[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 16 (Wednesday, January 25, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4101-4112]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-680]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service 
Final Revised Guidelines for State Plans of Work for the Agricultural 
Research and Extension Formula Funds

AGENCY: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, 
USDA.

ACTION: Final notice.

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SUMMARY: The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension 
Service (CSREES) is implementing the revisions to the Guidelines for 
State Plans of Work for the Agricultural Research and Extension Formula 
Funds [64 FR 19242-19248]. These guidelines prescribe the procedures to 
be followed by the eligible institutions receiving Federal agricultural 
research and extension formula funds under the Hatch Act of 1887, as 
amended (7 U.S.C. 361a et seq.); sections 3(b)(1) and (c) of the Smith-
Lever Act of 1914, as amended (7 U.S.C. 343 (b)(1) and (c)); and 
sections 1444 and 1445 of the National Agricultural Research, 
Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (7 U.S.C. 3221 
and 3222). The recipients of these funds are commonly referred to as 
the 1862 land-grant institutions and 1890 land-grant institutions, 
including Tuskegee University and West Virginia State University. 
CSREES also is revising and reinstating a previously approved 
information collection (OMB No. 0524-0036) associated with these 
Guidelines.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bart Hewitt; Program Analyst, 
Planning and Accountability, Office of the Administrator; CSREES-USDA; 
Washington, DC 20250; at 202-720-5623, 202-720-7714 (fax) or via 
electronic mail at bhewitt@csrees.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: CSREES published a notice and request for 
comment on the Proposed Revised Guidelines for State Plans of Work for 
the Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds in the Federal 
Register on June 7, 2005 (70 FR 33055-33062).

Public Comments and Guideline Changes in Response

    In the Notice of the Proposed Guidelines, CSREES invited comments 
on the Proposed Guidelines as well as comments on (a) Whether the 
proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the 
information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the 
Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of 
collection of information on those who are to respond, including the 
use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other 
technological collections techniques or other forms of information 
technology.
    CSREES received 22 sets of comments.

Burden

    Comment: Half of the commentors (11) stated that the number of 
burden hours required is underestimated. One commentor stated that the 
number of burden hours required is overestimated. And one commentor 
stated that the number of burden hours appeared to be reasonable 
estimates. The other nine commentors had no comment on burden hours 
required.
    CSREES Response: CSREES fully expected that half of the commentors 
would indicate that the number of burden hours was underestimated. 
CSREES contacted nine states for a burden survey based on the proposed 
guidelines. Seven States responded. We asked these states to complete 
the survey giving the estimated number of hours it will take to 
complete each portion of the Plan of Work (POW) and Annual Report, 
above and beyond the number of hours it would normally take to plan and 
report for their own State's purposes. The number represented in the 
guidelines is based on the median of the results of this survey, and 
based on a per institutional response. Thus, half of the responses are 
at or below this figure and half of the responses are at or above this 
figure. Also, since this number is based on each individual 
institutional response, it must be understood that a combined research 
institution and extension institution cooperating on a POW is 
considered to be two responses and is, thus, expected to be double this 
published figure since it represents two institutional responses. It 
also is significant to note that none of the states surveyed which were 
below this median estimate commented that the burden hours were 
underestimated.
    Comment: One commentor stated that quantifying inputs would be 
overly burdensome.
    CSREES Response: While quantifying inputs does put some burden on 
the States, it is necessary to report to Congress and the Office of 
Management and Budget what impacts are generated by what dollars. To 
reduce the burden on the states, CSREES will only ask for the types of 
funds used, and the estimated number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) in 
the initial POW. Actual numbers on these will be asked in the Annual 
Report.

Hatch Act Funding

    Comment: One commentor felt that there is no need for the Hatch Act 
anymore and that the budget should be cut. Moreover, this commentor 
stated that all research should be funded by agribusiness.
    CSREES Response: CSREES appreciates and accepts all comments. 
However, this comment is beyond the scope of these Guidelines.

Due Date

    Comment: Three commentors noted that the period covered in the 
Guidelines appears incorrect. The Guidelines state October 1, 2007, 
through September 30, 2011.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees. The period should read October 1, 
2006, through September 30, 2011. This is corrected in the final 
Guidelines.
    Comment: Nine commentors state that the April 1, 2006, deadline for 
submitting the POW will be difficult to meet. One commentor suggests 
that having the Annual Report and POW submitted 60 days apart from each 
other would be less burdensome.
    CSREES Response: CSREES needs to have 90 days to review and approve 
the POWs before funds can be released for the first quarter of fiscal 
year (FY) 2007. CSREES agrees to move the initial due date for the FY 
2007-2011 POW to June 1, 2006. However, if any State institution does 
not submit their Plan by June 1, 2006, CSREES cannot guarantee prompt 
release of the first quarter funds for FY 2007 on October 1, 2006, 
since it can only do so with an approved POW. The due dates for the 
subsequent Annual Report of Accomplishments and the Annual Plan of Work 
Update will remain April 1 each year.

Elements of the Planned Programs Section

    Comment: Two commentors suggest that while the Program Logic Model 
is

[[Page 4102]]

