The participation of the APS Headquarters staff with the NPPB members has helped make the Board operation much more efficient and greatly facilitated communication of Board activities to Council, Executive Committee, or other portions of APS membership. A letter of appreciation and certificate were sent to outgoing Board Members Larry Stowell and Don Mathre.
Several Board Members participated in a meeting at Headquarters in October 2000. The committee, chaired by John Sherwood, made several suggestions for reorganizing the NPPB. This document was shared with Council and explained by Sherwood at a Council conference call. A monthly NPPB conference call was suggested by this committee and has been held on the second Friday of each month at 11:00 Eastern Time. The Board is excited about the possibility of improving the structure of NPPB and developing closer working relations with APS Officers and thus Council.
Funding for Plant-associated Microbial Genomics continues as a high priority for NPPB. A draft of a document that included a list of fungi and bacteria was prepared for justification of the genomics program with the help of several APS committees. A list of a few microbes will be submitted through USDA to DOE for their Sequencing Marathon Month 2. Eversole Associates was requested to submit a proposal for professional assistance with guiding a funding proposal through Congress. John Sherwood will present this to Council at midyear. NPPB will sponsor a session at Salt Lake on funding for Plant Associated Microbial Genomics.
Jim Cook wrote a Phytonews article on the NPPB sponsored session at New Orleans on the EPA rule on Plant Incorporated Protectants. This rule was finalized during the last days of the Clinton Administration but it is now one of several "finalized rules" currently held up from publication in the Federal Register by the Bush Administration. NPPB is following the rule, will comment on areas where input was requested, and continue to insist that this rule does not make scientific sense.
Two legislative alerts were sent over the last year to US APS members urging them to write letters to their legislators to assure that the IFAFS grant program remained in the budget. A news capsule was sent thanking members for their support even if there is no direct evidence that our letters had an effect on retaining the funding.
John Sherwood has attended several CoFarm meetings including a National Academy of Sciences reception to show appreciation for the funding of plant biotechnology funding. Sue Tolin continues to have involvement with CoFarm and is writing an expanded version of our biotechnology statement. John Sherwood passed to OPAE the desire by CoFarm develop a list of exceptional contribution of plant pathology to science over the recent past.
A statement in support of biotechnology research in Italy was written that included the OPAE Biotechnology sentence approved by APS. President Slack signed the statement and transmitted it. Personal letters were sent by Headquarters to each APS member in Italy to explain our position as one of freedom for scientific endeavors. The APS statement was recognized by a couple of international journals and three letters of appreciation were received from Italian scientists.
APS was asked to endorse a statement to the Bush Transition Team to bring Harmful Invasive Species to their attention. President Slack approved the endorsement and APS was listed along with a list of scientific societies as the statement was widely distributed in Washington.
Sue Tolin attended a Harvard meeting on the Precautionary Principle. Issues surrounding this principle have been on the NPPB agenda for several years. Tolin also continues to follow the APHIS Safeguarding report as it is implemented.
Steve Nelson attended the AACC meeting where a session was held on GMO Detection. He shared AACC information on the latest in approved detection technology for GMOs in grain.
NPPB nominated Chuck Curtis and Paul Gellebeau for positions on the EPA on Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.
NPPB learned that the Weed Science Society had a Weed Awareness Week in Washington. We recommend that OPAE explore the possibility of a Disease of the Month or some such emphasis in DC.
There are a number of Federal Register items about which responses are planned. The Midyear NPPB will meet in Washington DC on 26 and 27April. Your comments and suggestions for the Board are welcome.
Highlights of National Plant Pathology Board (NPPB) MeetingJune 12-13, 2000