magnitude of the process, it will be difficult to identify review panels that do not create conflicts of interest.) Slack signed off at 6:52.

3. Hoeft called for approval of the agenda: Clayton proposed discussing location of the next meeting during Wednesday or Thursday morning sessions. No other additions were made to the agenda.

4. Rasmussen moved approval of the minutes of the previous years meeting; Ishimaru seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

5. Cardwell (USDA/CSREES National Program Leader for Plant Pathology) reported that the Federal Register has provided an opportunity for input from stakeholders toward the development and structuring of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Enabling language for this institute was contained in the USDA reorganization act of 1994, and was modified in 2008 in the recent Farm Bill. By October 2009 all authorities of CRSEES will transfer to NIFA. From the statement of Guiding Principles: The National Institute will provide national leadership through the administration of Federal support for extramural research, education and extension in coordination with other REE agencies that focus primarily on intramural research and data collection. Specific guiding principles are: Advance knowledge and science of food, agriculture, human health and well-being, the environment, and communities; assure relevancy and responsiveness; promote understanding and appreciation of science in the public sector; utilize protocols that promote the best science; provide accessibility; ensure transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and efficient use of resources; enhance the stature of food and agricultural science.

Other programs/funding opportunities of note include plant biosecurity within AFRI; CAR RAMP projects involving methyl bromide; crops at risk; risk assessment; critical and emerging issues; and organic transitions. In the coming budget it is expected that there will be increases of 4-6% in Hatch/Smith-Lever funds.

6. A subcommittee of Rasmussen, Clayton, and Hoeft were approved as the nominating committee by general consent.

7. A total of 5 projects were reviewed (review details appended). For each project the review was approved unanimously by the committee.

8. Adjourned at 9:15 pm., and reconvened at UPR Mayaguez at 9:40 am.

9. State reports were then provided. Generally, concerns were expressed about budget matters, which might include budget cuts, reversions, furloughs, financial emergency, etc. Other brief comments:

" IL: Horticulture faculty are in the process of transferring into Crop Science from Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences; creating a change from 30 faculty to 45. Cleo DArcy has retired.

" IA: A fungal biologist was recently hired with 3 years of funding from the soybean association. No additional hiring is expected in the foreseeable future. The plant and insect diagnostic facilities have been merged.

" KS: Seven people have been hired in the last 3 years, although there is currently a hiring freeze on the campus. An undergraduate minor has been added in biotechnology and applied genomics.

" MN: Because of retirements, the department will soon have 12 faculty; a recent CSREES review was very positive and the dean is supportive and interested in investing in the program. Their BL3 facility has been commissioned

" NE: Funding changes will require that greenhouse facility, farms, diagnostic clinic rely more on grant support or even self-funding. A Doctor of Plant Health degree has been created, and it is hoped that positions will come available in phytobacterial genetics, and virology.

" ND: A new greenhouse with a BL2 facility is under construction. Salary increases(!) average 5.5% in the current year; the governor recommended 5% for next year. There was pressure to merge with entomology, but entomology decided to join natural resource management instead.

" OH: A new biosecurity course is popular with students. Other initiatives include using Facebook, Youtube, and other media to connect with students and alumni. County agents are invited to the campus, and department personnel are going out to counties to interact with agents.

" WI: Leong and Grau have retired, Keller transferred to bacteriology, and Kerns and Barak joined the department. Amanda Gevens will join as a potato/vegetable crops pathologist, and a search for a virologist is ongoing. With other departments in the building, an administrative service center has been formed to provide IT, mechanical services, student services, and pre- and post-award support.

10. The nominating committee recommended Mike Boehm be secretary for the next meeting. There was general consent for this recommendation. Further, it was recommended that the group meet in California and meet with local grape growers. Throughout the NC there is increasing interest in grape production, and it would be valuable to anticipate disease pressures and management needs.


We reviewed regional research projects assigned to individual committee members, presented state reports, and discussed issues of mutual concern and interest. We toured the plant diagnostic clinic and the experiment station at Mayaguez, and the Illinois Crop Improvement Farm near Ponce. A deeper appreciation of tropical agriculture was gained and connections were made with UPR Mayaguez researchers and prospective students.


Impact Statements

  1. Oversight of regional research projects was provided.
  2. Relationships between departments and chairs and heads in the North Central Region were improved.
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Date of Annual Report: 11/11/1111

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/03/2010 - 02/05/2010
Period the Report Covers: 11/11/1111 - 11/11/1111


Brief Summary of Minutes



Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 11/11/1111

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/24/2011 - 02/25/2011
Period the Report Covers: 11/11/1111 - 11/11/1111


Brief Summary of Minutes

No report available for this meeting.



