Welcome to the website for the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors! This site's purpose is to encourage collaboration among agricultural scientists in the South as well as inform the funders of agricultural research about research priorities, impacts, and status of projects.
The 1993 Federal
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) significantly
changed the expectations for Executive Branch agencies. Henceforth all
agencies, including those funding scientific research activities, were required
to develop performance-based plans that were to be reported against annually.
The anticipation is that budget decisions in the future will be related to
demonstrated performance by the managing agencies, based on their reported
Missing was any organized plan for
gathering information generated external to the agency regarding performance
and results. This was notably true for scientific research activities which are
notoriously difficult to predict as outputs and outcomes of research trials
The GPRA requirements
were imposed across all agencies ranging from the Internal Revenue Service, and
the Department of Defense, to the science-based agencies such as the National
Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. However, results for
the U.S. Army or the Social Security Administration have little resemblance to
the results of research. The ramp up period to full GPRA reporting is now over,
and the pressure is on to provide what is now seen as competitive information
on why programs should be funded.
Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (a.k.a. the '98 Farm Bill)
requires all federal formula funded activities at public institutions to be
organized in state-based Plans of Work. The expectation from Congress, it is
presumed, was to provide the funding agency [i.e., the Cooperative State
Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) of the USDA] with reliable
information that could be assembled into performance reports for GPRA
funding is viewed as an essential component of the Federal-State Partnership in
agricultural research and extension.However, formula funding is under attack as not being accountable
enough, or has been assumed to be an institutional entitlement. Some critics of
formula funding have proposed that these funds be converted to competitive
Formula funds are used
for, inter alia, maintaining facilities, paying faculty salaries, hiring
technicians, feeding research animals, buying fertilizers for crop trials, and
supporting the next generation of scientists. Matching non-federal funding is
required in equal amounts, and they are often overmatched in ratios of five- or
even ten to one. SAES directors are very interested in assuring proper
accounting for the use of formula funds, and they are in fact looking for ways
to increase federal formula allocations. Loss of formula funding would be
devastating to agricultural research as we know it.
An additional '98 Farm
Bill requirement for formula funding is "not less than 25% must be used for
multistate research projects, and twice the amount of the 1997 base (or not
less than 25% of the formula funds, which ever is less) must be used for
integrated activities with extension". The justification for these requirements
rests with the perspective that federal tax dollars should not be used for
studying local or state-specific problems or issues. The use of federal funds
should be invested more towards regional and national needs and opportunities,
and building stronger links between research and extension activities.
To address this
requirement to account for federal funding investments in agricultural research
new reporting methods were developed for Multistate Research Projects. One of
these changes was the design of an SAES-422 format (see Appendix 1) that asks
for annual reports of research outcomes and impacts for Multistate Research
Based on the
review of the 2001 SAES-422 submissions there is a pressing need to improve the
content and quality of the submissions.This
publication was developed to provide guidance for Multistate Research technical
committees. We have included an example of what we think is an exemplary
SAES-422 (see Appendix 2).
scientific research has been pretty much left alone to pursue discoveries in
search of knowledge that may or may not benefit the nation¡¦s economy, society,
health, or the environment. Consider the 1945 publication entitled "Science,
The Endless Frontier" by Vannevar Bush. This policy document was
in force for nearly 50 years, and in essence asked for major federal
investments in post-WWII science with the general pledge that such investments
would yield huge payoffs. Indeed such payoffs did occur, but the documentation
on the extent of the payoffs is scanty. For most of the second half of the 20th
Century the federal government invested heavily in scientific research. In
return health improvements are legendary. Food supplies have been vastly increased
and food costs have dropped to less than 9% of the average American's
disposable income. The environment has been greatly improved. All of these
results and much more, have been a direct result of public and private
investments in scientific research.
programs funded by the federal government must be responsive with information
that justifies their continuation. This means that each project or committee
should do its best to report results in a way that information can be compiled
into more comprehensive reports for decision makers. To facilitate this
responsibility, and hopefully better support the preservation of this important
source of research funds, the regional associations of State Agricultural
Experiment Station directors adopted a set of guidelines that were designed to
implement the intent of the changes in the 1998 Farm Bill and shift the
reporting instruments into an outcomes-oriented system. Among those changes was
the requirement to submit an annual SAES-422 accomplishment report.
