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Original Proposal
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Questions

01. What are the integral elements of the proposal?
02. Why is reorganization of USDA-REE an integral element?
03. Why is the authorization of "new funds" an integral element?
04. What are the compelling reasons behind the proposal?
05. How will the land-grant university system "change" under the proposal?

About the USDA-REE Reorganization Portion of The Proposal

06. What USDA agencies/elements are included within the new Institute?
07. Where are NASS, and NAL in the structure of the new Institute?
08. Will REE as it exists today continue to exist under the new Institute?
09. How will the Institute be more "efficient" than the present structure?
10. Will the reorganization result in a reduction of the USDA bureaucracy?
11. How will the Institute support the land-grant system as CSREES does now?

About the "New Funds" Portion of The Proposal

12. What are the two categories of "new funds?"
13. How was the 75% "competitive" and 25% "capacity" split determined?
14. Was mandatory funding for the Institute considered?
15. What will happen to the "Partnership" if new funds do not materialize?

About the "Capacity Funds" Category

16. Why is the term "capacity funds" being used?
17. Are all existing land-grant university formula funds maintained?
18. How do we justify continuation of these formula funds?
19. How will formula funds be distributed in the future?
20. What "matching" requirements will be required?
21. Is 4-H funding included within this category?
22. Is eXtension funding included within this category?

About the "Competitive Funds" Category

23. What institutions will be eligible to compete for these new competitive funds?
24. How was the 70% "fundamental" and 30% "integrated" split determined?
25. Under which category would the international programs most likely fall?

About the "Reserve Pool" Mechanisms within Competitive Funds Category

26. How would these "reserve pools" work?
27. How was the 20% reserve pool percentage determined?
28. Does the reserve pool apply to all "competitive funds" or only to "new funds?"
29. Will "Small 1862s" compete with 1890s/1994s/Insulars?
30. What is the definition of a "Small 1862" land-grant institution?
31. Will matching funds be required for participation in reserve pool competitions?

General Questions

01.

What are the integral elements of the proposal?

The CREATE-21 proposal has two "integral" elements: (1) creation of a new "National Institutes of Food and Agriculture" through consolidation of agencies, programs, and activities currently within the USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area (REE) and U.S. Forest Service R&D; and (2) authorization of new funding to increase the intramural capabilities of the Institute and its land-grant and related university partners and to increase competitive research programs to address critical food, agriculture, and natural resource problems. >>See Framework

02. Why is reorganization of USDA-REE an integral element?

U.S. food, agricultural, and natural resources research programs are currently divided among four USDA agencies: (1) the Agriculture Research Service (ARS); (2) the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES); (3) the Economic Research Service (ERS); and (4) Forest Service R&D (USFS R&D). As a result, there is frequent duplication among the agencies, no clearly identified "lead-agency" to address critical national issues (such as the relationship of food and nutrition to obesity), and a lack of integration across agencies.

03. Why is the authorization of "new funds" an integral element?

The United States is not keeping pace with other nations (most notably China and India) when it comes to public expenditures on food, agriculture, and natural resources discovery, enlightenment, and outreach. Statistics released by the FAO’s Science Council in December 2005, show that India and China increased public agricultural R&D spending from 1981 to 2000 by 248 percent and 200 percent (respectively), while spending in the United States grew by only 51 percent.

04. What are the compelling reasons behind the CREATE-21 proposal?

The Federal-State Partnership is not operating at optimal effectiveness due to a slow, steady decline in federal funding and a lack of integration and focus. The CREATE-21 proposal addresses both of those problems.

05. How will the land-grant university system "change" under the proposal?

As detailed in other parts of this Web site and spelled out below, the land-grant university system and its relationship with USDA would change dramatically under the CREATE-21 proposal. The most important changes can be summarized as follows:

The ratio of "competitive" to "capacity" funded programs and projects would change dramatically over the next seven years, from the current situation where capacity funding is predominant to a more balanced portfolio.

The land-grant system (and the Institute as a whole) would be more responsive to stakeholder needs, with stakeholder input occurring at local, state, and the national level.

About the USDA-REE Reorganization Portion of the Proposal

06. What USDA agencies/elements are included within the new Institute?

The Institute will include three existing agencies: (1) Agriculture Research Service; (2) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; and (3) Economic Research Service. The Institute will also include a portion of a third agency: U.S. Forest Service R&D.

07. Where are NASS, and NAL in the structure of the new Institute?

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) is a part of ARS and will be incorporated within the Institute. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will remain at USDA but outside the Institute.