Impact Statements

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Date of Annual Report: 02/22/2013

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 01/30/2013 - 02/01/2013
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2011 - 09/01/2012


Caitilyn Allen (Wisconsin), Thomas Baum (Iowa State), Rick Bennett (Arkansas), German Bollero (Illinois), Lawrence Datnoff (Louisiana State), Marty Draper (USDA), Jim English (Missouri), Scott Gold (ARS), Peter Goldsbrough (Purdue), Ray Hammerschmidt (Michigan State), John Leslie (Kansas State), Rose Loria (Florida), Terry Niblack (Ohio State), Sandy Pierson (Texas A&M), Steve Slack (Ohio State), Jim Steadman (Nebraska)

Chair: Jim Steadman, University of Nebraska
Local Arrangements: Caitilyn Allen, University of Wisconsin
Secretary: Terry Niblack, Ohio State University
Administrative Advisor: Steve Slack, Ohio State University

Brief Summary of Minutes

Chair: Jim Steadman, University of Nebraska
Local Arrangements: Caitilyn Allen, University of Wisconsin
Secretary: Terry Niblack, Ohio State University
Administrative Advisor: Steve Slack, Ohio State University

Dinner and discussion 6:30-9pm Marriott Downtown, Chicago

Called to order 8:30am Marriott Downtown, Chicago
Agenda attached

Remarks from Steve Slack

Thanks to organizers for reaching out beyond the region

Attendees need to talk to Expt Station Directors to be designated official representatives

Minutes must be submitted after meeting

Need to have conversation about next years meeting, site, time, officers, etc.

Previewed agenda

J Steadman thanked Dr. Slack for revitalizing the group (meeting last held 2 yrs ago).
L Datnoff asked how active groups are. Slack replied that it varies by region. recounted previous meetings at UC-Davis and Puerto Rico. Slack replied that a reasonable rationale for meeting site will be acceptable. Discussion about chairs/heads meetings at APS and the possibility of having a standing committee through APS. This has not been proposed; previous recent meetings were ad hoc, organized by John Sherwood. Committee should not be proposed for the purpose of having a committee; needs to have a mission. J Steadman suggested that Sandy Pierson reach out to chairs/heads who do not have an NCAC-type organization for upcoming meeting in Austin to continue conversation about interaction among chairs/heads and possible formal role in APS. Lawrence asked for a document summarizing pros and cons of formalizing for distribution at Austin, with suggestions of what kinds of input would be wanted from the group. S Pierson will produce this document.

Presentation by Marty Draper, National Program Leader (Kitty Cardwell off with assignment to World Bank)
1) Associates in Martys office: AAAS Fellow, Rachel Melnik, Liz Ley, Program specialist , works with NPDN, Michael Fitzner, Director, Plant Protection Division
2) Sonny Ramaswamy is changing the culture of the organization
3) Institute of Food Production and Sustainability has been formed

Powerpoint presentation on current state of the federal budget. Will share presentation with attendees.

Discussion of grant post-award issues (audits, administrative time) and percentage time commitment for employees. Loss of Hatch funds would create problems.

Presentation by Rick Bennett, APS update

1) Annual meeting board -program development underway

2) Joint meeting with MSA in Austin  working with leaders to have integrated meeting
Accommodate separate activities (plenary sessions, student competitions, etc)

3) 24 special sessions, 9 are MSA

4) Future joint meetings: 2014 Minneapolis with Canadian Phytopathological Society
ICPP 2018 Boston

5) Comments on professionalism of staff in Minnesota in dealing with complex issues surrounding large, joint society meeting

6) Public Policy Board going to DC in March
Discussion of purpose of meetings in DC
Preview of issues to be included this year, including graduate education,
culture collections, NPDN; one-page white papers written at 8th grade
level; focus on how to support efforts without additional resources.
Organization of meetings with staffers, congressmen and senators by Kellye

7) Focus on what APS can do to support others broad priorities rather than what they can do for plant pathology.

8) APS is constantly looking at ways to streamline governance

9) Working on a guiding principles document for interactions with other professional societies.

Comments from APS Treasurer, Steve Slack
80% of APS income is from publishing. There is an opportunity to
generate more income via annual meeting and with electronic media (income to provide more member services). Time to stop thinking of annual meeting as revenue-neutral enterprise.