commonly used by many State Cooperative Extension Services, it is not a 
proven model or shown to be an effective tool for research. They 
suggest it is a flawed assumption that research and extension programs 
can use the same model.
    CSREES Response: CSREES disagrees. Although it may be a relatively 
new concept for State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAESs), many 
Federal research and development agencies and many private research and 
development organizations have shown the Program Logic Model to be an 
effective tool and are touting its use.
    Comment: Another commentor is concerned that while the general flow 
of inputs-activities-outputs-outcomes can be used to describe any 
process, including research, one must be careful to articulate what is 
appropriate and acceptable for each of these categories in the model, 
particularly outputs and outcomes.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees. CSREES conducted a series of 
regional sessions on Evaluation Training for the POW in October and 
November 2005, to augment the electronic versions of training materials 
that have been released and will be released. CSREES wants the 1862 and 
1890 land-grant institutions to be clear on what is acceptable in the 
POW and subsequent Annual Reports of Accomplishments and Results.
    Comment: Another commentor states that the Logic Model lends itself 
effectively to Extension Programs, while Knowledge Areas appear to be 
more applicable to research activities.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees in part. CSREES also feels that an 
integration by using both methods will give richness to the planning 
and accountability process in both research and extension.
    Comment: One commentor questioned the value of including 
assumptions in the POW. It only adds to reporting burden that will be 
useless for any accountability benefits.
    CSREES Response: CSREES disagrees. Assumptions are key to the Logic 
Model. They are the beliefs we have about the program and the people 
involved; the way we think the program will work; and the underlying 
beliefs in how it will work. These are validated with research and 
experience. Assumptions underlie and influence the program decisions we 
make. Assumptions are principles, beliefs, ideas about, the problem or 
situation, the resources and staff, the way the program will operate, 
what the program expects to achieve, the knowledge base, the external 
and internal environment, and the participants and how they learn, 
their behavior, motivations, etc.
    Comment: Twelve commentors stated that there was a lack of 
information about the Knowledge Area Classification (KAC) codes to 
judge them.
    CSREES Response: CSREES has now published the KAC manual. For the 
Knowledge Areas, the research community will quickly notice that a vast 
majority of the codes are really no different than that of the Research 
Problem Areas (RPAs) that have been used for years in the Current 
Research Information System (CRIS). CSREES has augmented the KAC manual 
with some additional codes to encompass Extension and Higher Education, 
and also the language in the manual has been revised so Extension and 
Higher Education can find and use them for their programs. The KAC 
manual can be found at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/business/reporting/
planrept/plansofwork.html.
    Comment: One commentor requested that the Knowledge Areas not be 
changed once they have been implemented. Changes create extra work and 
less continuity in the information collected.
    CSREES Response: CSREES intends to use the KACs to classify all the 
work performed by CSREES and its Partners to include Research, 
Extension, and Higher Education. The KAC manual is, however, designed 
to be a dynamic document that can be revised and augmented over time as 
need arises for new classification codes or to retire outdated or 
unused codes.
    Comment: Two commentors strongly support the use of the Logic Model 
to develop plans and evaluation reports for both extension and 
research.
    CSREES Response: CSREES appreciates all comments both positive and 
negative.
    Comment: One commentor questions the use of the word ``may'' in 
section II.B.5 of the Guidelines that describe inputs as it relates to 
reporting on dollars other than Formula Funds. They feel the word 
``may'' indicates that the inclusion of data is optional. Another 
commentor suggests that CSREES has no oversight authority in requesting 
this data and that it should be optional. Yet another commentor 
suggests that requesting states to quantify other funds is overly 
burdensome and that a compromise might be to simply describe the 
source/nature of other funds that will be expended to address critical 
issues. Moreover, two commentors stated a need for clarity on the funds 
to be reported on in the POW.
    CSREES Response: To alleviate confusion, CSREES will change the 
word ``may'' to ``shall'' to be consistent with the wording in the 
legislation. The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform 
Act of 1998 (AREERA) legislation uses the word ``shall'' when it refers 
to a requirement. Thus, the wording in this section is being changed to 
read, ``AREERA requires that this component shall not only include the 
amount of Federal agricultural research and/or extension formula funds 
allocated to this planned program, but also the manner in which funds, 
other than formula funds, will be expended to address the critical 
issues being targeted by this planned program.'' This is in keeping 
with Section 202 (for Smith-Lever and Hatch), and Section 225 (for 1890 
Research and Extension funds) of AREERA. These sections state that 
``Each Plan of Work for a State * * * shall contain descriptions of the 
following: The manner in which research and extension, including 
research and extension activities funded other than through formula 
funds, will cooperate to address the critical issues in the State, 
including the activities to be carried out separately, the activities 
to be carried out sequentially, and the activities to be carried out 
jointly.'' For the purpose of this 5-year POW, only those programs that 
use Federal Formula Funds and its accompanying matching funds need be 
reported. Thus, in the POW, CSREES will only ask whether or not Formula 
Funds are being used in a State-defined program and whether or not 
funds other than Formula Funds are being used. CSREES will not ask for 
the amount that is expected to be used in the POW, but will ask for 
this data in subsequent Annual Reports against the POW. However, CSREES 
will require the number of FTE positions participating in the planned 
programs identified in the 5-Year POW. In addition, a recurring comment 
made by State land-grant partners was that in formulating the POW 
requirements, CSREES needs to consider how much is leveraged with the 
Federal formula dollars.
    Comment: Two commentors want a clarification of the definition of 
the word ``Activities'' as it relates to the Logic Model.
    CSREES Response: CSREES has attempted to clarify the definition of 
the word ``Activities'' in the definition section of these guidelines. 
CSREES will amend the definition to include the following: ``Activities 
are what a program does with its inputs, the services it provides to 
fulfill its mission. They include the research processes, workshops, 
services, conferences,

[[Page 4103]]

community surveys, facilitation, in-home counseling, etc.''
    Comment: Two commentors suggested that CSREES change the name of 
``community and resource development'' to just ``community 
development'' in the definition of ``Agricultural issues.''
    CSREES Response: CSREES has changed the wording in this definition 
to broaden it by including both ``community development'' and 
``resource development.''
    Comment: Two commentors suggested that CSREES change the phrase 
``social issues such as youth development, etc.'' to ``youth 
development, strengthening families (parenting, communication, 
financial management), and related topics'' in the definition of 
``Agricultural issues.''
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees and has changed the wording to 
reflect this.
    Comment: Four commentors have suggested that CSREES needs to 
clarify the definition of outcome and output indicators to reflect that 
of the Program Logic Model. One commentor asked, ``What is the 
difference between outcomes and outcome indicators?'' Another commentor 
asks if the word ``indicators'' is relevant to the Program Logic Model.
    CSREES Response: CSREES believes the word ``indicators'' is very 
relevant to the Program Logic Model, because indicators are the 
measures of program success that are derived from the goals set in the 
Program Logic Model. Indicators are the evidence or information that 
represent the phenomenon of interest that has been explained in the 
Program Logic Model. Indicators answer the evaluation questions derived 
from the Program Logic Model, and define the data that will need to be 
collected, analyzed, and reported.
    For example, a Program Logic Model may recognize a national 
problem, such as the need for nutrition education to help combat the 
nationwide epidemic of obesity, and lay out the planned course of 
action to deliver activities, such as courses for certain target 
groups, that will result in planned results, such as increases in 
knowledge, changes in attitudes, and changes in behavior, that we know 
from experience and health literature will lead to lower weight. This 
example also illustrates the difference between output and outcome 
indicators. Output indicators measure the activities that comprise the 
process of the program, such as counting the number of courses provided 
and the number of participants, while outcome indicators measure the 
results of those activities, such as changes in nutrition knowledge 
measured by a test, changes in attitudes, and changes in behavior. Some 
evaluation studies also collect physical outcome data, such as 
measuring calories consumed each day, changes in weight, etc.
    Using the word ``outcomes'' in the Program Logic Model refers to 
the planned conceptual goal for the cluster of output activities to 
which it is linked, while ``outcome indicator'' refers to the selected 
measure of progress toward that goal. However, in common usage, people 
often may use ``outcomes'' as shorthand for the measure.
    Comment: Three commentors have suggested that CSREES change the 
wording from ``identification of national problem,'' to 
``identification of state problem'' in the definition of Program Logic 
Model. Moreover, one commentor points out that there is conflicting 
language in the Guidelines which implies the POW must address only 
national priorities.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees in part and has changed the wording 
in this definition to provide greater clarity in that the POW should 
address both state and national priorities. National issues are usually 
best addressed at the state level by the States affected. Collectively, 
state and national priorities are cohesive and solutions are mutually 
beneficial.
    Comment: Two commentors stated that it would be helpful if CSREES 
would give some indication of the scale of ``programs'' that is 
expected for state programs. In addition, the commentor requested brief 
examples.
    CSREES Response: The purpose of letting the States define their own 
program unit, or unit of work, is to allow greater flexibility in how 
States plan and report. CSREES does not want to dictate the programs 
around which States do their planning. However, CSREES has published 
its Strategic Plan on its Web site at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/about/
offices/pdfs/strat_plan_04_09.pdf, and a list of eleven National 
Emphasis Areas that CSREES uses for its own planning. This list is 
published on the CSREES Web site at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/
emphasis_area.html.
    Comment: Two commentors stated that it appears that the POW system 
will request specific measures of program accomplishment. In practice, 
these measures may not be uniform for all projects across the entire 
Nation, and CSREES will ask for the number of persons adopting a 
technology of practice, dollars saved or generated, etc. The commentor 
proposes that the POW and Annual Report serve as a broad Federal 
umbrella, under which the States are allowed to use measures of 
evaluation deemed appropriate by each State. Moreover, two commentors 
stated CSREES needs to list the standard performance measures for 
outputs.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees. It was never the intention of the 
POW to craft many nation-wide standard measures for outputs and 
outcomes. In fact, there are only three standard ``output'' measures 
for the FY 2007-2011 POW. Thus far, there are no standard ``outcome'' 
measures put forth by CSREES for the FY 2007-2011 POW, but we will 
continue to work with national task forces to develop some over time. 
The standard output measures for extension are number of direct and 
indirect contacts, and extension education methods for extension. The 
only standard output measure for research in the POW is number of 
patents. In the Annual Report, we will ask what those patents are. The 
other output measures and all outcome measures are left to the 
discretion of the institution to craft as they deem appropriate for 
their programs. More detail on the standard performance measures are 
published in the training presentation modules for the POW on the 
CSREES Web site at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/business/reporting/
planrept/plansofwork.html.
    Comment: One commentor suggested that there is redundancy in asking 
for information under situation and priorities sections and in the 
Multistate Extension and Integrated Research and Extension activities 
sections, and the stakeholder input process sections.
    CSREES Response: CSREES has revised the situation and priorities 
section to clarify what is needed and to reduce redundancy of these 
sections.
    Comment: One commentor suggest that it will be difficult to 
estimate indirect and direct contacts during the first year of the POW 
given that they have not counted these in this manner previously, but 
it sees value in this information as it reaches many clientele by both 
indirect and direct means. Staff will feel better about being able to 
count all their contacts as some have felt unsettled at being told to 
count only direct contacts in the past. Their numbers for both may be 
more accurate as a result.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees that this may be difficult for some 
states that have not counted these in the past. Also, we understand 
that, for the POW, that these will be estimates. However, in the first 
Annual Report due on April 1, 2008, CSREES feels institutions will be 
able to count the actual contacts for the first fiscal year. The Plan 
numbers are

[[Page 4104]]

milestones to strive for, while the real output measures in the Annual 
Report are what we typically will use for determining success.