08. Will REE as it exists today continue to exist under the new Institute?

No. Existing agencies (ARS, CSREES, and perhaps ERS) and Forest Service R&D will be consolidated into a single organization. However, the intramural capacity (offices, labs, facilities, personnel) currently in existence at ARS and Forest Service R&D would continue.

09. How will the Institute be more "efficient" than the present structure?

Presently, there is significant "overlap" between program areas within ARS, CSREES, and Forest Service R&D. (See: Program Overlap Analysis) The Institute will eliminate much of that overlap and thus increase organizational productivity, budgetary efficiency, and stakeholder service.

10. Will the reorganization result in a reduction of the USDA bureaucracy?

There may be elimination of some positions at the top echelons of current agencies as programmatic overlap is reduced. However, the CREATE-21 proposal envisions growth in intramural capacity within USDA to address many urgent problems that are best addressed by government-run laboratories or facilities.

11. How will the Institute support the land-grant system as CSREES does now?

The Institute will assume all of the land-grant support functions currently managed by CSREES, including administration of the formula funds and competitive programs. The Institute will also work to ensure that the 1890 Institutions, 1994 Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions receive priority attention.

About the "New Funds" Portion of the Proposal

12. What are the two categories of "new funds?"

The Institute would be authorized to receive two categories of funds: (1) capacity funds; and (2) competitive funds.

Capacity funds would provide basic support for the labs and facilities run by USDA (intramural) and the research, teaching, extension, and international programs run by USDA's land-grant and related university partners.

Competitive funds would be distributed through peer-reviewed competitions. Competitive programs would be open to all eligible institutions (not just land-grant and related universities), but 20% of new competitive funds would be reserved for minority-serving land-grant institutions (1890s, 1994s, Insulars) and "Small 1862" land-grant institutions (those receiving less than 1% of the annual CSREES budget).
13. How was the 70% "competitive" and 30% "capacity" split determined?

The split is designed to move from the current situation where capacity funding is dominant to a future where there is greater balance between the two categories. The logic is as follows:

Some 81% of current funding for ARS (≈$1.123 Billion), ERS (≈$75 Million) Forest Service R&D (≈$277 Million), and CSREES (≈$697 Million) goes to support either intramural USDA capacity or the capacity of the land-grant system. Only 9% of current funding (≈$252 Million at CSREES) goes to programs distributed through open, peer-reviewed competitions. (The remaining amount of the CSREES budget — ≈$249 Million — goes to "other" programs/projects, most notably special grants and federal administration.) Thus, the current capacity vs. competitive ratio is ≈90/10.

The CREATE-21 committee (and the land-grant system as a whole) has heard the clear messages sent by the White House, OMB, etc. that "future growth in funding will not happen unless the focus is shifted to competitive programs." That's why the 70% "competitive" and 30% "capacity" split was selected.

If the CREATE-21 proposal is enacted and fully funded, at the end of seven years the capacity/competitive ratio — considering both existing funds (≈$2.676 Billion) and new funds (≈$2.676 Billion) — would be 42% competitive vs. 58% capacity (42/58).

14. Was mandatory funding for the Institute considered?

Yes, "mandatory" funding mechanisms were considered and continue to be considered for inclusion within the final legislative package.

15. What will happen to the "USDA-Land-Grant University Partnership" if new funds do not materialize?

Without new funds, the Partnership cannot operate at peak efficiency. However, the CREATE-21 proposal will keep the existing formula funding mechanisms and funding levels in place. Thus the proposal is no worse than the status quo. (But, remember, we believe that the status quo is unacceptable. With very rare exceptions, the formula funds have been "level-funded" for the last 20 years. This slow and steady decline must be reversed.)

About the "Capacity Funds" Category

16. Why is the term "capacity funds" being used? Isn't there potential for confusion with the 1890 Institutions "capacity-building" fund?

As used in the CREATE-21 proposal, "capacity" means "the physical infrastructure, personnel, and equipment necessary to: (1) sustain the intramural capability of the Institute, the Federal-State Partnership, and the unique legal relationship of the United States to the chartering tribes of the 1994 Institutions; and (2) address pressing problems, provide solutions, assist stakeholders, and educate the public." The use of the word "capacity" in this proposal should be viewed in this broad sense and is in no way meant to alter the meaning or lessen the importance of the 1890 Institution's "Capacity Building" program.

17. Are all existing land-grant university formula funds maintained?

Yes, the formula funds and their statutory authorities are preserved.

18. How do we justify continuation of the formula funds?

(1) These funds are the "glue" that holds the Federal-State Partnership together.
(2) Several studies have documented an outstanding "return on investment" arising from the formula funds [See: "Formula for Success" (a large .pdf file)]. (3) Congress has — for two years in a row — rejected proposals contained in the Presidential Budget Request to eliminate and/or drastically change some of the formula fund programs administered by CSREES.

