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Detailed Information on the
Cochran Fellowship Program Assessment

Program Code 10009093
Program Title Cochran Fellowship Program
Department Name Department of Agriculture
Agency/Bureau Name Department of Agriculture
Program Type(s) Competitive Grant Program
Assessment Year 2008
Assessment Rating Adequate
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 75%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 40%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $4
FY2008 $3
FY2009 $3

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments
2008

Improve Cochran's cost efficiency performance: Implement participant orientation cost-savings measures for the program

No action taken Milestone: Increase percentage of orientation sessions (for Cochran Fellows) held outside of the Washington DC area to 50%.
2008

Improve Cochran's cost efficiency performance: Implement participant orientation cost-savings measures

No action taken Milestone: Fully adopt use of a debit card system for participant per diem.
2008

Improve Cochran's cost efficiency performance: Implement translation cost-saving measure

No action taken Milestone: Increase the percentage of overseas staff serving as training group translators to 60% of those groups needing translation.
2008

Improve Cochran's cost efficiency performance: Implement staffing cost-saving measure

No action taken Maintain existing staff vacancy until the ratio of annual Cochran Fellows to number of Cochran staff exceeds 35.
2008

Improve Cochran's ability to measure influence of training: Improve performance evaluation instruments for the Cochran Fellowship Program.

No action taken Milestone: Engage an evaluation expert to review the present survey and make recommendations for improvement and/or redesign.
2008

Improve Cochran's ability to measure influence of training: Improve performance evaluation instruments for the Cochran Fellowship Program.

No action taken Milestone: Adopt use of new performance evaluation survey
2008

Improve Cochran's alumni relations: Develop Cochran Fellowship alumni outreach programs.

No action taken Milestone: Achieve registration rate of 50% (for FY09 CFs) on the Department of State Alumni web network.
2008

Improve Cochran's alumni relations: Develop Cochran Fellowship alumni outreach programs.

No action taken Milestone: Hold four Cochran alumni receptions in priority countries to enhance professional relationships between CFs and the United States
2008

Improve Cochran's alumni relations: Develop alumni outreach programs

No action taken Milestone: Start electronic Cochran newsletter highlighting accomplishments of Cochran Fellows.
2008

Improve Cochran's alumni relations: Improve information management system to monitor Cochran alumni

No action taken Milestone: Track all new Cochran Fellows utilizing Customer Relationship Management software.
2008

Improve Cochran's alumni relations: Improve information management system to monitor Cochran alumni

No action taken Upgrade Cochran web site to include current descriptions of programs in 100% of current Cochran countries

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Average cost per Cochran Fellow


Explanation:Cost of the Cochran Fellowship Program (CFP) expressed on an average per fellow cost basis (2000 constant dollars). A baseline of $6995 was established using six years of data (2002-2007).

Year Target Actual
2008 $6,967
2009 $6,939
2010 $6,911
2011 $6,883
2012 $6,855
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of government sector Cochran Fellows who continue a professional relationship with the United States for at least five years after their Cochran training. (FAS Strategic Plan Obj. 1.3--Build support for open trade by developing strategic relationships with foreign governments)


Explanation:Continuing a "professional relationship" is defined as maintaining contact with U.S. agricultural interests (FAS/USDA, agricultural industries and companies, American universities and U.S. technical experts in agriculture) after the Cochran Fellowship. Cochran government sector alumni form a network of agricultural specialists tracked by FAS offices overseas and the CFP in Washington. These specialists typically have influence within their respective countries on U.S. trade-related issues. When issues and opportunities arise affecting U.S. agriculture this network constitutes a valuable resource that can be accessed. USDA will make increasing use in the future of the State Alumni web network (established for all U.S. Government sponsored exchange visitors) to further strengthen professional relationships with Cochran Fellows.

Year Target Actual
2008 Baseline 58%
2009 60%
2010 65%
2011 70%
2012 75%
2013 80%
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Number of recipient countries that make substantive progress in adopting U.S. approaches to agricultural policy as a result of training provided by the Cochran Fellowship Program, including through improvements in national trade policy and regulatory frameworks and through reductions in non-tariff barriers to trade. (USDA Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2010, Objective 1.2 and Performance Measure 1.2.1; and the Foreign Agricultural Service Strategic Plan 2006-2011, Objective 2.2.: Support the U.S. trade policy agenda through trade capacity building activities.)


Explanation:A key strategy for increasing U.S. exports and global trade is expanding market access through reduction of non-tariff barriers. Trade capacity building supports this objective by enhancing developing countries' ability to trade through adoption of improved policies and regulatory frameworks, thereby expanding market access. Improvements can be measured by one or more of the following or similar outcomes in each recipient country: establishment of new institutions; modification of policies or improved regulations that are transparent, science-based, and consistent with the requirements of international standards-setting bodies; strengthened market infrastructure; improved regulatory structure for the adoption of biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology products and heightened awareness of U.S. regulatory procedures; improved frameworks for monitoring and mitigating plant and animal diseases; increased transparency in rule-making; reduced transaction costs; informed decision-making by policy makers and others, based on sound science; and/or increased capacity to expand trade in international markets. CFP training is critical to building a foundation of science-based knowledge in recipient countries that can help facilitate adoption of U.S. approaches to trade policy. Significant progress in meeting this goal (which is an established performance measure in the USDA Strategic Plan cited above) can be monitored in Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN (Global Agriculture Information Network) Reports describing impact in recipient countries, Cochran success stories detailing specific results, and country strategy statements referring to the strategic use of the Cochran Fellowship Program.

