INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Background information related to proposed budget reductions
November 20, 2002
This is a response to address issues raised by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Academic Planning Committee (APC) and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) clientele regarding conversion of the South Central Research and Extension Center at Clay Center to a field laboratory and closure of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte. Carrying out much of this response is conditional upon adequate funding. Adequate funding hinges in large part upon actions the Governor and Legislature take in the next legislative session, beginning January 2003, as they work to balance the budget.
The APC made several recommendations regarding IANR's cuts. One is that South Central Research and Extension Center faculty remain at Clay Center. A second is that the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Platte remain open.
IANR consistently has made clear that we would prefer not to make these cuts, and would not do so had nearly $4 million not been cut from our budget in less than a year. Unfortunately, that has occurred, and we no longer can support all the good programs we have supported in the past. We must make these cuts or:
||IANR will not generate the budgetary savings necessary to balance the budget in light of the third round cut of $2,028,767 assessed the Institute; or
||IANR will have to redirect the cut to other valuable programs we expect will draw the same vociferous opposition from other constituents and faculty as did the cuts originally proposed.
In the course of considering the proposed budget reductions, several related issues were raised by clientele, faculty and staff. Below is background information summarizing information related to questions that arose during the APC hearing process, and IANR recommendations related to those questions.
I. Regarding the proposed closing of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the West Central Research & Extension Center, the question was raised about how the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources would provide veterinary education if the North Platte laboratory were to close.
Dr. Steve Ensley, currently stationed at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte, has a 50 percent veterinary extension appointment and a 50 percent veterinary diagnostic appointment. Dr. Ensley's greatest strength is in the diagnostic arena. He also has skills in extension education and would like to continue work in both arenas. To capitalize on Dr. Ensley's strengths and accommodate the veterinary extension educational needs of Nebraska's livestock industry, IANR proposes to move Dr. Ensley into a tenure-track diagnostic pathology position in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. This redefined position would be 75 percent diagnostic work and 25 percent extension education. (See Section III below.)
To help ensure western Nebraska veterinary extension education needs are met, IANR is looking at creating a veterinary extension education position to serve western Nebraska. The position would be an extension educator with a veterinary medicine degree, but a PhD would not be required. Assuming adequate resources after the next Legislative session, the position would be funded through redirection of extension educator funds. It would be a non-tenure leading position co-directed by the Panhandle Research and Extension Center and West Central Research and Extension Center district directors and by the head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. This position would be part of an educational team comprised of the new veterinary extension educator, Steve Ensley, and extension veterinarian specialists Dave Smith in Lincoln and Dee Griffin in Clay Center, to address the veterinary livestock educational needs of veterinary practitioners, farmers and ranchers.
Implementing this model actually would result in an increase in extension education FTE focusing on the veterinary education needs of the cattle industry as shown below:
|2001 - FTE
||Proposed 2003 - FTE
The new veterinarian could be located at North Platte, at Scottsbluff or in the West Central or Panhandle Districts at a Cooperative Extension county office.
During the course of considering potential cuts, the question was raised about the threat of bioterrorism vulnerability if the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is closed at North Platte.
Bioterrorism is a concern throughout the United States. In assessing any laboratory's place in such a scenario, it is important to know what would occur should Nebraska's animal population be a bioterrorism target. The first person to see a case of Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) will be the animal owner, who will call a veterinary practitioner. If the veterinarian suspects a FAD, he/she is obligated by law to report his/her suspicion to the USDA Veterinarian-in-Charge (VIC) for Nebraska, or the Nebraska State Veterinarian, who will in turn report it to the VIC. The USDA then must send a USDA veterinarian to investigate, and any samples collected must be shipped to the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Center at Plum Island, New York. If a FAD is suspected, the case cannot be sent to a UNL diagnostic laboratory.
Neither the satellite laboratory at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte nor the satellite laboratory recently closed at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff is or was certified as a BL 3 laboratory, and therefore is not secure for bioterriorism diagnosis testing. Neither is the Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Lincoln. As noted above, samples must be shipped to the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Center at Plum Island, New York.
If the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission receives the federal money for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing that they hope to receive, they could hire a veterinarian who could deal with wildlife diseases and also have responsibilities for FAD diagnostic surveillance. There is no indication the Game and Parks Commission would be interested in using those funds to support an extension veterinarian.