Multistate Extension and Integrated Research and Extension

    Comment: One commentor states that for Smith-Lever Multistate 
Extension, the formal documentation discussed to provide evidence 
appears to be a new requirement for the POW. The requirement of formal 
written agreements will be a distraction to faculty-to-faculty 
multistate activities and will require considerable time to develop the 
agreements. Most agreements are non-formal. Another commentor agrees, 
but goes further to state that e-mail communications can be viewed as 
primary evidence that a multistate relationship exists and that this 
requirement is creating a bureaucracy and hours spent in preparing 
reports without any benefit to the stakeholder. If faculty members are 
told they must have this agreement signed prior to initiating a multi-
state effort, all regional programming will come to a halt.
    CSREES Response: This requirement was in the original POW 
Guidelines published on July 1, 1999. The requirement for formal 
written agreements, letters of memorandum, etc. has been deleted. 
However, it is expected that these activities meet the criteria and 
definition of multistate extension as stated in the Guidelines. CSREES 
expects that, with the elimination of the requirement for formal 
written agreements or letters of memorandum, institutions will be 
better able to meet their target percentages. In fact, CSREES expects 
that some institutions (i.e., those with low target percentages) may be 
better able to achieve higher target percentages, closer to 25 percent, 
with the elimination of the need for formal written agreements in order 
to provide evidence of multistate extension activities.
    Comment: One commentor feels we should strike the statement that 
``these programs must be reported consistently across the units of an 
institution as well as with the 5-Year POW of the cooperating State(s) 
or State institutions'' in both the Multistate Extension and Integrated 
Research and Extension sections to be consistent with the 
Administrative Guidance on our CSREES Web site.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees and will clarify this statement in 
both sections to be consistent with the Administrative Guidance on both 
sections.
    Comment: One commentor states that the guidance continues to ignore 
what is meant by ``at least equal to the lesser of 25 percent or twice 
the * * *'' in reference to which funds are being addressed for 
Multistate Extension and Integrated Research and Extension programs. 
This should be interpreted that States report on the value of 25 
percent of Federal formula dollars regardless of the source of those 
dollars, whether Federal formula dollars or state matching dollars. If 
this means only 25 percent of Federal formula dollars this is a 
concern. To limit reporting to only Federal dollar funded positions is 
difficult as the Federal dollars have fallen so far behind in keeping 
up with the operating costs and many States are not hiring new 
employees on Federal dollars. Clarity on this point is needed.
    CSREES Response: The requirements of AREERA are very clear in that 
they do refer only to the Federal formula funds: ``Of the Federal 
formula funds that are paid to each State for fiscal year 2000 and each 
subsequent fiscal year under subsections (b) and (c), the State shall 
expend for the fiscal year for multistate activities a percentage that 
is at least equal to the lesser of (i) 25 percent; or (ii) twice the 
percentage for the State determined under subparagraph A.'' CSREES 
realizes the difficulty for some States to meet these requirements with 
Federal formula funds and does understand that many times these 
multistate extension and integrated activities are being supported with 
other sources of funding (e.g., State funds). However, the statutory 
requirement applies to the Federal formula funds only.
    Comment: One commentor inquired about whether States would have the 
opportunity to establish new target percentages for Multistate 
Extension Activities and Integrated Research and Extension Activities.
    CSREES Response: Yes, States will have the opportunity to and in 
some cases, may be required to establish new target percentages for 
Multistate Extension Activities and Integrated Research and Extension 
Activities. A revised Administrative Guidance for Multistate Extension 
Activities and Integrated Research and Extension Activities is 
currently being drafted.

Merit Review

    Comment: One commentor needs a clarification on ``program goals'' 
in the Merit Review definition. The commentor questioned: ``Whose 
Program Goals? Are these to be State goals or Federal goals?'' This 
statement can be interpreted to be state goals.
    CSREES Response: CSREES will clarify this statement to say ``Merit 
review means an evaluation whereby the quality and relevance to state 
program goals are assessed.'' This refers to the merit review of state 
programs.

Stakeholder Input

    Comment: One commentor feels the template approach to the sections 
on stakeholder input and merit review processes is too constraining. 
Such disaggregation trivializes the integrated approaches they have 
established and brings all programs to a lowest common denominator of 
description, regardless of quality of the processes involved. In 
contrast, the open narrative format of the current plan allowed fair 
descriptions of such processes and permitted qualitative 
differentiation.
    CSREES Response: As CSREES was designing the new POW, it 
specifically received many positive responses to the way it was 
handling these two sections of the Plan. CSREES feels it is alleviating 
limitations by incorporating into the software both checkboxes and text 
boxes to allow for the flexibility to further explain the important 
institutional strategies and processes. CSREES is, however, forcing 
conciseness and brevity in its narrative sections as requested by 
institutions receiving funds and mandates by Federal laws and 
regulations.

General

    Comment: One commentor suggests that the following language seems 
contradictory. The section on Schedule states that ``Five-Year Plans of 
Work accepted by CSREES will remain in effect for five years and will 
be publicly available in a CSREES database.'' Earlier language 
indicates that the Annual Update to the 5-Year POW will add an 
additional year to the continuous 5-Year POW. The commentor asks 
whether the approval of the Annual Update also extends the POW another 
year.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees that this seems contradictory and it 
has changed the language in the section on ``Schedule'' to clarify the 
meaning. The intention is that an approval of the Annual Update also 
does extend the POW for another year. But, this update, in effect, is a 
``new'' 5-Year POW that is effective for the ``new'' 5-year period.
    Comment: One commentor stated that for CSREES to require future 5-
Year POWs is redundant since the States are required to provide annual 
updates to the plans, adding an additional year each time. Another 
commentor stated that this point needs to be clarified.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees in part. CSREES will strike the last

[[Page 4105]]