Powerpoint presentation by Scott Gold, APS Education Office
1) Excellent progress in defining goals of the office
2) Presentation and strategic plan to be forwarded by Caitilyn

Discussion of curricula in Plant Pathology (spreadsheet summary prepared by Margaret Denning and J Steadman)
1) University of Illinois MS 20 hours graded courses, no specific courses required; up to supervisory committee
PhD, prelim exam, 20 additional graded courses, hours
2) University of Georgia
Suggested core + seminar
3) University of Florida
Pathogen courses condensing from full to half semester to allow time for field research; curriculum in flux, moving toward fewer requirements, more compact curriculum. Doctor of Plant Medicine progam now administered by Entomology, graduates 5 students per year, total about 30 students.
4) Considerable discussion of graduate programs in Plant Pathology. All struggle with filling classes.
5) Several models for training plant pathologists outside traditional plant pathology departments; e.g. U Missouri Plant Stress Biology Program
6) Transition of curriculum to online delivery but with target audience

Discussion of graduate student recruiting tactics
1) R Bennett, Arkansas  visits to other universities in the state, personal relationships with biology professors
2) L Datnoff, LSU built up grad program from 8 to 29 by pursuing international students, MOUs with Brazil
3) Discussion of problem with recruiting dependent on lack of recognition of plant pathology, traceable to lack of recognition of plant sciences
4) C Allen, Wisconsin -- Success of summer research experience, internship programs for recruiting students  see University of Wisconsin web site and search IBP-SRP program, 80 students in all, for an example
5) Discussion of student stipends, models of funding graduate students.
6) Some departments suffering under-enrollment, others have more than they can accommodate.
7) S Gold: What is the importance of achieving balance between domestic and international students? General agreement that such balance is desirable.
8) Should Scott follow up with clearinghouse for internships? Should contain more up-to-date information on internships, locations, projects, pay rates.
9) Other issues on recruiting: diversity among domestic students. Univ Illinois works with historically Hispanic institutions; Carolee Bull works with Cal State System.
10) Related issue of gender diversity; there is a large body of literature on why females fall out the pool of faculty position candidates. Discussion of slow pace of change in gender balance, given that grad students have been more than 50% female since 1988.

Discussion of governance for the NCAC-14 Committee
1) J Steadman and C Allen were co-chairs for this year. T Niblack had volunteered to serve as secretary for this year. Will be chair for next year.
2) R Loria will do local arrangements for next year. Nearby invasive species problem in citrus. Last week of Jan-first week of Feb 2014; will be decided later.
3) Members agreed to participate in a survey of skills for intro plant path students.
4) P Goldsbrough volunteered to be secretary next year.

Called to order 8:30am 2/1/2013

Reviews of two projects
1. Multi-State Research Coordinating Committee 207, asking for renewal
a. Previously reviewed by NCAC-1
b. Biochemistry and Genetics of Plant-Fungal Interactions
c. Comments by J Leslie
1. Many failings of the current proposal, for example:
2. Objectives, content, other items same as last proposal
3. No lit cited
4. Only one annual report
5. No collaborations identified
6. Governance section inappropriate
7. Other comments indicating need to rewrite project
d. R Hammerschmidt (member of the NCAC14 review committee) stated that the project should be abandoned and the group should start over with a focus
e. G Bollero (administrative advisor of the committee) stated that the review by NCAC-1 echoed many of the same comments
f. Recommendation to revise and resubmit

2. Multistate Research Coordinating Committee NC-1183, midterm assessment
Biosecurity, Food Safety and Biofuels Byproducts
a. R Hammerschmidt
1. Committee has been productive
2. Specific objectives for the project show deliverables
3. 14 states represented, 12 attended last meeting in person
4. Impact statements show progress is being made
5. Cross-fertilization unclear; could do a better job of documenting
6. Need to document leveraged funding
b. General agreement that the group is on course and should be continued.

Discussion on five-year reviews for departments. Mandate for external reviews varies by institution. Marty Draper: USDA hasnt stopped doing reviews, but has stopped requiring reviews. For those they do, the funding model has changed -- now 50% cost shared with institution. Request comes from Dean or Experiment Station Director. If USDA does the review, they provide the leadership. Not limited to departments; can be done for other units (e.g., IPM program at NC State).