In looking at the caseload at West Central last calendar year (2001), they had a total of 645 cases submitted to that lab (53.7 per month). Those cases involved 223 necropsies. Of those necropsies, 48 percent were from Lincoln County alone, and 73 percent were from Lincoln County and those counties that border Lincoln County. Therefore, a significant number of necropsies are done for producers and practitioners that are in fairly close proximity to the West Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
The total West Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory caseload thus far in 2002 (January 1 @ November 14) is 786, which is higher than last year. Some of these cases are simply forage samples being tested for nitrate levels because of the drought. Even then, the West Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has an average caseload of 74.8 cases per month. Of those cases, 333 were completed at West Central. The remaining 453 cases required testing that had to be done in Lincoln.
A related question was raised about the possibility of increasing diagnostic fees in order to support the continued operation of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Platte be supported by increasing diagnostic fees?
In addressing the issue of whether increasing laboratory fees could maintain the West Central Research and Extension Center Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Platte, it is necessary to assess the complexities of the fee structure. Just increasing the diagnostic fees for services provided by the North Platte laboratory itself, such as admission fees, necropsy fees, bacteriology fees, parasitology, etc; isn't going to generate enough gross revenue to support that operation.
In 2001, the North Platte Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory performed just 3,809 tests. Applying the current fee schedule rate to these tests, they would have generated a maximum of $46,808 of fee revenue at that laboratory. However, the fee schedule provides for discounts in various ways, so it is very unlikely that laboratory actually generated that much revenue. In either case, the fees at that laboratory would have to be increased by more than four times to generate enough revenue to support the current diagnostic laboratory operation.
It is not feasible to add new tests at the North Platte Laboratory in order to significantly increase revenues. The level of expertise required to support the more sophisticated tests would be very difficult to create at North Platte. This would require a much higher level of expertise, manpower and equipment necessary to assure rapid results and troubleshooting, which does not exist. Additionally, much of the sophisticated equipment in the Veterinary Diagnostic Center (VDC) used in Lincoln to support these tests is shared and utilized for multiple purposes research, as well as diagnostics. This moving such equipment would damage productive ongoing research programs.
The North Platte laboratory generates about 5 percent of the revenues generated by the VDC. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of the VDC's revenue this year came from nontraditional diagnostics that cannot be conducted at North Platte. For example, the bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) testing program is estimated to be responsible for greater than 35 percent of the Lincoln laboratory's gross fees. Other larger volume accounts this year were USDA, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and several large volume serology testing programs on pseudorabies virus (PRV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) conducted for public and private clients, none of which can be conducted at North Platte.
The large-volume testing services provided to nontraditional industry, government, and out-of-state clients by the VDC generate considerable income even though there is a very small margin-over-cost on each individual test. Examples are the West Nile virus testing, federal scrapie testing, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) research contracts. These activities support purchases of equipment and provide stable jobs for highly skilled technical support so that the diagnostic laboratory can provide affordable diagnostics to food animals in a fashion that is competitive with surrounding laboratories. Food animal cases, including those dominating the North Platte caseload are the primary reasons for the existence of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory program, but these cases are generally very expensive and the lab does not fully recover costs on the majority of these tests. Thus the large-volume diagnostic testing contributes significantly to supporting the food animal diagnostic testing program and contributes to animal health research as well as surveillance for emerging new diseases and foreign or exotic animal diseases.
It is not feasible to increase fees on the nontraditional and out-of-state clients in order to keep the North Platte facility open. The VDC is nationally recognized as the leader for conducting the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test for BVDV, and this test alone accounts for 35 percent of the gross revenue generated by the veterinary diagnostic program. However, the VCC fee for conducting this test is already the most expensive test nationally, for any laboratory that is doing a large volume of these tests. The test now competes with new, cheaper fluorescent antibody technologies. Increasing the fee could result in lost clients and an overall reduction in gross revenue. The scrapie and CWD contracts are negotiated with state and federal agencies and are set for the year. The scrapie contract is obtained through a nationally competitive bidding process and we only got the contract by having a competitive testing fee. Any revenue over expenses is due to the large-volume efficiency of the VDC. CWD testing at Nebraska is 20 percent higher than surrounding states already. Nebraska Game and Parks agreed to the higher fee because of factors associated with convenience and location. The West Nile contract was a successful one-year contract and a renewal is not anticipated next year from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as it is doubtful that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will continue to invest as heavily in West Nile Virus surveillance now that it has spread across the United States. New technologies also have entered the picture which may allow DHHS to do their own testing in the future.