sentence of the paragraph and clarify this statement. However, 
technically CSREES is still requiring future 5-Year POWs since each 
year the update is a new 5-Year Plan. For example, the update due by 
April 1, 2007, will be the FY 2008-2012 5-Year POW, even though an 
additional year is being added to the previous FY 2007-2011 5-Year POW. 
Moreover, CSREES will allow data to be revised, if needed, for any 
future year in the Plan, not just the added year.
    Comment: Three commentors believe that the core of the POW (the 
planned programs) for the SAESs is already in the CRIS database, and 
the Hatch projects in each State's Program of Research should be 
accepted de facto as the research planned programs sections for the 
POW.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees in part. Although much information 
is in CRIS, it is primarily a reporting mechanism, and is mostly 
retrospective, and does not sufficiently make use of the planning 
standard, the Program Logic Model, which is in use by many Federal 
research and development agencies. The Program Logic Model is key to 
the development of the POW. CSREES understands the frustration of 
redundancy and is working toward eliminating duplication via the ``One 
Solution'' initiative. The ``One Solution'' initiative is exploring 
ways to meld the information contained in CRIS and the POW to eliminate 
or reduce this duplication of effort. The FY 2007-2011 POW is part of 
Phase 1 of the ``One Solution'' initiative, and future phases, which 
include the FY 2007 Annual Report (which is not due until April 1, 
2008), will address this issue fully.
    Comment: One commentor feels CSREES should precede the first 
sentence in the paragraph with the phrase ``For extension * * *'' when 
describing education and outreach programs that are pertinent to the 
critical agricultural issues identified in the ``Statement of Issue.''
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees and has changed the language to 
reflect this.
    Comment: One commentor wants CSREES to clarify the definition and 
consistently apply the meaning of ``planned program,'' which is crucial 
to both State and Federal partners. The commentor believes the proposed 
guidelines are ambiguous.
    CSREES Response: CSREES has purposely given the States ample 
discretion and flexibility to interpret their own state-defined program 
units or units of work and does not want to impose a standard program 
unit that will not fit all circumstances.
    Comment: One commentor wants CSREES to clarify the definition of 
``Under-served'' and ``Under-represented.'' One commentor stated that 
they conduct 10-15 civil rights reviews on an annual basis and have 
never seen these definitions. Both phrases seem to be addressing the 
same concept and yet, after several readings, it is still unclear to 
the commentor what is meant.
    CSREES Response: CSREES agrees that both phrases seem to be 
addressing the same concept, but also feels the current definitions are 
clear. Under-served are those whose ``needs'' have not been fully 
addressed in the past; whereas, under-represented are those who may not 
have participated fully in programs. The populations for each state 
that fit these definitions may differ from state to state and within 
different areas of a single state.
    Comment: One commentor states that the failure of the proposed 
guidelines to integrate or coordinate with Smith-Lever Act section 3(d) 
programs and Civil Rights reporting calls to question the validity of 
the ``One Solution'' approach. Another commentor states that CSREES 
needs to eliminate duplicative effort in reporting impact and 
accounting for Federal formula funding received by organizations, and 
that reporting into the CSREES Science and Education Impact database is 
another example of duplicative work.
    CSREES Response: CSREES has begun the process to coordinate with 
the Smith-Lever Act section 3(d) programs. However, reporting under the 
``One Solution'' is taking place in several phases over several years. 
The POW is only part of Phase 1 of the ``One Solution'' initiative. The 
Annual Report of Accomplishments for the Formula funded programs 
covered by AREERA are part of a future phase of the ``One Solution'' 
that also will integrate many other programs, including Smith-Lever Act 
section 3(d) funded programs, and projects reporting to reduce 
redundancy in reporting.
    Comment: One commentor states that the web-entry system should come 
with a support plan. Also, the new system should be functional in 
offline use since they cannot do all the data entry in one sitting and 
must be able to save between entries and drafts. If this must be done 
online, then it must have a ``save as we go'' feature. Also there 
should be no limitations on characters and symbols that can be uploaded 
when cutting and pasting from word processing documents.
    CSREES Response: The web-entry system will be supported by the 
Information Systems and Technology Management unit of CSREES. The new 
system will not be functional offline, but it will have a ``save as you 
go'' feature to allow for multiple editing until submitted in final by 
the Director or Administrator of the institution. There will, however, 
be some special character limitations due to software constraints.
    Comment: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New 
Haven states that they are not a land-grant institution, but receive 
Hatch Act funds, thus the sentence which begins with ``Responders will 
be the 57 land-grant institutions and the 18 1890 land-grant 
institutions* * *'' excludes them.
    CSREES Response: CSREES will clarify this statement to include the 
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven and the Geneva 
Agricultural Experiment Station in New York.
    Comment: One commentor encourages CSREES to provide a training 
session, one in the East and one in the West, using computer-based 
simulation to train each institution's lead 5-Year POW planner. There 
also should be an online help desk available for the software.
    CSREES Response: CSREES held four regional Evaluation Training for 
the POW sessions in October and November 2005. Information on these 
training sessions can be found on the CSREES AREERA Plan of Work Web 
page at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/business/reporting/planrept/
plansofwork.html. There also will be web-based training materials 
available for the software. The POW software itself will contain help 
screens for each section of the POW and there will be a help desk 
available for both software and content.
    Comment: One commentor states that data related to external factors 
may only be able to be documented in a qualitative form and inquires if 
the ``One Solution'' will have the capacity to capture such data.
    CSREES Response: The POW software will make use of checkboxes with 
an ``other'' choice with a text field as well as a text box to capture 
the qualitative nature of this item.
    Comment: One commentor states that a clear declaration must be made 
by CSREES that states how input, output, and outcome data are to be 
used. Is the data base to enhance planning and scientific peer-review 
as articulated in AREERA or is it also intended to link dollar inputs 
with specific outputs/outcomes, both within the state and across 
regional and multi-state efforts? Another commentor inquires how 
linking impact to dollars will be shared

[[Page 4106]]

with legislators and other resource allocators.
    CSREES Response: CSREES Plans to use the input, output, and outcome 
data to enhance planning, and also to link dollar inputs with Knowledge 
Areas for use in assessing CSREES-funded programs in the portfolio 
review process for budget purposes. We also will link outputs and 
outcomes to the Knowledge Areas for use in the portfolio review 
process.
    Comment: One commentor discourages the tracking or documentation of 
multi-county programming work. The time invested would be very 
cumbersome and distract from the many successes already occurring. 
Another commentor states that to require or even encourage multi-county 
cooperation violates the sovereignty of the county government and the 
local stakeholders to fund what they perceive as a priority and 
oversteps the bounds of the Federal Government.
    CSREES Response: CSREES must uphold the mandates of AREERA as 
written into the law. The AREERA legislation states that for Smith-
Lever Act formula funds and the 1890 Extension formula funds that 
``[e]ach extension Plan of Work for a State * * * shall contain 
description of the following:'' ``(5) The education and outreach 
programs already underway to convey available research results that are 
pertinent to a critical agricultural issue, including efforts to 
encourage multicounty cooperation in the dissemination of research 
results.'' CSREES has no intention of tracking multi-county programming 
work in the POW. However, as stated above, AREERA requires that States 
document efforts to encourage multi-county cooperation in the 
dissemination of research information. This can be discussed briefly in 
the Plan Overview text and/or the Stakeholder Input section of the 
Plan.
    Comment: Eight commentors stated a need for more information on the 
concept of a rolling 5-year POW and the required Annual Update to the 
POW, and how this differs from an update being submitted when formula 
funds change by more than 10 percent in one year or by 20 percent or 
more cumulatively during the 5-year period.
    CSREES Response: The POW does become a rolling 5-Year Plan. Each 
April, the just-completed-and-reported-on year drops off and is updated 
by adding the next fifth year. Also, annual updates will allow for 
amending any and all future years of the plan already entered. CSREES 
has attempted to add clarity in these guidelines and has published more 
thorough training presentation modules on the CSREES Web site at http:/
/www.csrees.usda.gov/business/reporting/planrept/plansofwork.html. 
Since an update is submitted each year, CSREES will drop the reference 
to needing an update when baseline formula funds change by more than 10 
percent in one year or by 20 percent or more cumulatively during the 5-
year period, but note that annual updates will allow for amending any 
and all future years of the plan already entered.
    Comment: CSREES needs to improve its search capabilities to search 
for impacts by Congressional district.
    CSREES Response: While this is beyond the scope of the POW 
Guidelines, CSREES is striving to improve on the way we search and find 
impacts through the ``One Solution'' initiative which will incorporate 
data entry systems with the Research, Education, and Economics 
Information System (REEIS). This system has been designed to serve all 
with an interest in research, education and extension efforts performed 
or financially supported by USDA. The ultimate objective of the system 
is to enable users to measure the impact and effectiveness of research, 
extension and education programs.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
regulations (5 CFR part 1320) that implement the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements imposed by the implementation of these 
guidelines will be submitted to OMB as a revision of Information 
Collection No. 0524-0036, Reporting Requirements for State Plans of 
Work for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds. These 
requirements will not become effective prior to OMB approval. The 
eligible institutions will be notified upon this approval.