Year Target Actual
2007 Baseline 4
2008 4
2009 5
2010 5
2011 5
2012 6
2013 6
Annual Outcome

Measure: Level of influence that CFP training has on participants' knowledge and skills that can be used to initiate change and increase bilateral trade.


Explanation:Evaluation surveys are completed by CFs at the end of training. Two questions on the survey specifically request participants to describe: 1) knowledge gained that the participant believes may increase bilateral trade with the U.S. and; 2) changes the participant would like to make to his or her organization upon returning home. The level of influence is classified as "high" when participants respond to both questions with statements that demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge that could enhance bilateral trade and statements that list specific organizaitonal changes intended upon return that illustrate an application of newly acquired knowledge. An excellent response to only one of the two questions is classified as "moderate" influence and to neither of the questions as "low" influence. Baseline was established through an analysis of 221 randomly sampled evaluation surveys across all regions of the world.

Year Target Actual
2007 Baseline 34%
2008 36%
2009 40%
2010 45%
2011 50%
2012 55%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score
1.1

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The Cochran Fellowship Program's (CFP) purpose is to enable recipients to gain knowledge and skills that will "(1) assist eligible countries to develop agricultural systems necessary to meet the food and fiber needs of their domestic populations; and (2) strengthen and enhance trade linkages between eligible countries and agricultural interests in the United States." The CFP's purpose is established in section 1543 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, as amended. This section states that the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a program to provide agricultural fellowships to individuals from middle-income countries, emerging markets, and emerging democracies.

Evidence: Pub. L. 101-624: Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, title XV, section 1543, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 3694; Pub. L. 102-237: Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act Amendments of 1991, title X Section 1002, Dec. 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 1894; Pub. L 102-511: Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992, title VII, Section 705, Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 3349; Pub. L. 104-127: Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, title II Section 277(b), Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 978; Trade and Scientific Exchanges Program Brochure; Cochran Fellowship Program (http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/cochran/cochran.asp).

YES 20%
1.2

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Lack of technical capacity throughout the agricultural sector is a barrier to international trade and a limiting factor in the economic development of middle-income and countries in transition. The CFP addresses this problem by regularly providing training in over 150 separate topics that address technical capacity issues in over 70 countries-- many of which are important trading partners with the United States. The training enhances CFP countries' capacities to adopt international agricultural trade standards, monitor and control transnational animal and plant diseases that could threaten American crops and livestock, and better meet the food and fiber needs of their domestic populations. CFP technical training supports USDA's strategic objectives of expanding and maintaining international export opportunities, supporting international economic development and trade capacity building, and improving the global sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) system to facilitate agricultural trade.

Evidence: Foreign Aid and Agriculture-Led Development, John W. Mellor in Chapter 3 International Agricultural Development, Third Edition (1998), Edited by Eicher and Staatz, The Johns Hopkins University Press; Cochran Annual Summaries (1985 to 2007); List of Cochran Training Topics for 2006 and 2007; USDA Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2010 (http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdasp/usdasp.htm); Foreign Agricultural Service Strategic Plan 2006-2011 (http://www.fas.usda.gov/admin/stratplan.asp); FAS 2007 Country Strategy Statements (http://fastnet.usda.gov/Country-Regional-StrategicInfo/country_pages/country_pages.asp) (Note: These pages exist on the FAS intranet and are not accessible to the public) ; Education, Extension and Training, UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security(http://www.rdfs.net/themes/education_en.htm).

YES 20%
1.3

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: CFP distinguishes itself from 1,031 other project grants listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance through its targeted audience, scope of training, approach and goals. Fellows from middle-income and countries in transition are strategically targeted, based on self-identified agricultural needs in their own countries. Candidates are often mid-level professionals??-from both the public and private sector-and receive specialized training related to trade capacity or market access needs. The CFP approach to training differs from other fellowship programs that are year-long (or longer) programs (Fulbright, Humphrey, USAID-sponsored development assistance scholarships, Borlaug LEAP Program) or targeted to academia (Borlaug, Faculty Exchange Program, Agricultural Research & Development (AWARD) Fellowship Program-USAID). The Department of State's Inter-Agency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training (IAWG) issued a study that compared CFP to other agribusiness exchange programs and concluded, "despite similarities on many fronts, it does not appear that any of the programs surveyed duplicate others to a degree that would warrant elimination, reduction or complete re-design??the diversity of these programs is a major factor in their collective strength." CFP's two- to three-week intensive trainings are designed to meet individual participant's needs and can include classroom lectures, field visits, trade shows and meetings with industry and government officials. State-run programs focusing on agricultural training are geared towards training local producers rather than foreign producers (California Agricultural Export Training, Texas Department of Agriculture, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture). Cochran Fellowships provide specific and strategic information to a smaller audience, enabling fellows to train others in the field, improve trade regulations, increase market access, and build trade capacity in their countries. In Mary Lou Carlson's evaluation conducted on the CFP, the training design was referred to as a "unique and specialized, yet flexible, training design [that] has allowed an array of areas within the agriculture sector to benefit."