In checking the fee schedules for the diagnostic laboratories in surrounding states (Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado), Nebraska's fees are higher in general than those states. There are occasional tests that Nebraska does for less, but the overall costs are greater at the Nebraska laboratory. This is a reflection of varying levels of state subsidy. The high fees in comparison suggest that if we were to raise our fees higher, Nebraska veterinarians would have an even larger economic incentive to send their cases to other states. We know that fee levels are important. For example, we know of veterinarians in the Panhandle who already pool cases from several ranches or feedlots into a single submission/case to avoid a $7 admission fee for each ranch, and instead pay a single $7 admission fee for all.
In summary, it just does not seem feasible to maintain the North Platte Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory by raising test fees.
II. With regard to the recommendations on the Research and Extension Centers, the question was raised about how IANR could continue to serve the South Central Research and Extension Center clientele. Described below are short and long-term plans for continuation of services.
IANR will implement a short-term plan for continuing to serve South Central Research and Extension Center clientele, while building further education and research for the area into IANR's strategic plan.
APC and South Central clientele would like to see current South Central Research and Extension Center faculty positions physically remain at Clay Center. The faculty greatly appreciate that support. The faculty also say that the top priority is a viable research farm/field laboratory, and that the multidisciplinary approach that has been their trademark continue. However, they say to continue to be a productive team, they must have both sufficient office support resources and a full complement of faculty expertise.
With the research field laboratory operational, and current South Central faculty relocated to Lincoln or another research and extension center, the network of Cooperative Extension offices in the area will be IANR's focal point for interactions with local clientele. The Clay County Extension Office is located 4.5 miles from the current SCREC Headquarters, and so is convenient for area producers. That site has broadband internet access and can serve as a local information site for clientele. Other county extension offices in the area also have good connectivity and can serve as a local point of contact. These include the extension office for Adams County in Hastings; the Hall County office in Grand Island; the Hamilton County office in Aurora, and the Fillmore County office in Geneva.
Another possibility is to expand the use of Web-based delivery of timely information. This has proven successful in regards to plant diseases. The Plant Disease Central Web site is highly used and well-regarded by clientele, crop consultants, and extension educators.
Other options for connecting with local clientele on a regular basis include telephone conference calls. These currently are used by faculty at research and extension centers across the state during the growing season. Videoconference programming delivered via satellite and CD-ROM are other ways of meeting this need.
Relocated faculty will continue to be involved in research at the South Central Field Laboratory, and so will be at the laboratory location when conducting research there. Technicians supporting the faculty will be headquartered at the South Central Field Laboratory. Office space will be found for the technicians by working in cooperation with USMARC. In addition, operating support for travel and some "swing" offices and space to process samples will be provided faculty when they are working at the South Central Field Laboratory.
Pending adequate funding, IANR would like to release a "Water Resources Engineer" position to be advertised and filled. The proposed 60 percent extension and 40 percent research position will be located in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Additional cuts to the IANR budget this next legislative session will affect the possibility of filling this position. The water resources engineer is a 12-month, tenure-leading research and extension position to be housed in Chase Hall. Filling a water resources engineer position in Lincoln, to have statewide responsibilities with an emphasis on water management needs in the south central region of Nebraska, is seen as the best alternative to bridge the lack of research and extension education support that has resulted from position eliminations and freezes because of budget cutbacks.
This person would participate as a member of a multidisciplinary group of faculty currently associated with the South Central Research and Extension Center, and play an important liaison role with the Natural Resource Districts, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the various irrigation districts in South Central Nebraska.
IANR has ongoing irrigation and water research across its statewide system. All faculty working in water research at the research and extension centers and in Lincoln are doing work of value to the state, including the south central region. However, heavy commitments of those faculty, coupled with budget cuts, mean help is needed to provide south central Nebraska, a focal point for irrigated agriculture in the state, with research and continuing education programs. Longer term, two water engineering positions are needed to adequately address water issues for all of Nebraska.