Background and Purpose

    The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service 
(CSREES) is implementing the following revised Guidelines for State 
Plans of Work for the Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds 
which implement the plan-of-work reporting requirements enacted in the 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 
(AREERA), Public Law 105-185.
    These guidelines incorporate some of the recommendations from the 
USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit Report No. 13001-3-Te, 
CSREES Implementation of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and 
Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA), which was published on August 
16, 2004. In an earlier Federal Register notice [69 FR 6244-6248], 
CSREES amended the Guidelines to the State Plans of Work to allow for 
the submission of an interim FY 2005-2006 Plan of Work (POW) in order 
for CSREES to consider the audit recommendations as well as develop a 
viable electronic option for compliance with the Government Paperwork 
Elimination Act (GPEA). This notice implements this electronic option 
through a web-based data entry system which will reduce the reporting 
burden to the institutions while providing more accountability over 
agricultural research and extension formula funds.
    Pursuant to the Plan of Work requirements enacted in the 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998, the 
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service hereby 
revises the Guidelines for State Plans of Work for Agricultural 
Research and Extension Formula Funds as follows:

Guidelines for State Plans of Work for Agricultural Research and 
Extension Formula Funds

Table of Contents

I. Preface and Authority
II. Submission of the 5-Year Plan of Work
    A. General
    1. Planning Option
    2. Period Covered
    3. Projected Resources
    4. Submission and Due Date
    5. Definitions
    B. Components of the 5-Year Plan of Work
    1. Planned Programs
    a. Format
    b. Program Logic Model
    c. Program Descriptions
    2. Stakeholder Input Process
    3. Program Review Process
    a. Merit Review
    b. Scientific Peer Review
    c. Reporting Requirement
    4. Multistate Research and Extension Activities
    a. Hatch Multistate Research
    b. Smith-Lever Multistate Extension
    c. Reporting Requirement
    5. Integrated Research and Extension Activities
    C. Five Year Plan of Work Evaluation by CSREES
    1. Schedule
    2. Review Criteria
    3. Evaluation of Multistate and Integrated Research and 
Extension Activities
III. Annual Update of the 5-Year Plan of Work
    A. Applicability
    B. Reporting Requirement
IV. Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results
    A. Reporting Requirement

[[Page 4107]]

    B. Format

I. Preface and Authority

    Sections 202 and 225 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and 
Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA), Public Law 105-185, enacted 
amendments requiring all States and 1890 institutions receiving formula 
funds authorized under the Hatch Act of 1887, as amended (7 U.S.C. 361a 
et seq.), the Smith-Lever Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 341 et seq.), and 
sections 1444 and 1445 of the National Agricultural Research, 
Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA), as amended (7 
U.S.C. 3221 and 3222), to prepare and submit to the Cooperative State 
Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) a Plan of Work for 
the use of those funds.
    While the requirement for the Hatch Act and Smith-Lever Act funds 
applies to the States, CSREES assumes that in most cases the function 
will be performed by the 1862 land-grant institution in the States. The 
only ``eligible institutions'' to receive formula funding under 
sections 1444 and 1445 of NARETPA are the 1890 land-grant institutions 
and Tuskegee University and West Virginia State University. Therefore, 
these guidelines refer throughout to ``institutions'' to include both 
the 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions, including Tuskegee 
University and West Virginia State University.
    Further, these guidelines require a POW that covers both research 
and extension. Although the District of Columbia receives extension 
funds under the District of Columbia Postsecondary Education 
Reorganization Act, Public Law 93-471, as opposed to the Smith-Lever 
Act, CSREES has determined that it should be subject to the POW 
requirements imposed under these guidelines except where expressly 
excluded.
    All the requirements of AREERA with regard to agricultural research 
and extension formula funds were considered and were incorporated in 
these POW guidelines including descriptions of the following: (1) The 
critical short-term, intermediate, and long-term agricultural issues in 
the State and the current and planned research and extension programs 
and projects targeted to address the issues; (2) the process 
established to consult with stakeholders regarding the identification 
of critical agricultural issues in the State and the development of 
research and extension projects and programs targeted to address the 
issues; (3) the efforts made to identify and collaborate with other 
colleges and universities that have a unique capacity to address the 
identified agricultural issues in the State and the extent of current 
and emerging efforts (including regional and multistate efforts) to 
work with those other institutions; (4) the manner in which research 
and extension, including research and extension activities funded other 
than through formula funds, will cooperate to address the critical 
issues in the State, including the activities to be carried out 
separately, sequentially, or jointly; and (5) For extension, the 
education and outreach programs already underway to convey available 
research results that are pertinent to a critical agricultural issue, 
including efforts to encourage multicounty cooperation in the 
dissemination of research information.
    These guidelines also take into consideration the requirement in 
section 102(c) of AREERA for the 1862, 1890, and 1994 land-grant 
institutions receiving agricultural research, extension, and education 
formula funds to establish a process for receiving stakeholder input on 
the uses of such funds. This stakeholder input requirement, as it 
applies to research and extension at 1862 and 1890 land-grant 
institutions, has been incorporated as part of the POW process.
    The requirement of section 103(e) of AREERA also is addressed in 
these POW guidelines. This section requires that the 1862, 1890, and 
1994 land-grant institutions establish a merit review process, prior to 
October 1, 1999, in order to obtain agricultural research, extension, 
and education funds. These were established by all institutions in the 
FY 2000-2004 5-Year POW. For purposes of these guidelines applicable to 
formula funds, a description of the merit review process must be 
restated, and if applicable, the merit review process must be re-
established for extension programs funded under sections 3(b)(1) and 
(c) of the Smith-Lever Act and under section 1444 of NARETPA, and for 
research programs funded under sections 3(c)(1) and (2) of the Hatch 
Act (commonly referred to as Hatch Regular Formula Funds) and under 
section 1445 of NARETPA. Section 104 of AREERA amended the Hatch Act of 
1887 also to stipulate that a scientific peer review process (that also 
would satisfy the requirements of a merit review process under section 
103(e)) be established for research programs funded under section 
3(c)(3) of the Hatch Act (commonly referred to as Hatch Multistate 
Research Funds). As previously stated, a description of these program 
review processes must be restated, and if applicable, these review 
processes must be re-established in order for the institutions to 
obtain agricultural research and extension formula funds. Consequently, 
a description of the merit review and scientific peer review process 
has been included as a requirement in the submission of the 5-Year POW.
    These POW guidelines also require reporting on the multistate and 
integrated research and extension programs. Section 104 of AREERA 
amended the Hatch Act of 1887 to redesignate the Hatch regional 
research funds as the Hatch Multistate Research Fund, specifying that 
these funds be used for cooperative research employing 
multidisciplinary approaches in which a State agricultural experiment 
station (SAES), working with another SAES, the Agricultural Research 
Service, or a college or university, cooperates to solve the problems 
that concern more than one State. Section 105 of AREERA amended the 
Smith-Lever Act to require that each institution receiving extension 
formula funds under sections 3(b) and (c) of the Smith-Lever Act expend 
for multistate activities in FY 2000 and thereafter a percentage that 
is at least equal to the lesser of 25 percent or twice the percentage 
of funds expended by the institution for multistate activities in FY 
1997. Section 204 of AREERA amended both the Hatch and Smith-Lever Acts 
to require that each institution receiving agricultural research and 
extension formula funds under the Hatch Act and sections 3(b) and (c) 
of the Smith-Lever Act expend for integrated research and extension 
activities in FY 2000 and thereafter a percentage that is at least 
equal to the lesser of 25 percent or twice the percentage of funds 
expended by the institution for integrated research and extension 
activities in FY 1997. These sections also required that the 
institutions include in the POW a description of the manner in which 
they will meet these multistate and integrated requirements. These were 
included as part of the FY 2000-2004 5-Year POW.
    These applicable percentages apply to the Federal agricultural 
research and extension formula funds only. Federal formula funds that 
are used by the institution for a fiscal year for integrated activities 
also may be counted to satisfy the multistate extension activities 
requirement.
    The multistate and integrated research and extension requirements 
do not apply to formula funds received by American Samoa, Guam, 
Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. 
Since the Smith-Lever Act is not directly applicable, the multistate 
extension and integrated requirements do not apply to extension