The first round of
SAES-422 reports focused mostly on activities (e.g., a meeting attended, a
common set of plants grown, or an animal fed for so many days). Unfortunately,
none of these measures tells anyone about the outputs of the research, the
accomplishments of the project, or the benefits of the application of research
To address the need
for clear communication we will use the terminology of the Consultative Group
on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) that has been adapted with some
changes to align the terms with current American English and to accommodate
terminology in use at the USDA.
benefits intended for the targeted beneficiaries.
directly resulting from the uptake of an innovation that includes research
outputs from the Federal-State Partnership (see Appendix 3 for the current
intermediate national research goals).
Themes: Topics of information
organized to describe progress in addressing one or more goals (or intermediate
goals). The utility of themes (versus a programmatic organization) is said to
be in the versatility of themes, which can be flexed to respond to shifting
priorities as administrations change in Washington, D.C. The application of thematic
organization is commonly done through text searches for key words (e.g., food
Outcomes: Quantitative, measurable
benefits of the research outputs as experienced by those who receive them.
Examples include the adoption of a technology, the creation of jobs, reduced
cost to the consumer, less pesticide exposure to farmers, access to more
nutritious food, a cleaner environment, or healthier communities.
Indicators: Qualitative surrogate
observations or indirect measures of quantitative performance measures which
permit monitoring the achievement of outcomes when direct measurement of
performance is difficult, too costly, or not possible. An indicator of cultivar
adoption might be seed certification records, rather than actual land area
planted to that cultivar.
Outputs: Defined products (tangible
or intangible) that are delivered by a research project. Examples of outputs
are reports, data, information, observations, publications, and patents.
Milestones: Key intermediate targets
necessary for achieving and/or delivering the outputs of a project, within an
agreed timeframe. Milestones are useful for managing complex projects. For
example, a milestone for a biotechnology project might be "To reduce our
genetic transformation procedures to practice by December 2004."
specific functions or duties carried out by individuals or teams using
scientific methods to reveal new knowledge and develop new understanding.
target (or set of targets) against which a set of research activities are
financial and intellectual capital made available for an activity. Allocations
of inputs may be made as a competitive grant, institutional project support,
access to technicians, etc. each with a monetary value, at least measured
only the world were as neat as this typology. But it is not. Many research
results find utility in some far off applications. Some research discoveries
must be combined with other findings to make a difference. Often research
success comes over many years, and may be clustered with other scientific
advances. Many times a research discovery must await other "market" factors
before being applicable. Frequently, the associated measures of research impact
are not gathered or are not available. So who gets credit? Who does the study?
is needed is a system of providing to CSREES information suitable for summary
statements for reports to policy and budget decision makers. The following
section sets out how that task can be made easy for both the researcher and the
particularly troublesome point for most projects is the impossibility of having
over-the-wall home runs to report every year. This point is well accepted and
the agreement with the Federal-State Partnership is not every project will have
impacts to report every year, but at least once in the life of a project some
measurable progress will be reported. When research progress or accomplishments
were reported previously, reference to that report will be acceptable. Or, when
the work is not yet completed it will be acceptable to mention that a report
will be forthcoming. What is to be avoided is a five-year project ending with
nothing ever reported.
project proposals should be organized to facilitate evaluation including reporting
of outputs and outcomes. If a project has as an objective to reduce the use of
a pesticide, how might that reduction be measured? If another project is
intending to improve child nutrition, what statistics are available as
benchmarks, and how might the intended change be documented?
of research objectives will need to become more closely tied to meaningful
measures in the future. Some measures are relatively simple, such as
calculating internal rates of return on a research investment. If a project
cost $500,000 to accomplish and provided the target audience with $10 million
in benefits the following year, the annual rate of return on the investment
is easily calculated.
another example, the cost of a project versus the benefits in terms of gains
for the intended users can be expressed as a ratio (the cost: benefit ratio).
