October 4th Conference Call

Attending: Margaret, Cyndi, Clint, Casey, Tom U, Rick, Debbie, Ellen, Pam, Shannon, Suzi (others???? ~ I didn’t hear everyone who logged in)


1. NIFA Strategic Planning Grant Readiness (Casey)

a. Call for SCRI proposals is out (RFPA, Request for Pre-Applications).

b. 4th quarter high level deadline: get relevancy review nominations to Tom B. by end of October.

c. Grant Preparation Task Force (Gail, Casey)

i. Call for Pre-Proposals Open

1. https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/rfa/FY%202017%20SCRI%20RFPA.pdf

2. Proposals are due November 15th

ii. Immediate next steps for proposal submission group (Gail and Ellen will conference call about deadlines and approach, this week)

1. Gail will put together a couple of form letters that can be used to solicit stakeholder support, as well as guidelines for soliciting feedback

a. David Close, Casey and Tom U. will be looped in, as well.

2. Tom U. asked if our group is exempt from the matching fund requirement? Ellen noted that we are exempt, since this will probably be going through a land-grant univ.

3. Casey noted that this proposal will be for a planning grant, to further hone our strategic planning process, which could pave the way for a larger grant, which could pave the way for farm bill impact and/or larger grant. Whether or not we get this grant is not a make or break for our group, but it is an important proof of concept.

2. Engagement

a. First Committee Meeting Dates Recap

i. Economic Committee has met (Debbie)

ii. Environmental Committee has met. (Cyndi)Cyndi has notes / minutes to meeting. Gail will post to Box (done)

iii. Social Committee has met (Pam)

iv. Industry Council will meet in next week (Clint)

v. Non-Profit Council will meet in the next 3-4 weeks (Shannon)

vi. Land Grant Research Council will meet in next month (Margaret)

vii. Suzi has been gathering marketing and PR people for the marketing committee

3. High-Level Planning Benchmarks (Suzi): Spreadsheet Available from Gail

a. Need to put together calendar of grant opportunities to fund activities

b. Tom B. noted grant funds would become available in March, we would finish our strategic planning in June of 2017.

c. Focused listening an important activity ~ to bring in folks from all sectors of industry, and to identify research gaps that could be the focus of future grant proposals

i. Debbie and Suzi mentioned that several groups are currently missing from current Farm Bill / SCRI: Urban Foresters Groups, ISA, AHS, Garden Centers of America, etc.

d. Congressional Research Services Report to 2014 Farm Bill outlined and gave great definition to groups that make up Farm Bill Alliance. 80% of monies that go out through this initiative can be categorized as ‘nutrition’. Subgroup 10 is horticulture and organic agriculture ~ there was a preference in distribution of this $$ to create a greater number of organic farmers. Ellen will send this document to Gail for posting / distribution.

e. Ultimate goal is to submit our BIG grant proposal (which Casey likened to ‘recognition in the Farm Bill’). Tandem with this, we will have our long list of supporters
ready to go. (by 4th quarter of 2018, we will)

f. High level timeline should be a living document ~ continually refined, as committees meet,

g. Economic Committee (Debbie) noted that there is a lot of work that has already been done. There is an academic group that meets quarterly to develop economic benchmarks for the industry. Economic committee would need to identify research gaps. What are compelling pieces of information that are needed to move our group forward in a systematic way?

h. Casey / Suzi noted that committee objectives will be revised, as we get more information from focused listening, as committees meet and decide which objectives they can strategically approach

i. Next steps for high level timeline:

i. Ask Tom Bewick: Where do we stand on relevancy reviewers?

ii. Each committee should do focused listening / survey of their stakeholder groups. We need to gather this information, and put it in a format that can be used.

iii. Clint asked if we have a way that folks can sign up as supporters of our group? Can we have a database of supporters?

iv. Margaret noted that it is possible that some could see that consumer horticulture is already well-represented in Farm Bill, but it is not in a single package. There is
nutrition, conservation, organic farming, scri, etc. What is significantly different about NICH’s ask? Do we want our own line item in the Farm Bill? We are in the farm bill, but it is so segmented that it doesn’t make sense to stakeholders. We need to unify our ask.

v. Shannon asked about aligning with other groups who are doing similar work. Suzi noted that it could be aligning with a group that is part of the Farm Bill Alliance. Debbie noted that it could be about aligning with a group that is not part of the Farm Bill Alliance. There needs to be a strategy to work with and not supersede other groups. And, there was a note that several Extension Horticulture groups are going after SNAP-Ed dollars.

vi. Action Item for All: If you haven’t done so, take a look at 1st committee meeting, and how it directly supports or inform the high level timeline. What are our strategic benchmarks, and who is responsible for the strategies.

4. Communication and Recruitment

a. All of our documents are housed on Box. All committee chairs and councils will have their own subfolder. Everyone has editorial access to the entire NICH folder . . . which may cause issues if someone accidentally deletes another group’s work. Gail will think about a way to organize subfolders, and give folks access to different subfolders, to avoid this issue.

b. How will we handle Advocacy? If your employer has limits on what you can do, in the realms of advocacy, please make that clear ~ especially if we have an ‘ask’ that you can not do. And at times, we may ask one council to take lead on an issue, if another council (such as Land-Grant / Federal Government) can not do, because of limits to their position.

5. Review Upcoming Action Steps (Floor) ~ skipped in the interest of time.

6. New Business (Floor) ~ skipped in the interest of time.

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