Discussion of combining, realignment of departments.
1. P Goldsbrough reported on whats going on at Purdue. After many discussions, theyve decided to concentrate plant biology in Botany and Plant Pathology for new hires. There is a possibility to move current people around, but the process has not been finalized. (Focus on how plants grow, rather than how to grow plants.) Biggest realignment problem is with Horticulture, who have had a strong stress biology group that is aging. Biology, in School of Science, has 3 plant biologists, with no prospect of new plant hires, perhaps may move to B&PP. Dean nixed possibility of new Department or mega-department including all plant sciences. Peter sees the prospective changes as potentially very beneficial to plant pathology.
2. C Allen mentioned Wisconsin Dean making noises about optimal department size that has not been discussed in detail. Three departments have fused administrative services, with total of 70 faculty. No disciplinary commonality, but all with needs for pre- and post-award management, payroll management, HR, purchasing, etc. 1 person does pre-award (all grant submissions) and 4 people do post-award. Feels that the administrative fusion will protect Entomology and Plant Pathology (as small departments) in the long run.
3. R Loria: Florida has 3 people doing pre- and post-award for ~60 faculty. Different model for splitting up functions.
4. J Steadman described fusion of administrative functions at Nebraska among 4 departments into a business center. Plant Pathology retained administrative assistant and some other specific functions. HR and finance personnel in business center are a big plus and submit grants for faculty.
5. R Hammerschmidt reported on situation at MSU. Went through series of efforts in the College, mostly wasted except for production of useful white papers by faculty. Several recommendations for restructuring; including
a. Plant Pathology (smallest in College) merge with Crop & Soil Sciences because of significant common programming and other factors.
b. New department will be Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
c. Avoided reduction in total office staff; now business office
d. Total 45 faculty, 40 FTEs including joint appointments, out of total of
150 plant scientists on campus
e. Generated plan for cluster hire in soil microbial ecology
f. Degree programs will remain as they are
g. Details will be included in circulated state report
h. Official change took place in July 2012, well accepted so far

State reports
1. Illinois, Crop Sciences
2. Iowa, Plant Pathology and Microbiology
3. Michigan State, new department
4. Georgia, Plant Pathology
5. Purdue, Botany and Plant Pathology
6. Arkansas, Plant Pathology
7. LSU, Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology
8. Kansas State, Plant Pathology
9. Nebraska, Plant Pathology
10. Wisconsin, Plant Pathology
11. Florida, Plant Pathology
12. Ohio State, Plant Pathology
13. Missouri, Plant Stress Biology

Meeting adjourned 11:30 am.



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Date of Annual Report: 02/14/2014

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/04/2014 - 02/05/2014
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2012 - 09/01/2013


Terry Niblack (Ohio State)

Jim Bradeen (Minnesota)

Jim English (Missouri)

Jim Steadman (Nebraska)

Thomas Baum (Iowa State)

Jack Rasmussen (North Dakota State)

Peter Goldsbrough (Purdue)

Sandy Pierson (Texas A&M)

John Leslie (Kansas State)

John Sherwood (Georgia)

Caitlyn Allen (Wisconsin)

Steve Slack (Ohio State, committee administrator)

Lawrence Datnoff (Louisiana State)

Phil Mulder (Oklahoma State)

Tom Mitchell (Ohio State, representing APS Office of Education)

Unable to attend:

Ray Hammerschmidt (Michigan State)

Rick Bennett (Arkansas)

Brief Summary of Minutes

Please see complete minutes which includes state reports in the attached document.



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Date of Annual Report: 02/27/2015

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/03/2015 - 02/04/2015
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2013 - 09/01/2014


In attendance: Thomas Baum (ISU), Steve Slack (OSU), Peter Goldsborough (Purdue), Sandy Pierson (TAMU), Rick Bennett U. Ark), Martin Draper (NIFA), James Bradeen (U. Minn), Katie Stevenson (UGA), Terry Niblack (OSU), Brad Day (MSU), Jim English (U. Miss), John Leslie (KSU), Lawrence Datnnoff (LSU), John Sherwood (UGA)

Not Present (due to weather or other conflicts): Jim Steadman, Jack Rasmussen, Patti McManus, Darin Eastburn, Phil Mulder, David Wright, Steve Jeffers

Brief Summary of Minutes

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Complete set of minutes is attached.
State reports are attached in the publications sections.

• Meeting called to order by Thomas Baum at 8:47 AM

o Minutes & Agenda
• Thomas Baum organized an agenda without setting specific time restrictions
• Approval of previous year’s minutes –approved unanimously
• Sandy Pierson is Vice-chair/Secretary – will take minutes
• Please send Thomas state reports electronically. He will assemble and send out
o Steve Slack – Advisor (9:00 AM)
• This committee was organized under the auspices of the Agriculture experiment station. Hence the name NCAC-14
• A benefit of this group is to provide unit leaders a 2nd opportunity to meet and discuss plant pathology, university and college business, and discuss teaching and funding challenges and opportunities
• As a member, may be asked to review multi-state projects. Can simply send the reviews to his office and they will upload onto NIMS
• Now called multi-state because not limited to any specific region affiliation
? Several of members are not yet officially recognized as members of the NCAC-14 group. Please ask your Expt. Station Direction to be added. Passed sheet around
• One member duty is to provide reviews of other multi-state projects. There is a primary and a secondary reviewer. Following discussion a vote is taken. Next the project is reviewed by a 3-perspn NC group and submitted to the NC Station directors for approval