For decades the Department of Biological Systems Engineering has addressed water resource engineering needs of Nebraska, through collaboration between faculty at the research and extension centers and water faculty in Lincoln. Unfortunately, three faculty positions have become open and remained unfilled in this area due to budget uncertainty. When one faculty member who worked on the impact of irrigation methods and management on groundwater quality retired two years ago, the position was eliminated in a budget cut. At about the same time, another faculty member was transferred to a new position within the Cooperative Extension Division, curtailing his extension education in irrigation and drinking water quality concerns. In 2001 a water engineer at the South Central Research and Extension Center left. He worked on reducing atrazine loss from irrigated fields, irrigation management, interactions of tillage and irrigation. He was just initiating a large field experiment on subsurface drip irrigation, which has been put on hold. Although the department requested filling these water resources positions, IANR has been unable to do so because of budget cuts.
Although currently short three engineering positions, faculty in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering continue to do the best they can to meet Nebraska's research and extension education water needs. Currently there are faculty whose focus is water resources based at the West Central, Northeast, and Panhandle Research and Extension Centers, plus four engineering faculty in water resources on campus. These center faculty all work in irrigation management, and will help satisfy immediate extension education concerns in the south central region. One of the water faculty in Lincoln has a teaching and research appointment dealing primarily with center pivot irrigation; he is one of Nebraska's main authorities on water rights in the Republican River dispute with Kansas. Another has a teaching and research appointment; his research is in measuring and managing surface irrigation and in hydrologic engineering. A third has a joint extension and research position; his efforts are on improving surface water quality by improved management to reduce pesticide loss and vegetative filter strip design and performance. Together two other faculty constitute 1.0 FTE in pollution prevention, with their remaining appointments in Civil Engineering. Their extension and research effort is aimed at reducing waste and protecting groundwater.
A number of current and recently completed research projects being conducted by other UNL research faculty also have direct bearing on some of the agricultural and environmental challenges facing south central Nebraska. The following are just a few of the more pertinent ones:
|Several faculty working on irrigation projects include Dean Yonts (Biological Systems Engineering/Panhandle Research and Extension Center), Bill Krantz (Biological Systems Engineering/Northeast Research and Extension Center), and Jose Payero (Biological Systems Engineering/West Central Research and Extension Center) (all off-campus); Dean Eisenhauer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Jim Schepers and others in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture here on campus.
||Several UNL faculty work on the importance of riparian buffer strips (especially streamside vegetation) for maintaining water quality, including Dean Eisenhauer, Tom Franti (Department of Biological Systems Engineering), and Roy Spalding (Department of Agronomy and Horticulture). Mike Dosskey (USDA Agroforestry Center and School of Natural Resource Sciences), Jim Brandle (School of Natural Resource Sciences) and Kyle Hoagland (School of Natural Resource Sciences) recently received funding to conduct research in this area.
||Groundwater-surface water interactions, a key issue in south central Nebraska, is a particularly strong area of research at UNL, with faculty from Geosciences (Vitaly Zlotnik), Conservation and Survey Division (Xun-Hong Chen), Department of Biological Systems Engineering (Derrel Martin), and School of Natural Resource Sciences (Ed Harvey) participating.
||Non-point source pollution of surface water and groundwater, and watershed hydrology are areas of research addressed by several at UNL, including Tom Franti, Roy Spalding, Charlie Wortman (Department of Agronomy and Horticulture), and Vitaly Zlotnik and Joe Szilagyi (Conservation and Survey Division).
||John Holz (School of Natural Resource Sciences), Don Rundquist(School of Natural Resource Sciences/Conservation and Survey Division/CALMIT), Jim Merchant (Conservation and Survey Division, School of Natural Resource Sciences), Istvan Bogardi (Civil Engineering), Sheri Fritz (Geosciences), and Kyle Hoagland are conducting a statewide lake classification study, which includes south central Nebraska, and ultimately will contribute to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality setting Total Maximum Daily Load (which deals mainly with phosphorus and nitrogen in runoff from agricultural fields) water quality standards across the state. This is a critical topic for agriculturally dominated portions of Nebraska, such as the south central region.
The extension water faculty within IANR meet monthly to plan statewide extension programming. During the sessions, this faculty group assesses what is occurring in the state concerning water-related issues, and what action is necessary to respond to Nebraska needs. Technicians and extension educators occasionally are included in the assessment sessions. Input comes from a number of sources, including extension educators. Individual research and extension center faculty work closely with the educators in their region. Extension educators forward needs into Lincoln through specialists. The UNL Water Center also conducts an annual water sciences research forum to assist in the exchange of research information and ideas, and to foster interdisciplinary research.
