A divided management structure hinders strategic planning among North Carolina’s 18 agricultural research stations. A single, comprehensive system of research facilities that includes the stations, the 10 NC State University field laboratories, and the NC Agricultural & Technical State University farm should be created to promote strategic planning, efficiency, and accountability. The system should be managed by NCSU and NCA&T administrators and guided by an advisory board with membership from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, both universities, and representatives of broad agricultural concerns. Pending review by a panel of agricultural scientists, the number of facilities could be reduced. The transfer or sale of facilities and management consolidation could save up to $3.7 million in recurring and $54.7 million in non-recurring state funds.
- S.L. 2008-107, Section 9.13: Directed the NCSU Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the NCA&T Dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and the Commissioner of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the management of the agricultural research stations.
Subsequent Agency Actions:
- The department and universities created an advisory group consisting of 23 external stakeholders to inform the strategic planning process and implementation. Groups of university faculty, station superintendents, and administration met to discuss how best to support research activities and document program activities, accomplishments, and recommendations in an annual report; the first report was released in May 2010. The department and universities have made improvements to reporting structures by updating resource request systems to improve resource utilization and include project reviews and evaluations; restructuring the budget development process; and implementing an online event tracking system to document outreach and other non-research activities at the facilities.