19. How will formula funds be distributed in the future?

Existing distribution mechanisms would continue unchanged.

20. What "matching" requirements will be required?

Appropriate matching requirements will continue to be required for the formula fund programs. Since existing statutory authorities for various land-grant programs distributed by formulae (Hatch, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health and Disease, Smith-Lever 3(b) and 3(c), Evans-Allen, and 1890s Extension) will not be altered, current matching requirements will continue in force.

21. Is 4-H funding included within this category?

Yes, 4-H is considered a "capacity" program. However, 4-H is such a strong priority for the Cooperative Extension System that funding for 4-H programs has in the past come from a number of Extension's CSREES line items (along, of course, from a variety of state and local sources). The CREATE-21 committee expects future funding for 4-H to be a strong and essential component within the capacity funding category.

22. Is eXtension funding included within this category?

Yes, eXtension is considered a "capacity" program. However, the CREATE-21 committee is mindful that eXtension when fully deployed is likely to touch literally hundreds of programs, projects, and activities sponsored by the land-grant system with funding provided both from the new Institute's capacity funding and from the "integrated" portion of the new competitive funding category. (See the answer to question No. 27, below.) We expect many (if not most) of the proposals submitted to the Institute for the 45% "integrative" (IFAFS-like) funds to include eXtension as a central element.

About the "Competitive Funds" Category

23. What institutions will be eligible to compete for these new competitive funds?

With the exception of the 20% "reserved pool" programs (see below), these competitive funds will be available to all eligible institutions, including: state agricultural experiment stations, all colleges and universities, other research institutions and organizations, federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations or corporations, and individuals.

24. How was the 55% "fundamental" and 45% "integrated" split determined?

The National Research Initiative, currently administered by CSREES, includes a requirement that 30% of the funds in the program be used for purposes where research is "integrated" with extension and/or education. The C-21 proposal would expand that requirement to 45% and apply it to all of the new competitive portfolio.

25. Under which category would the international programs most likely fall?

International programs would be funded primarily through competitive programs. Such grant programs might include research and extension as well as graduate student programs and international education experiences for undergraduates.

About the "Reserved-Pool" Mechanisms within Competitive Funds Category

26. How would these "reserve pools" work?

The CREATE-21 Committee was reminded of the report released by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) in May 2003 that documented the many problems which the 1890 Institutions and other minority-serving land-grants encounter in attempting to compete against major research institutions for National Research Initiative awards. To help remedy this situation, the proposal includes a provision requiring 20% of "new" competitive funding be "reserved" for minority-serving institutions and "Small 1862" land-grants.

27. How was the 20% reserve pool percentage determined?

One of the integral elements of the proposal is a doubling of funding for food, agriculture, and natural resources research, teaching, extension, and international activities over a period of seven years (with 75% of the new funds going to competitive programs). A reserve pool program growing in authorization from $0 to ≈$452 Million per year will provide tremendous opportunities for traditionally disadvantaged land-grants to increase their research and related programs. The 20% level was thought to be both fair and "do-able," but ultimately (and undoubtedly) the final percentage will be a decision made by Congress.

28. Does the 20% reserve pool apply to all "competitive funds" or only to "new funds?"

The reserve pool would apply only to "new" competitive monies (those appropriated beyond the F.Y. 2007 baseline).

29. Will "Small 1862s" compete with 1890s/1994s/Insulars?

The CREATE-21 Proposal envisions not a single program drawing from the 20% reserve pool, but rather several programs geared to the individual needs of the 1890 Institutions, 1994 Institutions, Insular Area Land-Grants, Small 1862s, and the Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

30. What is the definition of a "Small 1862" land-grant institution?

The CREATE-21 committee has defined a "Small 1862" land-grant institution as one receiving less than 1% annually of the total CSREES budget (in base funds and grants) over a rolling three-year period. Using data from fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005, this definition would delineate 17 institutions as "Small 1862" land-grants, including: University of Alaska, University of Connecticut, University of the District of Columbia, University of Delaware, University of Hawaii. University of Idaho, University of Maine, Montana State University, North Dakota State University, University of New Hampshire, New Mexico State University, University of Nevada, University of Rhode Island, South Dakota State University, Utah State University, University of Vermont, and University of Wyoming. (Although the land-grant institutions in the U.S. Insular Areas are 1862 institutions, they would have their own reserve pool program.)

31. Will matching funds be required for participation in the reserve pool competitions?

No. Matching funds will not be required of the 1890 Institutions, the 1994 Institutions, the Insular Area Land-Grants, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or the Small 1862s.

   

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