Another measure might be the proportion of an area affected, or the percentage
of individuals adopting a specific technology.
many cases direct measurement of an outcome is not possible, or it would be
dubious. In these instances indicators might be used to express the
outcomes derived from research investments. In other cases testimonials from
beneficiaries may be an adequate substitute (e.g., a quote from a pleased
farmer). In fact, many newspaper reporters use anecdotal information to prove a
point. Politicians particularly use case examples to make their points. Long
eschewed by science, case studies may in fact be necessary method for
defending some types of research accomplishments. This may be especially true
for those project outcomes that cannot be easily measured, such as
environmental quality improvements.
are also useful in establishing research accomplishments. For example, it is
plausible to claim that reduced food costs are the result of higher yields and
other factors. In particular, cheap potatoes are the result of high yielding
cultivars and better cultivation technologies. Proving that claim might be
difficult, but claiming it to be true seems plausible.
credit for research outcomes is problematic in many cases. This is especially
true when the work of many contribute to a success story. A common example of
this happens when several institutions work with the private sector to complete
an activity. Who gets the credit? In all fairness, everyone should be able to
claim the success.
ante and ex
post impact studies can be helpful in documenting research outcomes. But in
many cases the expense of doing such an analysis may not be worthwhile. In
these instances substitutes should be sought.
are particularly helpful in reporting outputs and outcomes. If a research
project is cleverly designed with well thought out milestones, reporting
progress and achievements can be greatly facilitated. Thus, time invested in
project design pays off in the reporting requirements. This thought motivated
the recent changes to the suggested multistate project outline, which is now
outcomes orientedwith a milestones
will soon be developed as improvements to the way we report our achievements in
agricultural research. And these changes are necessary if we are to sustain
(indeed increase) our funding for agricultural research. Our staunch advocates
want to double the funding for agricultural research, as has been done for the
National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation in recent
years. We need to give our advocates within and outside the Federal government
the ammunition they need to make a case for increased funding. To do this,
research scientists need to provide clear, concise and up-to-date information
on research outputs and outcomes.Equally important is the need to provide clear statements about what it
all means, especially for the intended beneficiaries. The SAES-422 is the
recommended way to fill that need.
National Multistate Research
Multistate Research Activity
Note: This report is submitted each year
of an activity's duration and is due 60 calendar days following the annual
meeting. The SAES-422 is forwarded electronically by AAs to their Executive
Director. Annual Reports for MRF projects are then forwarded to CRIS by the
Date of This Report:
Annual Meeting Dates:
Participants: Provide a list of those who attended, and their employing
institution. As an alternative, list the URL for the meeting minutes, if that
report contains the list of those who were present. If available, add the
address for your list server as well.
Brief summary of minutes
of annual meeting: Provide information with a focus
on the decisions made. As an alternative, list here the URL for your meeting
Impacts: In this section focus on intended outcomes
and potential impacts. This information should be built around the activity's
milestones, as they were identified in the original outline. The report should
also reflect on the items that stakeholders want to know, or want to see. Also,
describe your plans for the coming year in no more than one or two short
Publications: List the publications for
current year only (with the authors, title, journal series, etc.).
Authorization: Electronic signature of the Administrative Advisor, with the date.
Example of a Completed SAES-422
Regional Association of
Agricultural Experiment Station
Multi-State Research Project
Project Title: Development of New Potato Clones for
Environmental and Economical Sustainability in the Northeast
Period Covered: January 2001 to January 2002
Date of This Report: May 2002
Annual Meeting Date:January 18 - 19, 2002
Participants:Bill Brodie (NY), Barb
Christ (PA), Walter De Jong (NY), Don Halseth (NY), Mel Henninger (NJ), Chad
Hutchinson (FL), Matt Kleinhenz (OH), Dave Lambert (ME), Bill Lamont (PA),
David MacKenzie (MD, NERA), Keith Perry (NY), Robert Plaisted (NY), Greg Porter
(ME), Joe Sieczka (NY), Rikki Sterrett (VA), George Tai (NB, AAFC), Lesley
Wanner (BARC, USDA), Marion White (FL), Craig Yencho (NC).
BRIEF SUMMARY OF MINUTES OF ANNUAL
NE184 rewrite.Greg Porter presented version 2.0 of the
proposal. It has been examined twice by the rewrite committee.The length of the document needs to be
reduced to fit within national guidelines. Detailed discussion of the document
was tabled until the next morning, when all present will have had a chance to
read it.The revised proposal will
be reviewed by five scientists outside the NE region.After their comments are incorporated,
the proposal will go to the NERA Multistate Advisory Committee for a
recommendation and then to the NERA Directors for a final vote.