[[Page 4108]]

funds received by the District of Columbia, except to the extent it 
voluntarily complies.
    The amendments made by sections 105 and 204 of AREERA also provide 
that the Secretary of Agriculture may reduce the minimum percentage 
required to be expended by the institution for multistate and 
integrated activities in the case of hardship, infeasibility, or other 
similar circumstance beyond the control of the institution. In April 
2000, CSREES issued separate guidance on the establishment of the FY 
1997 baseline percentages for multistate extension activities and 
integrated research and extension activities, on requests for reduction 
in the required minimum percentage, and on reporting requirements. The 
Administrative Guidance for Multistate Extension Activities and 
Integrated Research and Extension Activities provides guidance on the 
establishment of target percentages for multistate extension activities 
and integrated research and extension activities as well as associated 
reporting requirements and waiver criteria and procedures.
    Also included in these guidelines are instructions on how to report 
on the annual accomplishments and results of the planned programs 
contained in the 5-Year POW, information on the evaluation of 
accomplishments and results, and information on when and how to update 
the 5-Year POW if necessary.

II. Submission of the 5-Year Plan of Work

A. General

1. Planning Option
    This document provides guidance for preparing the POW with 
preservation of institutional autonomy and programmatic flexibility 
within the Federal-State Partnership. The POW is a 5-year prospective 
plan that covers the initial period of FY 2007 through FY 2011, with 
the submission of annual updates to the 5-Year POW to add an additional 
year to the plan each year. The 5-Year POWs may be prepared for an 
institution's individual functions (i.e., research or extension 
activities), for an individual institution (including the planning of 
research and extension activities), or for state-wide activities (i.e., 
a 5-year research and/or extension POW for all the eligible 
institutions in a State). Each 5-Year POW must reflect the content of 
the program(s) funded by Federal agricultural research and extension 
formula funds and the required matching funds. This 5-Year POW must 
describe how the program(s) address critical short-term, intermediate, 
and long-term agricultural issues in a State.
2. Period Covered
    The initial 5-Year POW should cover the period from October 1, 
2006, through September 30, 2011.
3. Projected Resources
    The resources that are allocated for various planned programs in 
the 5-Year POW, in terms of full-time equivalents (FTEs), should be 
included and projected over the next five years. The baseline for the 
institution's or State's plan (for five years) should be the Federal 
agricultural research and extension formula funds for FY 2005 (and used 
for all five years) and the appropriate matching requirement for each 
fiscal year.
4. Submission and Due Date
    The initial FY 2007-2011 5-Year POW must be submitted by June 1, 
2006, to the Planning and Accountability Unit, Office of the 
Administrator, of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and 
Extension Service (CSREES); U.S. Department of Agriculture. These will 
be submitted electronically via a web-based data input system for the 
POW and Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results provided by 
CSREES. The web address for submissions will be provided by CSREES when 
the software goes on-line.
5. Definitions
    For the purpose of implementing the Guidelines for State Plans of 
Work for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds, the 
following definitions are applicable:
    Activities means either research projects or extension programs. In 
the logic model, activities are what a program does with its inputs, 
the services it provides to fulfill its mission. They include the 
research processes, workshops, services, conferences, community 
surveys, facilitation, in-home counseling, etc.
    Agricultural issues means all issues for which research and 
extension are involved, including, but not exclusive of, agriculture, 
natural resources, nutrition, community development, resource 
development, and youth development, strengthening families (parenting, 
communication, financial management), and related topics.
    Formula funds for the purposes of the Plan of Work guidelines means 
funding provided by formula to 1862 land-grant institutions under 
section 3 of the Hatch Act of 1887, as amended (7 U.S.C. 361a) and 
sections 3(b)(1) and (c) of the Smith-Lever Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 
343(b)(1) and (c)) and to the 1890 land-grant institutions under 
sections 1444 and 1445 of the National Agricultural Research, 
Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (7 U.S.C. 3221 
and 3222).
    Formula funds for the purposes of stakeholder input means the 
funding by formula to the 1862 land-grant institutions and 1890 land-
grant institutions covered by these Plan of Work guidelines as well as 
the formula funds provided under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative 
Forestry Research Program (16 U.S.C. 582, et seq.), the Animal Health 
and Disease Research Program (7 U.S.C. 3195), and the education 
payments made to the 1994 land-grant institutions under section 534(a) 
of Public Law 103-382 (7 U.S.C. 301 note).
    Integrated or joint activities means jointly planned, funded, and 
interwoven activities between research and extension to solve problems. 
This includes the generation of knowledge and the transfer of 
information and technology.
    Merit review means an evaluation whereby the quality and relevance 
to the State program goals are assessed.
    Multi-institutional means two or more institutions within the same 
or different States or territories that will collaborate in the 
planning and implementation of programs.
    Multistate means collaborative efforts that reflect the programs of 
institutions located in at least two or more States or territories.
    Multi-disciplinary means efforts that represent research, 
education, and/or extension programs in which principal investigators 
or other collaborators from two or more disciplines or fields of 
specialization work together to accomplish specified objectives.
    Outcome indicator means an assessment of the results of a program 
activity compared to its intended purpose. The outcome indicator 
measures the success of the outcome. It is the evidence or information 
that represents the phenomenon that is being measured. They define the 
data that will be collected and evaluated.
    Output indicator means a tabulation, calculation, or recording of 
activity of effort expressed in quantitative or qualitative manner 
which measures the products or services produced by the planned 
program. The output indicator measures the success of the output. It is 
the evidence or information that represents the phenomenon being 
measured. They define the data that will be collected and evaluated.

[[Page 4109]]

    Planned programs means collections of research projects or 
activities and/or extension programs or activities. States and State 
institutions define their own program unit or unit of work.
    Program Logic Model means the conceptual tool for planning and 
evaluation which displays the sequence of actions that describe what 
the science-based program is and will do--how investments link to 
results. Included in this depiction of the program action are six core 
components:
    1. Identification of the state and/or national problem, need, or 
situation that needs to be addressed by the program: The conceptual 
model will delineate the steps that are planned, based on past science 
and best theory, to achieve outcomes that will best solve the 
identified state and national problems and meet the identified needs.
    2. Assumptions: The beliefs we have about the program, the people 
involved, and the context and the way we think the program will work. 
These science-based assumptions are based on past evaluation science 
findings regarding the effects and functioning of the program or 
similar programs, program theory, stakeholder input, etc.
    3. External Factors: The environment in which the program exists 
includes a variety of external factors that interact with and influence 
the program action. Evaluation plans for the program should account for 
these factors, which are alternative explanations for the outcomes of 
the program other than the program itself. Strong causal conclusions 
about the efficacy of the program must eliminate these environmental 
factors as viable explanations for the observed outcomes of the 
program.
    4. Inputs: Resources, contributions, and investments that are 
provided for the program. This includes Federal, state, and local 
spending, private donations, volunteer time, etc.
    5. Outputs: Activities, services, events, and products that are 
intended to lead to the program's outcomes in solving national problems 
by the causal chain of events depicted in the logic model. These 
activities and products are posited to reach the people who are 
targeted as participants or the audience or beneficiaries of the 
program. Activities are what a program does with its inputs, the 
services it provides to fulfill its mission. They include the research 
processes, workshops, services, conferences, community surveys, 
facilitation, in-home counseling, etc.
    6. Outcomes: Planned results or changes for individuals, groups, 
communities, organizations, communities, or systems. These include 
short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes in the theorized chain 
of causal events that will lead to the planned solution of the 
identified national problems or meet national needs. These can be 
viewed as the public's return on its investment (i.e., the value-added 
to society in the benefits it reaps from the program).
    Program review means either a merit review or a scientific peer 
review.
    Scientific peer review means an evaluation performed by experts 
with scientific knowledge and technical skills to conduct the proposed 
work whereby the technical quality and relevance to program goals are 
assessed.
    Seek stakeholder input means an open, fair, and accessible process 
by which individuals, groups, and organizations may have a voice, and 
one that treats all with dignity and respect.
    Stakeholder is any person who has the opportunity to use or conduct 
agricultural research, extension, and education activities in the 
State.
    Under-served means individuals, groups, and/or organizations whose 
needs have not been fully addressed in past programs.
    Under-represented means individuals, groups, and/or organizations 
especially those who may not have participated fully including, but not 
limited to, women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with 
disabilities, limited resource clients, and small farm owners and 
operators.

