Roles of NPMTI Committees and the Administrative Office

A. Research Area Committees (RAC) – each RAC represents the interests of a specific annual row crop.

1. Membership

Membership will be open to all interested parties and stakeholders of a specific crop, including but not limited to academicians, Extension personnel, USDA-ARS researchers, staff of crop/commodity groups and associations, industry representatives, crop consultants and farmers. Those interested in being an RAC member will submit an application to the RAC chair and the NFO 30 days before the Annual Meeting. Said membership is reviewed by the RAC and SC and, if ratified, added to the RAC roles on an annual calendar basis.

a)       Committee Positions – the positions of Chair and Co-Chair of the RAC will be limited to university researchers (with emphasis on Extension researchers) and representatives of the commodity/crop group or association.

b)      Length of Term – Terms begin January 1 and end December 31:

(1)     Chair – Two (2) years; position may be held for up to three (3) consecutive terms.

(2)     Co-Chair – same terms as Chair; Co-Chair may become Chair.

c)       Committee positions (Chair/Co-Chair) shall be elected by a simple majority of ratified RAC members at the Annual Meeting. The Chair (and potentially Co-Chair) shall serve on the SC.

d)       Other members of the RAC (if any) shall be elected to the SC by a simple majority of ratified RAC members at the Annual Meeting per the provisions set forth in IX.A.1e.

(1)      If the RAC qualifies, RAC members shall elect by simple majority a member(s) of the EC as spelled out in section IX.C.1a.

e)       An RAC must have secured some funding through the RFP process to have a seat on the SC. Funded RACs shall have one (1) seat on the SC. A second seat will be awarded when $200,000 of research funding is allocated. Thereafter, each additional $100,000 in funding will earn an additional seat on the SC, up to a maximum of eight (8) seats total for a RAC.

2. RAC Responsibilities

a)    RAC Members shall draft individual 5-Year Action Plans (called Program Descriptions & Research Priorities, or PD&RP) that include a one-, two- and five-year forecast for what the goals and expected outcomes of the RACs actions are. All RAC PD&RPs together with the plans for CO’s (see VIII.A) shall help guide the 5-Year Action Plan (AP) for NPMTI, which in turn will aid the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The PD&RPs of RAC’s and CO’s in aggregate will also help define the annual, overall NPMTI Research Plan & Budget (RPB).

b)    RAC Chair, with the assistance of the Co-Chair shall:

(1)  Act as liaison between the EC and/or the NFO and their respective committee;

(2)  Serve as members of the SC and EC as outlined in sections IX.A.1e and IX.C.1a;

(3)  Work with RAC members to draft annual Research Area PD&RP; and

(4)    Draft and submit RAC proposals to the SC for consideration:

(a)    Facilitate the review of proposals submitted to the RAC;

(b)    Develop recommendations for funding for consideration by the SC; and

(c)     Provide comments/suggestions for proposed recipients and non-recipients to be included in the notification of funding.

3. Meetings, Conferences, and Key Dates

a)    RAC members should confer as needed to accomplish the responsibilities of the RAC.

b)    RAC Chair and/or Co-chair can call meetings via conference call given 48-hour notice.

c)    All RAC members will be invited to the Annual Meeting, which will coordinate with annual and/or divisional meetings of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), when possible.

d)    Quorum – shall consist of more than 50% of the current members.  This also pertains to voting by e-mail or other electronic means.

4. Pooling of Interests

The RAC’s of smaller crops and specialty crops may aggregate funding of similar crop types (e.g., pulse crops, cucurbits, brassicas/cole crops) to earn SC seats as defined in sections IX.A.1c, IX.A.1d and IX.A.1e; as well as seats on the EC, as explained in section IX.C.1a.

B. Steering Committee (SC)

1. Membership

Membership is defined by the funding amount the RAC achieves through the RFP process. The RAC will earn one seat on the SC for each $100,000 of research funding the RAC is awarded as defined in section IX.A.1e.

a)       Length of Term – Four (4) years (except for RAC chairs/co-chairs whose term on the SC is tied to their term or position on these committees). Members may be re-elected. There is no limit on the number of consecutive terms that a member may serve.

b)      Number of Members – contingent upon the budget appropriated each year by Congress, exclusive of USDA-ARS funds per Appendix A.

(1)   The RAC may have a minimum of one, and up to eight members on the SC.

(2)   The RAC must have some funds allocated to it. It will be limited to one seat on the SC if less than $200,000 in research budgeting is awarded to the RAC as outlined in IX.A.1e.

2. Committee Composition

The SC shall consist of RAC members elected to the SC as defined in sections IX.A.1c, IX.A.1d and IX.A.1e, as well as representatives from the two COs, along with administrative support of the NFO.

a)    The USDA-ARS National Program Staff who oversees the NPMTI (presently Dr. Tim Widmer) has a standing invitation to participate as a voting member in all NPMTI meetings.

b)    The SC shall, by simple majority, elect a Chair and Co-Chair at the Annual Meeting to preside over SC meetings and other functions. The Co-Chair will preside in the absence of the Chair.

c)    If a SC member resigns mid-term, the Executive Committee has the authority to appoint a person to serve out the remainder of the term.

3. Meetings

a)       The SC shall meet twice per year; once during the Annual Meeting (AM). A second meeting will be held in the Spring, to facilitate the development of the Request for Proposals (RFP).

b)      Attendance by non-members of the SC is at the discretion of the Chair/Co-Chair.

c)       The meeting in which the SC reviews and approves the recommended Budget Plan is a closed meeting (SC members only). However, the Chair/Co-Chair may request the SC to waive this policy on an individual basis.

d)      Quorum – shall consist of more than 50% of the current members. This also pertains to voting by e-mail or other electronic means.