State, Federal and Provincial Site Reports for 2001.A discussion arose
concerning continued Canadian participation.It was noted that NE184 seed meets
Canadian Federal standards but provincial rules in NB or PEI prevent us from
sending seed from a farm with the ring rot pathogen present. State reports
updated the meeting participants on clone performance and weather conditions
Comments from Industry Representatives.No industry
representatives were present. C. Yencho suggested that we should invite
industry representatives to one of our meetings every few years, and that we
have a session where we listen to them (rather than have them listen to
us).D. Halseth suggested that we
could also invite them to observe some of our trials.
Pathology Test Reports.
Nematology (B. Brodie).This activity continues to offer
all breeding programs screening for resistance to the golden
nematode.Currently he is
evaluating NY, ME, USDA (Beltsville), NB and Frito Lay material.He can screen for resistance to
both races Ro1 and Ro2.Ro2
has been found on grower's land where 5-6 years of successive plantings of
Ro1-resistant lines has apparently selected for Ro2.
Early Blight and Powdery Scab(B. Christ).Reports on clone performance were
Late Blight, Corky Ringspot and
TSWV (P. Weingartner)All
three diseases were observed in Florida this
year.Late blight reactions
looked like race US-11.Corky
ringspot data were distributed as well.
Ring Rot (D. Lambert).Ring rot test results were distributed.
Viruses (G. Sewell, Maine).One ARS line from WI and one AF
line look to be resistant to PLRV.A brief report on these
results is available from G. Sewell.
New pathologist.L. Wanner (BARC/USDA) will work
with scab and has an interest in durable disease resistance.
New York (W. De Jong and R. Plaisted).R. Plaisted mentioned that NY112 is
being considered for release.It does well in PA, NY, ME.Farther west or south yields and specific gravity are observed to
USDA, Beltsville (K. Haynes).Not present, but a written report
Yencho).He is making a
limited number of crosses, trying to fish out genes involved in leptine
synthesis, and he is performing some early generation selection.
Maine (G. Porter).Planting plans were already in place when Al Reeves passed away
last May.There is no written
report this year, but one can find a progress report in the NE Potato
Special Grant proposal. Interviews for a new potato breeder will start
Brunswick (G. Tai).Their breeding report was
distributed. Their new policy on releases was described. Frying potato
clones are evaluated for six years.Then interested parties can perform non-exclusive testing for a
further two years.After this
period parties may bid for three years of exclusive testing.Six year renewable license
agreements are available after this time.Chipping potato are evaluated for
eight years or more, and then bidding takes place after three years of
exclusive evaluation.Ultimately six year renewable licenses are negotiated.
Results using cluster and AMMI analysis (G. Tai).AMMI and
cluster analyses results were distributed.AMMI provides a simple, easy way to interpret and summarize multistate
trial data.D. Halseth and a
graduate student assembled the 1998-2001 data for analysis, which was
distributed as a summary report.
Seed Orders.G. Porter distributed a ¡¥shopping list¡¨
of advanced clones.He noted that
there were some seed quality problems this past year, and expressed hope to do
better this coming year.They are
now performing extra testing to ensure freedom from viruses and ring rot.Breeders' seed constitutes an increasing
percentage of the original propagules multiplied by NE-184 each year.
Old Business.B0564-8 and AF1753-16 were nominated to
represent NE184 in the 2002 national trial.G. Porter reminded the group that last
year we had decided to place all our reports up on a web site.A committee of C. Hutchinson, D. Halseth,
B. Christ, D. Lambert formed to investigate development of a NE184 database and
web site, and will report back to the technical committee next year.They will evaluate if we want/need a
common data format for future field-testing performance reporting.
Site committee selection report.Next years meeting is
to be held in North Carolina, possibly Charlotte, Raleigh or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.Date - January 23 and
Nominations committee report.Next year's Executive
Committee are -- Matt Kleinhenz, Chair; Walter De Jong, Vice-chair; and Craig
Alvin F. Reeves, potato breeder and long-time NE-184 participant, passed away
in May of 2001, let us observe a moment of silence in his memory and gratefully
recognize his many NE-184 accomplishments and the years of friendship that we
shared with him."
adjourned at , January
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND IMPACTS:
The NE-184 project was formed in the mid-1970s to respond
to the trend to ever increasing proportions of potatoes being industrially
processed for consumption. One goal was to replace pesticide dependency with
naturally resistant selections carrying improved industrial-processing
characteristics.Another goal was
to increase the quality attributes of potatoes grown in the region to enhance
their suitability for processing markets and fresh consumption.A third goal was to develop replacement
potato cultivars that were less costly to grow and better suited to processing
and regional fresh market niches.