B. Components of the 5-Year Plan of Work

1. Planned Programs
    Beginning with the FY 2007-2011 5-Year POW the Planned Programs 
will no longer be arranged around the five National Goals established 
for the FY 2000-2004 5-Year POW, nor will they be identified by the 
previously established Key Themes. Planned programs will be centered 
around State identified planned program areas and CSREES newly 
established Knowledge Areas (KAs).
    a. Format. As mentioned under the Planning Options section, an 
institution or State may opt to submit independent plans for the 
various units (e.g., 1862 research) or an integrated plan which 
includes all units in the institution or State.
    b. Program Logic Model. Regardless of the option chosen, the 5-Year 
POW should be reported in the appropriate format, each of which 
identifies planned programs that the State decides upon. Each Planned 
Program chosen by the State will be formatted around the Program Logic 
Model in this web-based POW data entry system. This is a nationally 
recognized method and used extensively by planning and evaluation 
specialists to display the sequence of actions that describe what the 
program is and will do and how investments link to results. It is 
commonly used by many State Cooperative Extension Services.
    c. Program Descriptions. Program descriptions presented for a 
planned program will be formatted around the Program Logic Model and 
include the following data entry screens:
    1. Name of Program. The State designated title for a State Research 
and/or Extension Program. This is in contrast to a project title. A 
research program may consist of several research projects. Examples of 
Programs may include, but not exclusive of: 4-H and Youth, Pest 
Management, Animal Genomics, Natural Resources, Economics and Commerce, 
etc.
    2. Classification of Program. Up to ten different classification 
codes and their respective percentage of effort may be used to classify 
the KAs covered in each State program.
    3. Situation and Priorities. This component should discuss the 
critical agricultural issues within the State that were identified and 
being targeted by this planned program. This component may also 
reference the stakeholder input which identified the critical 
agricultural issue in the State and the need for the targeted research 
and/or extension program. The situation is the foundation for logic 
model development. The problem or issue that the program is to address 
sits within a setting or situation. It is a complex of socio-political, 
environmental, and economic conditions. The situation statement should 
discuss (a) the problem/issue; (b) why this is a problem or issue; (c) 
for whom (individual, household, group, community, society in general) 
the problem or issue exists; who has a stake in the problem; (d) what 
is known about the problem/issue/people that are involved; and (e) on 
what research, experience this is based upon (research base).
    From the situation comes priority setting. Once the situation and 
problem are fully analyzed, priorities must be set to ensure that the 
most important issues are addressed. Several factors should influence 
your determination of focus: Your mission, values, resources, 
expertise, experience, history, what you know about the situation, and 
what others are doing in relation to the problem. Priorities lead to 
the identification of desired outcomes.
    4. Expected Duration of the Program. A data check box will be 
provided to ask States to express the program

[[Page 4110]]

duration as short-term (one year or less), intermediate (one to five 
years), or long-term (over five years).
    5. Inputs. The resources, contributions, investments that go into 
the program. The web-based software will include the estimated FTEs and 
the type of funds used to support the activity or planned program 
(i.e., type of Federal funds, State matching, etc.). AREERA requires 
reporting not only on the Federal agricultural research and/or 
extension formula funds and matching funds allocated to this planned 
program, but also the manner in which funds, other than formula funds, 
will be expended to address the critical issues being targeted by this 
planned program.
    6. Outputs. The activities, services, events and products that 
reach people who participate or who are targeted. These outputs are 
intended to lead to specific outcomes. The web-based data entry system 
will include standard performance measures such as number of persons 
targeted (direct and indirect contacts), number and type of patents 
awarded, as well as allow for state-generated target performance 
measures.
    7. Outcomes. The direct results, benefits, or changes for 
individuals, groups, communities, organizations, or systems. Examples 
include changes in knowledge, skill development, changes in behavior, 
capacities or decision-making, policy development. Outcomes can be 
short-term, medium-term, or longer-term achievements. Short-term 
outcomes refer to change in learning. Medium-term outcomes refer to 
change in action. Long-term outcomes refer to change in conditions. 
Outcomes may be positive, negative, neutral, intended, or unintended. 
Impact in this model refers to the ultimate consequence or effects of 
the program (i.e. increased economic security, improved air quality, 
etc.). In this model, impact is synonymous with the long-term outcome 
of your goal. It is at the farthest right on the logic model graphic. 
Impact refers to the ultimate, longer-term changes in social, economic, 
civic, or environmental conditions. In common usage impact and outcomes 
are often used interchangeably.
    The web-based software will include standard performance measures 
such as number of persons adopting a technology or practice, dollars 
saved or generated, as well as allow for state-generated target 
performance measures.
    8. Assumptions. The beliefs we have about the program, the people 
involved, and the context and the way we think the program will work. 
The web-based data entry system will require a short discussion on the 
assumptions that underlie and influence the program decisions made. 
Assumptions are principles, beliefs, ideas about the problem or 
situation, the resources and staff, the way the program will operate, 
what the program expects to achieve, the knowledge base, the external 
environment, the internal environment, the participants and how they 
learn, their behavior, motivations, etc.
    9. External Factors. The environment in which the program exists 
includes a variety of external factors that interact with and influence 
the program action. External factors include the cultural milieu, the 
climate, economic structure, housing patterns, demographic patterns, 
political environment, background and experiences of program 
participants, media influence, changing policies and priorities. These 
external factors may have a major influence on the achievement of 
outcomes. They may affect a variety of things including program 
implementation, participants and recipients, and the speed and degree 
to which change affects staffing patterns and resources available. A 
program is affected by and affects these external factors.
2. Stakeholder Input Process
    Section 102(c) of AREERA requires the 1862 land-grant institutions, 
1890 land-grant institutions, and 1994 land-grant institutions 
receiving agricultural research, extension, and education formula funds 
from CSREES to establish a process for stakeholder input on the uses of 
such funds. CSREES has promulgated separately regulations to implement 
this stakeholder input requirement. This was published on February 8, 
2000 in the Federal Register (7 CFR Part 3418).
    As a component of the 5-Year POW, each institution must report on 
the: (a) Actions taken to seek stakeholder input that encourages their 
participation; (b) A brief statement of the process used by the 
recipient institution to identify individuals and groups who are 
stakeholders and to collect input from them; and (c) A statement of how 
collected input was considered and actions taken to seek stakeholder 
input that encourages their participation. This report will be required 
annually and may be submitted with the Annual Report of Accomplishments 
and Results. This component will satisfy the reporting requirements 
imposed by the separately promulgated regulations on stakeholder input.
    In the web-based software, CSREES will provide check lists with the 
commonly reported actions taken to seek stakeholder input, as well as a 
narrative text box to capture the process that is used to identify 
stakeholders and collect input from them and how the input was 
considered. This allows for additional information in each section in 
the form of a brief narrative if needed.
3. Program Review Process
    a. Merit Review. Effective October 1, 1999, each 1862 land-grant 
institution and 1890 land-grant institution must have established a 
process for merit review in order to obtain agricultural research or 
extension formula funds. This was established in the FY 2000-2004 5-
Year POW by all institutions.
    b. Scientific Peer Review. A scientific peer review is required for 
all research funded under the Hatch Act of 1887, including Multistate 
Research Fund. For such research, this scientific peer review will 
satisfy the merit review requirement specified above.
    c. Reporting Requirement. As a component of the 5-Year POW, each 
institution depending on the type of program review required will 
provide a description of the merit review process or scientific peer 
review process established at their institution. This description 
should include the process used in the selection of reviewers with 
expertise relevant to the effort and appropriate scientific and 
technical standards. In the web-based software, CSREES will provide a 
check list with the commonly reported types of reviews, as well as a 
narrative text box to allow for additional information in the form of a 
brief narrative if needed.
4. Multistate Research and Extension Activities
    a. Hatch Multistate Research. Effective October 1, 1998, the Hatch 
Multistate Research Fund replaced the Hatch Regional Research Program. 
The Hatch Multistate Research Fund must be used for research employing 
multidisciplinary approaches to solve research problems that concern 
more than one State. For such research, SAESs must partner with another 
SAES, the Agricultural Research Service, or another college or 
university.
    b. Smith-Lever Multistate Extension. Effective October 1, 1999, the 
cooperative extension programs at the 1862 land-grant institutions must 
have expended two times their FY 1997 baseline percentage or 25 
percent, whichever is less, of their formula funds provided under 
sections 3(b)(1) and (c) of the Smith-Lever Act for activities in which 
two or more State extension services cooperate to solve problems that 
concern more than one State. The Administrative Guidance for Multistate 
Extension Activities and Integrated Research and Extension Activities 
provides guidance on the establishment