o Update on NIFA federal funding
Martin Draper
1. NIFA State of Affairs. Marty been at NIFA ~9 years. He will provide slides to the group. The finalized FY15 budget numbers arrived a week ago. Arriving so late causes a lag on when funds can be distributed.
? AFRI requested a review by the NRC. Report lists several conclusions:
• Conclusion 1 – AFRI plays a critical role in funding agricultural research but is not supported with sufficient resources.
Recommendation 1 – US needs to strengthen public investment in competitive R&D funding
• Conclusion 2 – AFRI organization is unnecessarily complex.
Recommendation 2 – Simplify by focusing on 6 research program areas.
AFRI Response – there are advantages to the way it is done currently. For example, the current format allows focusing on both research and extension together (integrated projects). Otherwise, an organization focused solely on research fails the agencies mandated function.
• Conclusion 3 – AFRI lacks a detailed articulated plan for prioritization.
Recommendation 3 – Develop a strategic plan
AFRI Response – this has been done, draft available June 13, Finalized Dec ’14; includes expected outcomes and measures.
• Conclusion 4 – A diffuse management structure exists
Recommendation 4 – Need to identify a dedicated leader.
Response – Effie Baldwin (finances) + Mark Mirando (projects & strategies).

2. FY15 Budget (as we know, it is a Continuing Resolution (CR)
? AFRI increased to $325 M from $316 M (one of two changes), extension funding unchanged
• Food + Ag Defense Init. (FADI), which includes NPDN, has a slight increase. A special grant, not in section 406.
• IDC return rate now at 30%, but since the total funding was not increased, these monies come out of monies for projects,
• A separate line exists for directed funding for animal & plant diagnostic labs
• FADI a non-competitive program.
• NIFA in essence has lost funding due to the CR status of the government maintaining a flat budget. No funding for capacity enhancement.
• NIFA goal to re-establish its relationships with other key regulatory groups to reinforce its support.

3. Proposed NIFA FY16 Budget
• Proposed changes:
? Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) be merged into Homeland Security (HHS) meaning NIFA the funding for FSIS.
? Pollinator protection – some fungicides can have toxic effects on beneficial pollinators, so RFPS will include asking for fruit crop folks to hook up with entomologists.
• $206 M for ARS infrastructure improvements, including SE poultry research, BARC labs, Nat’L lab for Ag + the Environment, Watershed research, Children’s nutrition.
? Capacity / Formula (details not available)
• Expecting Flat funding. Smith-Lever, McIntire-Stennis, Hatch, Native American.
• Expecting an increase for 1890 institutions (~ $2 M) and 1994 institutions (~$1-4 M).
• Expecting decrease for Animal Health & Disease (zeroed out again).
• Overall an increase of $8 M up to $778 M.
• Competitive – AFRI funding increase of $125 M to $450 M ?
• Innovative Institutes (increase of $80M from 0)
• Competitive capacity awards (increase of $20M from 0)
• NIFA is done with leveraged CAP funding contributions from past grants
• Food safety outreach (increase of $2-5M)
• Farm Vets (increase of $3M from 0)
• IDC (increase of $6-20 M (including building leases)
? E-grants administration (increase of $2-10M). Includes modernization of grant management software.
• Grants for youth (increase of $1M from 0)
• Proposed decreases
• Crop protection/pest management (decrease of $2-29M)
• Higher education programs (decrease of $3-35M)
• Water quality (406) (zeroed out)
• STEM (decrease to 0 from 11M (consolidated w/ USF + DOE)
• Flat – everything else
• Mandatory increase for Hispanic serving institutions (increase $10M from 0)
• SCRI (increase of $4-55M)
• NIFA up $241M to $1,668 Billion
• At 5 PM Sonny Ramaswamy will give a televised talk
4. AFRI – RFA release delays due to Farm Bill requirements
• Matching funds required
• NLGCUA (non-landgrant colleges of agriculture)
o Centers of excellence. No longer a physical location, a transient assemblage of expertise and capabilities.
o New AFRI programs:
? CARE (Critical Ag Research Efforts) = $150K/yr. Very stakeholder-driven with expectation of immediate product outcomes within 3 years. Really only for very mature projects close to rollout.
Exploratory = $100K for 1 yr. Requires creative approaches, for crazy ideas. Funding continuation dependent on an ad hoc – internal NIFA decision. Nat’L program Leaders (NPL’s) have authority. This is seed money to lead to more funding. NPLs are Kitty Cardwell + Rachel Melnick.
? Concern expressed because nonrealistic because really only $70K after IDC taken out and by the time a technician hired have only 7mo to complete.
5. AFRI Food Security RFA released Friday! More RFPs will be coming out soon, including foundational programs. Go to for releases.
6. Number of Plant Pathologists on NIFA Staff
• Marty Draper (PLP + IPM); Ann Lichens-Park (Molecular Biology, plant-microbe interactions); Kitty Cardwell (climate change + SBIR); Rachel Melnick-Lippert (climate change, SBIR); Mervalin Morant (Food safety).
• Of these, 4 of 5 within 5 years of retirement, need a succession plan.
? Staffing down from 130 to 70 NPLs. Partly due to Fed workforce reduction program that expects 1 replacement for every 3 worker.
• How sequestration will affect everything is unclear.
7. Reeport System
• Minimal issues affecting most faculty so far. Marty limited in comment sending – Marty sends emails because he cannot fix everything himself.
• Time to return of comments due to faculty time, facility commitment and classification errors.
8. Hatch Funding Changes
• Funds supposed to go out to universities quarterly (Oct, Jan, Apr, Jul).
• Trying to fix. The current CR in Congress causes this mess since they do not have funds for 1st quarter when needed.
9. Safety Stand-down
• Letter from Sonny Ramaswamy to PIs. Due to dangerous cultures still around in labs (10 select agents, including smallpox, anthrax, etc.). Marty can try to assist if a real issue
• Request was sent to Expt. Sta. Directors. If necessary can send Marty a request for a form letter that says PI does not have problem Issues (emphasized only if needed).
o 10:20AM-10:35 AM. The group took a break.