There are many ongoing efforts relating to crop research across the system. Crop research is essential to Nebraska, as is the extension education that teaches the results of research to clientele, providing them knowledge they can use. Few IANR faculty have appointments in solely research, teaching, or extension; most have a combination of at least two, and sometimes three. Usually faculty at the research and extension centers have both research and extension appointments.
In the best of all worlds, with adequate budgets and no budget cuts, the South Central Research and Extension Center would continue as a center providing research and extension education there, with a focus on irrigated corn and corn-based systems. By maintaining the South Central field laboratory, or research farm, and the faculty associated with South Central, albeit in another location, plus their support staff, who will remain at the field laboratory, research efforts on irrigated corn and corn-based systems continues, as does other crop research done across the state.
The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture has complementary research on irrigated corn conducted at the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, and the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte. With the research conducted at the South Central field laboratory, this work provides an integrated program on irrigated corn in Nebraska.
Extension education programs relating to irrigated corn and other crops will continue in south central Nebraska. Faculty with extension education appointments at IANR's West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte, Northeast Research and Extension Center at Norfolk and Concord, and the faculty who have been at the South Central Research and Extension Center and will be moving elsewhere, will be available to maintain active extension education programs for south central producers. Extension soils faculty include: Charles Shapiro, Northeast Research and Extension Center; David Tarkalson-West Central Research and Extension Center, and Richard Ferguson, location to be determined. Weed science faculty include Gail Wicks, West Central Research and Extension Center; Stevan Knezevic, Northeast Research and Extension Center; and Fred Roeth, location to be determined. Agronomists Roger Elmore, location to be determined; Robert Klein, West Central Research and Extension Center; and Robert Caldwell, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. These scientists contribute to the overall program on corn production systems and represent a significant level of investment in this research and extension area.
IANR will include a long-term plan for continuing to serve South Central Nebraska clientele in its strategic plan.
Since 1988, the Institute has followed a carefully developed strategic plan that has been revised regularly. The strategic plan update will begin in December and will be led by Dr. Alan Baquet. It is expected to take a minimum of six months to complete. It will be a comprehensive update, because budgetary reductions to IANR and the degree of change affecting the agricultural industry, rural communities, families, and individuals has been significant. In addition, the current plan was last updated in March of 2000, covering the time frame 2000 to 2008. These factors suggest the time is ripe for a thorough re-examination of IANR programs and delivery mechanisms, looking deeply at all three facets of our mission in teaching, research, and extension education. In updating IANR's strategic plan, some emphasis will be placed on addressing how IANR meets the long- term needs of clientele in Nebraska's south central region after the South Central Research and Extension Center is converted to a field laboratory.
For the overall update, the goal is to use engagement opportunities to identify needs of stakeholders and students, and to determine how to best meet those needs. As has been the practice in previous IANR strategic planning activities, the update will be developed working in concert with local clientele across the state and with students, faculty, and staff through a series of listening sessions. Special effort will be made to seek citizen input from those not traditionally seen as IANR clientele in order to gain more depth and perspective on how IANR should shape its programs. A broad representation of individuals constituting the interests of agriculture, natural resources, communities, families, and individuals will serve on the planning team. With the ongoing effort to look at extension education and outreach systemwide, throughout the strategic planning process there will be emphasis on the interrelationship between Cooperative Extension and research as priority needs, and ways to meet them in the future.
The question has been raised: Is there duplication in livestock research at the research and extension centers that could be eliminated in order to keep SCREC open?
No. While we have beef feedlot facilities at the Agricultural Research and Extension Center (ARDC) near Mead, the Haskell Ag Laboratory (HAL), Concord, part of the Northeast Research and Extension Center, and at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, the work done at one site does not duplicate work done elsewhere. Some of these facilities are inadequate for present and future needs.
Feedlot research conducted at the Northeast Research and Extension Center is on effects of heat stress and cold stress on physiology and performance of growing-finishing cattle. Dr. Terry Mader conducts this unique research at HAL, where he maintains nearly full capacity of the feedlot there.