[[Page 4111]]

of target percentages, criteria and procedures for waiver requests, and 
reporting requirements. These requirements only apply to the 
cooperative extension services (CESs) at the 1862 land-grant 
institutions in the 50 States. Institutions, through the web-based 
reporting system, must describe all multistate extension activities for 
which the institution will be reporting expenditures to satisfy their 
multistate extension requirement under AREERA section 105. Institutions 
do not have to have formal written agreements of letters of memorandum 
to support a qualified multistate extension activity for the purposes 
of AREERA section 105. The requirements of this section apply only to 
the Federal funds.
    c. Reporting Requirements. The 5-Year POW should include a 
description of the Multistate Research, where applicable, and 
Multistate Extension programs as specified above. These descriptions 
should be reported in the Planned Programs section of the 5-Year POW. A 
table will be provided by the web-based software for reporting planned 
expenditures (i.e., the amount of Federal formula funds) each year on 
these activities. This table will only apply to the CESs at the 1862 
land-grant institutions in the 50 States. In addition, this item is the 
first of two plan-of-work reporting requirements that require a dollar 
amount to be identified in the Plan.
5. Integrated Research and Extension Activities
    a. Effective October 1, 1999, two times the FY 1997 baseline 
percentage or 25 percent, whichever is less, of all funds provided 
under section 3 of the Hatch Act and under section 3(b)(1) and (c) of 
the Smith-Lever Act must have been spent on activities that integrate 
cooperative research and extension. Integration may occur within the 
State or between units within two or more States. The Administrative 
Guidance for Multistate Extension Activities and Integrated Research 
and Extension Activities provided guidance for the establishment of 
target percentages, criteria and procedures for waiver requests, and 
associated reporting requirements. This requirement only applies to the 
1862 land-grant institutions in the 50 States and the state 
agricultural experiment stations in Connecticut and New York. 
Institutions, through the web-based reporting system, must describe all 
the integrated research and extension activities for which the 
institutions will be reporting expenditures to satisfy their integrated 
requirements under AREERA section 204. Federal formula funds used by a 
State for integrated activities may also be counted to satisfy the 
multistate extension activity requirements. The requirements of this 
section apply only to the Federal funds.
    b. Reporting Requirements. The 5-Year POW should include a 
description of the Integrated Research and Extension programs as 
specified above. These descriptions should be reported in the Planned 
Programs section of the 5-Year POW. A table will be provided by the 
web-based software for reporting planned expenditures (i.e., the amount 
of Federal formula funds) each year for these activities. This table 
will only apply to the 1862 land-grant institutions and the SAESs in 
Connecticut and New York. In addition, this is the second of two plan-
of-work reporting requirements that requires a dollar amount to be 
identified in the Plan.

C. Five-Year Plan of Work Evaluation by CSREES

1. Schedule
    CSREES will evaluate all 5-Year POWs. The 5-Year POWs will either 
be accepted by CSREES without change or returned to the institution, 
with clear and detailed recommendations for its modification. The 
submitting institution(s) will be notified by CSREES of its 
determination within 90 days (i.e., review to be completed in 60 days; 
communications to the institutions allowing a 30-day response) of 
receipt of the document. Adherence to the POW schedule by the recipient 
institution is critical to assuring the timely distribution of funds by 
CSREES. Five-Year POWs accepted by CSREES will be publicly available in 
a CSREES database.
2. Review Criteria
    CSREES will evaluate the 5-Year POWs to determine if they address 
agricultural issues of critical importance to the State; identify the 
alignment and realignment of programs to address those critical issues; 
identify the involvement of stakeholders in the planning process; give 
attention to under-served and under-represented populations; indicate 
the level of Federal formula funds in proportion to all other funds 
(i.e., in terms of FTEs) at the Director or Administrator level; 
provide evidence of multistate, multi-institutional, and 
multidisciplinary and integrated activities; and identify the expected 
outcomes and impacts from the 5-Year POW.
3. Evaluation of Multistate and Integrated Research and Extension 
Activities
    CSREES will be using the Annual Reports of Accomplishments and 
Results to evaluate the success of multistate, multi-institutional, and 
multidisciplinary activities and joint research and extension 
activities, in addressing critical agricultural issues identified in 
the 5-Year POWs. CSREES will be using the following evaluation 
criteria: (1) Did the planned program address the critical issues of 
strategic importance, including those identified by the stakeholders? 
(2) Did the planned program address the needs of under-served and 
under-represented populations of the State(s)? (3) Did the planned 
program describe the expected outcomes and impacts? and (4) Did the 
planned program result in improved program effectiveness and/or 
efficiency?

III. Annual Update of the 5-Year Plan of Work

A. Applicability

    An annual update to the 5-Year POW is required to add an additional 
year to the Plan. It also will allow for updating all future years' 
data in the updated Plan. The updated Plan will form a ``new'' 5-Year 
POW that is effective in the ``new'' 5-year period.

B. Reporting Requirement

    The Annual Update to the 5-Year POW should be submitted on April 1 
prior to the beginning of the next POW fiscal year (which begins on 
October 1 of each year). The first Update is due on April 1, 2007, for 
the five year period starting with FY 2008 which begins October 1, 
2007.

IV. Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results

A. Reporting Requirement

    The 5-Year POW for a reporting unit, institution, or State should 
form the basis for annually reporting its accomplishments and results. 
This report will be due on or before April 1 each year with the first 
report being due on April 1, 2008, for FY 2007. This report should be 
submitted using the same web-based data entry system used for the 
submission of the 5-Year POW. The web-based data entry system will 
mirror and include data entered by the institution in the 5-Year POW. 
However, institutions will be required to provide some fiscal data in 
the Annual Report.

B. Format

    This annual report should include the relevant information related 
to each component of the program of the 5-Year

[[Page 4112]]

POW. Accomplishments and results reporting should involve two parts. 
First, institutions should submit an annual set of impact statements 
linked to sources of funding. Strict attention to just the preceding 
year is not expected in all situations. Some impact statements may need 
to cover ten or more years of activity. Focus should be given to the 
benefits received by targeted end-users. Second, institutions should 
submit annual results statements based on the indicators of the outputs 
and outcomes for the activities undertaken the preceding year in the 
Program Logic Model for each program. These should be identified as 
short-term, intermediate, or long-term critical issues in the 5-Year 
POW. Attention should be given to highlighting multistate, multi-
institutional, and multidisciplinary and integrated activities, as 
appropriate to the 5-Year POW.

    Done at Washington, DC, this 18th day of January, 2006.
Colien Hefferan,
Administrator, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension 
Service.
[FR Doc. 06-680 Filed 1-24-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-22-P