Katherine Stevenson
1. APS Office of Education. Office relatively new. There are many groups in APS interested in education – need to coordinate. They serve basically as facilitators.
• See Recent activities and initiatives (Appendix A).
? Especially. #4 support teaching faculty. Expanding teaching resources on APS website. Wish to collect course syllabi at a central location for faculty to use in programs. Please send your syllabi to Anisa Poletetruik.
? Have considered the ability to offer courses – but APS as a nonacademic group cannot do this. Courses must go through an academy department, but then questions arise as to who gets credit? Etc.
? At some institutions, distance education a possibility. There was discussion as to whether PLP distance education can work- is there sufficient market for these courses? Perhaps target young professionals and extension agents in other fields that need to know PLP, not undergraduate students. For example, Iowa State offers nematology during summer – but have to enroll at ISU. Ohio State has just approved certifications. Questions remain as to cost of course,
• Cost of courses? In-state or out-of-state tuition? What about the Interweaving of certification courses (Continuing Education credits) with traditional courses? Extension specialist mini-courses, flipped course formats?
• APS has the professional staff to make or capture webinars – can capture, can do remotely.
• What about PLP seminars? Like a TED talk. How to get folks to volunteer to give these talks. One suggestion was to make this part of the APS Awards. Perhaps have a special session at the annual meeting for recording these talks. Lack of available time at APS meetings a concern as they are fairly busy already.
2. Suggestions for Office of Education
• APS teaching lessons (disease lessons). How are they updated, who ensures done in timely manner? How to entice authors that this is a good use of time? Perhaps by providing metrics (# hits, downloads, etc.). This could make this effort worthwhile in P&T deliberations.