Beef feedlot research at the Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) near Mead is directed at nutritional management, with focus on feeding grain processing by-products, other agronomic byproducts, and combinations of the same for effects on growth performance, nutrient use and nutrient excretion, including composting studies with manure from feedlot studies. The ARDC feedlot also is the primary site for intervention strategies studies for reducing prevalence of E. coli 0157:H7 in feedlot cattle. Inadequate capacity at present forces us to feed some cattle at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte. Facilities there are not designed as feedlot facilities; they are for reproductive management studies with growing beef heifers and mature beef cows. Cows at the West Central Research and Extension Center were sold and replaced with heifers to accommodate unique intensive reproductive research faculty member Rick Funston will do there on heifer growth and reproductive function.
Research at the feedlot facilities at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center focuses on production systems for finishing yearling steers. The research is directed at developing least cost systems that involve grazing on native and managed grasslands as well as crop residues followed by a feedlot phase that evaluates the quality of by-products such as beet pulp and discard dry beans as ration ingredients. The environment in the Panhandle is very different than that at ARDC or HAL and there are a growing number of feedlots in the western part of the state.
The Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) is a unique set of resources most representative of actual conditions experienced in beef cattle ranching. Evaluation of management strategies under real-world conditions cannot be duplicated anywhere else in IANR. The cattle, the handling facilities, the collaboration across disciplines have resulted in major positive economic impact for beef cattle producers in most of Nebraska. The GSL and Barta Brothers ranch allow alternative calving dates and alternative nutritional and reproductive management to be evaluated through a "systems" approach to tie together the ecological impact, the economic impact and the practicality of those management alternatives. The extensive conditions at GSL cannot provide the environment in which intensive research projects are conducted.
The physiology beef cow herd at ARDC is suited strictly for reproductive research of a type not able to be done at GSL because intensive investigations are conducted with ARDC cattle that cannot be conducted under field conditions. The teaching beef cow herd cannot be used for physiology research nor can it replace the herd at GSL. It is much smaller and is used for unique genetic research and teaching purposes, including having students prepare the bull sale catalogue and actually conduct the bull sale each spring. The physiology herd at ARDC and the GSL herd are not of the genetics required to sell breeding males.
The Dalbey-Hallek cattle herd near Virginia is used in systems research, but under markedly different ecological conditions compared with the Sandhills location; far different feedstuffs are available in the two locations.
Because feedlot facilities at ARDC are of inadequate capacity, the Department of Animal Science has developed a plan to expand capacity there by 600 to 800 head per year. It is not economically feasible to ship cattle to PHREC, and again, resources are not available there for support staff needed.
The swine facilities at the West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte were closed this year because of budget reductions. The swine reproductive physiology position at the South Central Research and Extension Center was given up in a recent round of budget cuts. A beef research/extension position was unable to be filled at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in 1999.
Swine facilities at HAL are of a one-of-a-kind design as is the type of research conducted there and cannot be conducted at ARDC because the facilities are of a different design. Other livestock facilities at ARDC are unique, in that there are no other dairy cattle facilities anywhere else in the university system. IANR closed the sheep unit at ARDC, converting it to use for received feedlot cattle.
III. The APC opposes the termination of tenure-track faculty and recommends that two tenure-track faculty given notice of dismissal effective October 8, 2003, be retained.
For the reasons set forth in the Chancellors report on his final budget recommendations, IANR is making provision to retain these two positions.
Dr. James Stack, currently located at the South Central Research and Extension Center, will be offered an assignment in the Department of Plant Pathology in Lincoln, his focus on diseases of corn and sorghum. Dr. Stack will have the statewide responsibilities of all IANR specialists, with a special emphasis on south central Nebraska. He will be placed on a tenure-leading line in the Department of Plant Pathology to be permanently funded from funds generated when the next faculty member separates from the department. In the interim, temporary salary savings will bridge Dr. Stack's salary until permanent funding becomes available. Salary and benefits will be funded by the IANR Deans in proportion to Dr. Stack's 75 percent extension and 25 percent research appointment. Dr. Stack is eligible for tenure consideration this year and, if successful in attaining tenure, it will be granted effective July 1, 2003.
Dr. Steve Ensley, currently located at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Platte, will be offered a reassignment to the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences to work in the Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Lincoln. He will be placed on a tenure-leading line to be permanently funded in part from a vacant lecturer line in the department, plus funding redirected from the budget of the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center (GPVEC) at Clay Center. This redirected funding from GPVEC is possible because of program changes there. Budget will be redirected from research to extension activities. Dr. Ensley's appointment will be 75 percent research (diagnostic) and 25 percent veterinary extension.