|Kim Butler, seated, roll-plays in leadership session by Linda Batiste, right|
|Oscar Udoh, left, teaches first time attendee Ervin Antoine how to navigate the conference|
|Angela Jackson, left, soaks up information at a session|
|SU Ag Center group gathers between sessions|
|Alice Dyson, right, samples California agricultural products|
Baton Rouge, LA - The SU Ag Center was well represented at the National Extension and Research Administrative Officers Conference (NERAOC) held May 3-7, 2015 in San Diego, California. The conference was attended by more than 500 participants targeting administrative staff across the United States, its territories and the Islanders who work in areas such as evaluation, finance, grants, human resources, etc. This annual conference brings the officers of the United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) to the same table with Land-Grant institutions (1862, 1890, 1994, HIS, 2008), experiment stations, and territories to discuss important issues affecting agricultural research and extension.
The theme of the 2015 conference was “Golden Opportunities.” The United States Congress, after debating for about two years, finally passed the Farm Bill dubbed The Agriculture Act of 2014. This year’s conference included some sessions focused on the Farm Bill, the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. NERAOC provides an avenue for the USDA/NIFA experts to inform partners about new policies and procedures and how they may impact funding of several programs.
USDA/NIFA is stepping up its mandate for actual evaluation to show outcomes and impacts on funded projects/ activities. Information obtained is used to defend the USDA/ NIFA budget before Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. Linda Batiste, Director of Finance at the SU Ag Center, in collaboration with LSU Ag Center staff presented a session entitled “Leading from any Chair.”