Rick Bennett (APS President)
1. APS Update
• APS Membership:
• Currently about 5,000 members from 91 countries. 35% live outside the U.S. Of members, 20% are students and postdocs.
2. APS council:
• Now has fewer members than before. Council meets 3 times per year. Monthly conference calls (often invite additional folks to join as relevant). Procedure is during October through April the Council determines and sets in place specific initiatives. During April through October the progress of the initiatives is monitored.
3. Key Priorities:
• High quality science the highest priority. The PPB travels to Washington DC every spring and pushes for funding of all agriculture-related science without focusing on a limited number of specific agendas. Because of these efforts, APS is viewed in the capital as unbiased topic experts. Members often get contacted for more details and insight into a multitude of issues and bills.
• Phytobiomes Initiative (PPB) ( (Jan Leach).
• International Engagement (Sally Miller). APS interacts with other plant pathologic societies (e.g. China, England, Japan, etc.). APS will host the ICPP meeting to be held in Boston in 2018.
• CADRE (career advancement)
• Modern Journals: APS needs to develop new strategies to support journals. APS Individual subscriptions are declining. XML – first to launch, with alternate metrics to be included. Looking for member input as to specifically what to be doing, how to improve, etc. We must be able to compete with open access journals such as PLoS One. The upside of these journals is rapid publishing-the downside is poor peer review. ASM journals have moved to electronic versions as primary approach.
• Pubpeer: A group that is going through journals and performing “post-publication” peer reviews. Identifying poor data, plagiarism, etc.). Group sends an email to the author and everyone in their department when they have an issue. Sounds like a witch hunt. For example, 30 publications from one researcher in Europe targeted by this group.
• Private sector interactions: Developing an experiential focus award. Planning private sector tour in Research Triangle Park for postdocs and graduate students (July 14-15, 2015). Private sector opportunities, speakers being made available (see Courtney Gallup). Discussions of skills needed for success and career opportunities. The group had a discussion regarding this. One concern is we do a lot for the private sector, but they do little to support increased funding for us and our students in Washington DC. Needs to be a two-way street.
• Borlaug’s Army initiative – free year membership in APS ( Noted that undergraduate participation in APS at record high.
• Other approaches discussed, including continuous member enhancement values, online image database, mobile activities.
4. Impacts in Research, Teaching, and Extension
• There is an online tool that can capture impacts (
• Provides standardized formats
• APS seeking new ideas for future initiatives:
? Submit at
? Council reviews all suggestions. Connect w/ APS – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.
• Annual Meeting August 1-5, 2015 in Pasadena, CA. Theme this year is “Crossroads in Science”. Abstracts due Feb 2 – March 16, submit early if want to give an oral presentation. Will be interactive sessions, Phyto Views, Idea Cafes, Poster Huddles.

• Lunch 12:00-1:40

Peter Goldsbrough
? Anyone working on phytobiomes? Every faculty member working on some aspect related to phytobiomes. Is there a definition of phytobiome research?
• Michigan State recently hired 3 assistant professors in rhizosphere soil, genetics and ecology. Goal is to replace expertise of Jim Tedje.
• Are we too late to get involved in this area? No, because it encompasses so many areas and questions, including the influence of animal-fed antibiotics on soil communities, taken up by plants that we subsequently eat. Marty mentioned that funding for this needs to increase, possibly through a NIFA – NSF joint program in the future.
• EIB program is a government-wide program.

Jim Bradeen
? AULF Plans and initiatives. Jim is Chair and Sandy is Vice Chair for 2015.
? Priorities – lots of interest with other groups. Met with APS council last October.

Brad Day
• Michigan State recently hired four fixed term non-TT professors to address hot topics. These positons have no teaching responsibilities and were given Start up and space. After the initial 5 years, completely soft-funded. Is this a national trend? No other examples mentioned. Other MSU faculty furious. A scary trend. Currently new faculty start when 35-38 years-old. This after having done a long apprenticeship as a graduate student and multiple postdocs. What is the impact of this on the attractiveness of this for a career? Career sustainability? What is the 30 year projection for careers?
General Discussions (a whorl-wind range of topics)
• Switching from 12 month to 9 month appointments. There are many concerns, including loss of salary for 3 months in spite of need to be present and run research, field and oversee graduate and postdoc students. Effect on vacation accrual? National funding agencies expect deliverables based on a 12 month year, not a 9 month one. Another disturbing trend.

• Minimum number of PhD and MS student graduations required over a 5 year period, plus student stipends. What is fair? Top stipends are $28-30,000/yr. MSU gives out 30-40 of these for the entire campus. Faculty pay in-state tuition.

• APS Salary Survey is being redone currently.

• Best approach to use when having a student who has not finished up and funding is ending. Either can pay hourly, or they must self-fund while completing their degree. Discussion mentioned U. Arkansas offers 4 year stipends for PhD degrees. Graduate students are reviewed annually for progress. What constitutes acceptable progress to maintain funding? What mechanisms can ensure progress being made?

• Diversity needs: training and how to encourage more diversity. What is the baseline for what institutes are doing?

• Innovative Nonconventional Teaching Methods:

• APS council feedback for academic unit leaders: There are funds to support AULF meetings outside APS. Goals include improved cross-communication, encourage inter-collaboration. Request that we utilize AULF web site for communications and alerts, not a large group email list. Need to check if everyone getting alerts and notifications from site. The NCAC-14 minutes will be posted on the AULF web site.