2001 Outputs: Advanced
clone testing:Nineteen advanced
breeding lines were evaluated against 10 NE-184 "standards" in
replicated field trials in 2001. As expected, performance varied by location.
But several selections outperformed standard lines at several locations.
Measures of performance included yield, yield of US#1 tubers, chipping color
after storage, cooking characteristics, and specific gravity (an indicator of
dry matter content).
Germplasm trials: Several
sites tested breeding materials of varying stages of development against named
cultivars. Performance measures included total yield and size distributions,
specific gravity and cooking characteristics. Additionally disease resistance
and physiological defects were recorded.
Project Impacts: As a result of this project¡¦s efforts many replacement
potato cultivars have been adopted region-wide by growers. As a consequence of
these cultivar replacements pesticide dependency has been reduced significantly
in the region. Although reliable numbers on pesticide sales are not available
from pesticide companies, testimonials by East coast potato growers attest to
the reduced need to spray crops for diseases and insect pests on the
replacement cultivars. Moreover, the substitution of golden nematode resistant
potato cultivars in New York is said to have saved the state¡¦s industry from what would
have been otherwise its complete foreclosure.
One of the greatest successes of the project is the ability
to predict on-farm cultivar performance, based on field test results obtained
by the project from plots planted from maritime Canada to Florida. These tests have allowed for the selection of
cultivars that are either broadly adapted, or adapted to specific environment.
As a result, the NE-184 developed cultivars are known to perform well in varied
soil and climatic conditions. Moreover, potato grower participation in the
on-farm demonstration of these selections has let to their rapid adoption, and
the consequent impacts. Further, the project is currently testing and
validating new statistical models that enable scientists to predict a potato
selection¡¦s performance, allowing for more efficient breeding and variety
development schemes in the future.
A study by the InternationalPotatoCenter (Lima,
Peru) on the economic returns for NE-184 investments
has shown an annual rate of return from the NE-184 activities to exceed 40%,
for a total net farm value that exceeds $14 million. This rate of return and
the resulting pay-off competes favorably with some of the best internal rates
of return obtained from agricultural research and extension investments.
PUBLICATIONS: G. Porter is preparing a summary document to be put online.D. Halseth is organizing a project to
put all other project reports online.
AUTHORIZATIONS: David R. MacKenzie, Administrative Advisor
Experiment Station Section
NATIONAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES
2005 - 2010
The following five research
areas (in bold) were selected as the highest priority areas for future research
activities by the SAES/ARD Directors at their Workshop in New Orleans,
September 26-28, 2000. The statement below each area (in italics) represents
the primary outcome-oriented goal desired from research in that area. The bullet
under each area indicates areas for more specific research activities of
critical national need within each high priority area.
1. Environment, Natural Resources, and Landscape
Natural resources will be managed to improve the
environment and the economy.
ecosystems/watershed management, quality and quantity
management, and preservation
2. Relationship of Food to Human Health
Food will always contribute to human health.
health impacts of food, diet, and environment
safe food throughout the food value chain
and functional foods
3. Rural Community Vitality
Agricultural science will help rural communities
and application of new technologies
facing rural people
of commodity-based and product-based enterprises
4. Biobased Products
Biobased products will be central to sustaining
the economy and the environment.
and biobased materials
enhancement and preservation
and functional foods
economic, and environmental dimensions of technological change
5. Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics
Genomic science will help assure global health
and well being.
enhanced plants, animals, and microorganisms
techniques to advance genomic science
risk assessment, and consumer use
 Executive Directors, Northeastern, Southern, North Central, and
Western Regional Associations of State Agricultural Experiment Station
Directors, respectively. For more information contact the first author at
 The USDA¡¦s five goals are: An agricultural system that is highly
competitive in the global economy; A safe and secure food and fiber system; A
healthy, well nourished population; An agricultural system which enhances
natural resources and the environment; and Enhanced economic opportunity and quality
of life for Americans. The Federal-State Partnership in agricultural research
has adopted the 5 goals of the USDA