Vol. 1 · No. 2 · May 17, 2007

UPDATE FROM CREATE-21 CO-CHAIRS

Jeff Armstrong, L. Washington Lyons, and Bob Steele have asked us to forward the following message to you:

CREATE-21/Farm Bill Update - NOT a Call to Action

As you know, Farm Bill reauthorization activities are in full gear. Both the Senate and the House have held hearings on the Research Title of the bill with presentations made on CREATE-21, the Administration’s proposal, and the Danforth proposal. Bruce McPheron (Penn State) presented testimony on behalf of CREATE-21 at the House hearing last week and did a fantastic job. In addition, National C-FAR recently hosted information sessions on the Hill for congressional members and staff, focusing (separately) on CREATE-21 and the Danforth proposals.

S. 1094 (CREATE-21) was introduced in the Senate on April 12 by Senators Stabenow and Casey. The House is working on language for their version of a bill that reflects much of what has been proposed by the CREATE-21/Farm Bill Committee. This bill may be introduced in the House by May 22 and will be a modified version of S. 1094 that will exclude ARS, Forest Service R&D, and ERS in the reorganization. It will also include statutory changes recommended by our 1890 colleagues as well as those which relate to programs in nutrition, forestry, rural development, international trade, energy, and conservation that were proposed through the BAA’s Farm Bill Committee process. Several other suggestions (e.g. veterinary medicine, eXtension) will be included in report language. Most of these are now posted on the CREATE-21 Web site: (create-21.org/provisions.htm)

Throughout this process of advocacy for CREATE-21 there has been substantial “push-back” on the proposed reorganization which would combine ARS, CSREES, ERS, and Forestry R & D. (There has also been similar concern expressed about the Administration’s proposed reorganization.) This opposition has had some resonance among staff in both House and Senate, such that discussions are ongoing as to mechanisms that can be legislated to ensure greater programmatic efficiency and effectiveness among programs within USDA without a complete reorganization.

We are confident that language emanating from the House committee will address this in ways which maintain the principles of CREATE-21 but not totally merge the agencies. At the same time, there continues to be strong congressional support for inclusion of significant elements of the Danforth proposal (as with CREATE-21) to significantly bolster funding for fundamental research. There is also strong support for both protecting and growing institutional capacity (formula) programs with targeted enhancements for 1890, 1994, and small 1862 land-grants, and AASCARR institutions and increased funding for translational (integrated) research, extension, and education efforts.

It is anticipated the House subcommittee will markup their bill on May 22 with the Senate beginning the markup process during the week after the Memorial Day recess (the week of June 4). This is an accelerating (and ever changing) schedule with events happening fast and furiously.

The Cornerstone team is in constant discussion with staffers on the Hill as they draft their work for the committees to ensure that the principles upon which CREATE-21 is based are represented in the legislative drafts. The CREATE-21 leadership (the co-leaders and executive committee) and the Policy Board of Directors are being kept up-to-date as decisions need to be made.

If the CREATE-21 leadership believes a decision is minor and well within the principles approved by the system, we are making the decision and moving fast. If we believe a change is more pronounced, we are consulting with the PBD Chair, Fred Cholick. Regardless, we are keeping the PBD up-to-date.

We will continue to keep the BAA family informed as the process moves ever forward. Please be alert to “Calls to Action” that may be necessary within very short time frames. In the future, we will be sure to clearly note when a “Call to Action” is necessary. Let us ask you in advance to react quickly when you receive such a “Call to Action.”

Thank you for your support.

Jeffrey Armstrong, L. Washington Lyons, Robert Steele
CREATE-21 Cochairs