• Identifying non-traditional students for recruitment; “flipped classes”, inter institutional teaching pro’s and con’s.
Steve Slack
• Would like to increase members in NCAC-14. Thinks some not involved because believe it is regional. He recommends sending minutes of NCAC-14 meetings to every plant pathology-related academic leader. Also, we should personally contact potential members, and ensure notification of the meetings go to everyone.

Sandy Pierson
• Presented update of efforts at Texas A&M to revise graduate course curriculum (Appendix B). Students now take an introductory PLP course with a lab and a methods I plant-microbe interaction course plus 6 5-week modules on organismal and processes involved in pathogenesis and host perception and signaling. Asked for feedback on changes. Good comments on ideas behind modules as to subject matter, and a suggestion for an additional hands-on lab course. Discussion of available faculty and funding for this effort.

Daniel Collins (Alcorn State University)
• Discussion of online courses and support for undergraduate (UG) research experiences. Talked about a major goal at Alcorn State is to get undergraduates hooked up with faculty for research experiences. Role of mentoring in increasing student retention, increasing critical thinking skills. They have several sources for UG research support. At Penn State they award 50 UG grants worth $3,500 to students or faculty mentoring students. Another goal is to develop an online MS degree course aimed at professionals.

• Alcorn State recruits from community colleges, and involves high school students in a 2 week experience back at their own schools.

• Discussion of eLearning (online learning), balance between online hands-on learning with the future probably a mix of both online and in person.
• Penn State – Currently offers two online PLP courses.
• APS Education Center a useful resource for PLP.
• Several community colleges have 2 year ag programs.

• Texas A&M offers PLPA 499 & BURS fellowships to UGs for research experiences. Supply $2,000 to student to pay for supplies, etc.




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Date of Annual Report: 02/16/2016

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 02/01/2016 - 02/03/2016
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2014 - 09/30/2015


Thomas Baum (ISU), Steve Slack (OSU), Peter Goldsbrough (Purdue), Sandy Pierson (TAMU), Rick Bennett KYU), Martin Draper (NIFA), James Bradeen (U. Minn), Terry Niblack (OSU), Jim English (U. Miss), Lawrence Datnoff (LSU), Frank Zhao (U Ill), Patty McManus (WISC), Daniel Collins (ALCORN ST), James Steadman (UNL)

Not Present: Brad Day (MSU), Jack Rasmussen (NDSU), David Wright (SDSU), Carolee Bull (PENN ST)

Brief Summary of Minutes

Please see the attached file for the complete set of minutes. Below is the opening comments from the meeting.

Sandy Pierson organized the agenda leaving specific time restrictions out to encourage discussion and exploration

  • Approval of previous year’s minutes –

  • Brad Day is Vice-chair/Secretary. He sent an email that another person would attend, but that did not occur. Sandy Pierson will Chair and try to take the minutes

  • Please send Sandy your state reports electronically. He will assemble and send out

  • A group thank you to Steve Slack who will be stepping down as our

Administrative Advisor (AA). Rick Bennett will be our new AA

o  Steve Slack – Comments to the group

  • This committee was organized under the auspices of the Agriculture experiment station. Hence the name North Central Administrative Committee (NCAC-14). It

is not under the auspices of APS, but a separate opportunity for academic leaders to meet at another time besides the annual APS AULF breakfast.

  • This used to be a strictly regional committee. Hence the name North Central and number (14 = plant pathology). Now called multi-state because anyone can join. 

  • A benefit of this group is the opportunity to discuss multiple issues of concern and to share ideas and brainstorm outside the demands of the annual APS meeting.

  • Members may be asked to review multi-state projects. They are discussed here and can either be submitted directly through the NIMSS site, or can send to

Shelley Whitworth ( in his office to be uploaded onto NIMSS. It is understood that the optimum is to have a primary and a secondary reviewer. Following discussion a vote is taken. The lead reviewer incorporates the committee’s comments in their review before submission. Next the project is reviewed by a 3-person NC group and submitted to the NC Station directors for approval. The process is detailed at the NIMSS site. Christina Hamilton ( is very helpful.

  • All project reviews are due no later than Feb. 15, so please get them in so they can be discussed by the Directors.

  • Minutes are due within 30-60 days.

  • Steve has asked Terry NiBlack to assist in the soybean multi-state project. 

 NCAC-14 Committee Members homework assignment No. 1: Find out why folks did not attend and encourage them to become part of the group.

See attached file for remainder of minutes.

In addition to the attached minutes, please other documents were discussed at the meeting; Marty Draper's NIFA Update and the Revised Curriculum "Update on Plant Pathology Graduate Education Curriculum Changes at Texas A&M".  I am unable to attach them into NIMSS so if you need copies, please contact Sandy Pierson.




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