4. Responsibilities

Along with providing direction and guidance to the NPMTI, the SC is responsible for the following:

a)       In year one (2020) develop 5-Year Action Plan (see Section V above);

b)      Review each RAC’s Program Description & Research Priorities;

c)       Review and approve the process for the development of the annual RPB recommendations;

d)      Approve format, date, and location of Spring Meeting; organize a committee for the AM;

e)      Review and approve the EC’s recommended Research Plan & Budget (RPB); and

f)        The SC authorizes the EC to act on its behalf.

(1)    The EC must notify the SC promptly of its actions by e-mail.

C. Executive Committee (EC)

1. Membership

The overall EC size will be determined by the funds that Congress appropriates to NPMTI each year, minus the funds that are allocated to the USDA-ARS (see Appendix A). The EC will be comprised of one and possibly two representatives of qualifying RACs, as well as representatives from the two COs, along with administrative support of the NFO.

a)    To qualify for an EC seat, the RAC must have earned a minimum allocation of $200,000 in research funds through the RFP process. RACs that have earned over $400,000 in research funds may seat two representatives.

b)    The USDA-ARS National Program Staff who oversees the NPMTI (presently Dr. Tim Widmer) has a standing invitation to participate as a voting member of all NPMTI meetings.

2. Committee Positions – Chair, Co-Chair, and Member

a)    Length of Term – One year. Members may be re-elected to serve consecutive terms.

b)    Number of representatives: based on the annual budget that Congress appropriates to NPMTI (see IX.C.1 and IX.C.1a for specific details).

c)    Election of EC Chair and Co-Chair:

(1)    During the Annual Meeting, the operations director of the NFO shall take nominations for the positions of Chair and Co-Chair of the EC.

(2)    A nominee is appointed by a simple majority of the votes cast.

3. Meetings

EC will meet as needed, but not fewer than two (2) in-face (including virtual “in-face” meetings) meetings per year: Once during the Annual Meeting and a second time during the Spring SC Meeting.

4. Responsibilities

a)    Review each RAC’s Program Description & Research Priorities as approved by the SC;

b)    Review and approve annual Request for Proposals (RFP) document developed by the NFO;

c)    Develop in conjunction with the NFO the process for evaluating proposals;

d)    Develop annual Research Plan & Budget (RPB) based on review of proposals and recommendation of SC;

e)    Select the location and dates for the AM; SC will appoint an Organizing Committee for the AM;

f)     Review and approve Policy procedures for the NFO;

g)    Review and approve annual calendar/timetable of NPMTI activities; and

h)    Inform SC of all executive actions and decisions.

5. Voting Procedures

a)    Quorum – shall consist of more than 50% of the current members.  This also pertains to voting by e-mail.

b)    Voting outcomes shall be determined by a simple majority of votes cast.

D. Networking & Facilitation Office (NFO)

1. Purpose

The purpose of the NFO is to act as the administrative and communication headquarters for NPMTI

2. Personnel

Executive Director of NAGC, NFO Administrator, and others as deemed necessary.

3. Responsibilities

a)    Facilitate Communication

(1)  Provide administrative support for SC and EC:

(a)  Organize SC and EC meetings and conference calls;

(b)  Record and distribute minutes;

(c)   Inform EC of NFO activities;

(d)  Inform SC of EC actions, meetings, etc.;

(e)  Monitor terms for NPMTI committees; facilitate nomination and election processes; and

(f)   Facilitate communication between SC, EC, and RAC.

(2)  Assist RAC chair/co-chair with communication of meetings and calls, if requested;

(3)  Act as liaison between NPMTI and USDA-ARS;

(4)  Manage the NPMTI Website;

(5)  Oversee production and distribution of NPMTI newsletters and press releases;

(6)  Maintain list servers; and

(7)  Act as a rapid clearinghouse of NPMTI related questions.

b)    Meeting Management

(1)  Manage the NPMTI Annual Meeting (AM) and its Spring Meeting of SC and EC members

(a)  Manage meeting location and lodging in city selected by the EC

(b)  Coordinate all facets of meeting arrangements including:

        1. Pre-registration and meeting check-in;
        2. Record minutes of meetings, distribute as appropriate;

iii.    AM only – Coordinate layout for poster display;

3. AM only – Compile and produce forum proceedings; and

4. AM only – Secure sponsor donations.

c)    Request for Proposal Process

(1)  Draft Request for Proposals, incorporating feedback from RAC and SC, and submit the document to the EC for final approval;

(a)  Distribute the Request for Proposal (RFP) application using various electronic mailing lists (see sections IX.D.3.a6 and X.C.1);

(b)  Facilitate review process for proposals;

(c)   Notify applicants of funding recommendations; and

(d)  Forward NPMTI’s annual Research Plan & Budget (grant proposals) to USDA-ARS.

d)    Resource Management/Accountability Center

(1)  Maintain records on all proposals, projects, and grants submitted and recommended for funding to USDA-ARS;

(2)  Generate and process progress-reporting forms;

(3)  Oversee production and management of the NPMTI website including various communications pertaining to research and administrative aspects of the NPMTI;

(4)  Maintain records of all EC and SC activities and actions; and

(5)  Generate reports requested by committees.