Evidence: Humphrey Fellowship Program, (http://humphreyfellowship.org/page/97565/index.v3page); Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Grant Opportunities, (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/default.htm); Texas Department of Agriculture, Training and Education, (http://www.agr.state.tx.us/agr/main_render/0,1968,1848_6611_0_0,00.html?channelId=6611); Borlaug LEAP Fellowship Program, (http://leap.ucdavis.edu/); Norman Borlaug International Science and Technology Fellows Program, (http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/borlaug/borlaug.htm); Carlson, Mary Lou (2001). Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University; CFDA Agriculture- Research and Development Programs, (http://12.46.245.173/pls/portal30/CATALOG.FUNCTIONAL_PROGRAM_TXT_RPT.SHOW?p_arg_names=func_cat_cd&p_arg_values=AN), 10.962 COCHRAN FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM-INTERNATIONAL TRAINING-FOREIGN PARTICIPANT, (http://12.46.245.173/pls/portal30/CATALOG.PROGRAM_TEXT_RPT.SHOW?p_arg_names=prog_nbr&p_arg_values=10.962); IAWG Case Studies, (http://www.iawg.gov/partnership/case_studies/); IAWG FY05 Annual Report, (http://www.iawg.gov/reports/annual/), pages12, 18, 22, 38; IAWG Duplication Study, (http://www.iawg.gov/rawmedia_repository/f1a41c33_a2c4_4f26_85c9_01b947ee6fb1)

YES 20%
1.4

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: CFP contains a structured annual program cycle that is both familiar to applicants, cooperators, and U.S. embassies, and flexible enough for FAS overseas posts to address emerging issues throughout the year. Throughout its 24-year history, the program has changed practices and adapted to become more efficient and effective in helping USDA promote U.S. products and regulatory systems, improve market access, and build trade capacity. CFP continually looks for ways to more effectively and efficiently train fellows without sacrificing program content. The CFP legislation allows for flexibility in country eligibility, the use of "no-year" funding, the ability to cost-share with cooperating partners, and the ability to adapt the training approach. For example, programs were reduced from the original length of 3 months to shorter 2-3 week terms. This reduction places greater focus on technical training and increasing the number of fellows trained. A key aspect of program design is the concept of "custom-designed" training. Training programs are mostly developed to meet specific needs of both the FAS post and the candidates themselves, which avoids pre-designed university courses that may not specifically address each fellow's needs. CFP initiates a request for program feedback from program participants and FAS offices on an annual basis. There has been no feedback that would indicate serious design flaws with the implementation of training programs. According to a Penn State University study, "The Cochran Program's unique and specialized, yet flexible, training design has allowed an array of areas within the agricultural sector to benefit."

Evidence: CFP Participant Program Evaluation forms (completed by each Fellow); Training report completed by Cochran training providers as required by U.S. Code, Title 7, Chapter 64, Subchapter X, Section 3315a. 2 stating the accomplishments of projects; In-country meetings and debriefing with overseas FAS staff; Follow-up monitoring by IMPACT surveys; Carlson, Mary Lou (2001). Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University, Executive Summary.

YES 20%
1.5

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: From start (annual calls to FAS posts to identify priority topics) to finish (Cochran Fellows complete their training and return home), the CFP is structured to ensure that approximately 110 to 130 quality training programs each year are targeted to participants who will be able to employ the knowledge and skills gained to contribute to improved agricultural systems and strengthened trade linkages with the United States. The selection and training process involves CFP staff, FAS posts, and third party (universities and private consultants) training providers. CFP applications include very detailed questions regarding training needs, educational background, and current position within the public or private sector to ensure that only high quality candidates are selected for interviews. Fellows are actively recruited according to priority issues highlighted in FAS Country Strategy Statements (CSS), aligning CFP training with key trade issues or agricultural trading opportunities. Cochran staff or FAS field staff, methodically conduct interviews so that bright, enthusiastic and influential candidates are selected into the program. Lincoln University's evaluation of CFP stated, "It was found that successful selection processes are largely a result of the good background work done by the [FAS] ICD staff??" Administrative expenses are limited so program funds are primarily spent on the training of fellows. Because of the unique qualities the CFP offers the agricultural professional community, the opportunity for similar training would be difficult to re-create without a high cost to the beneficiary. Independent evaluation forms filled out by the fellows integrate an avenue for continual improvement of future training programs. Mary Lou Carlson's study cited "While not every outcome or subsequent results can be directly correlated to this technical assistance, benefits reported herewith collectively by the participants represent compelling evidence that the Cochran Program is contributing to agricultural development in the countries it works in, as well as increasing U.S. trade activity."

Evidence: Cochran Annual Training Priority E-Mail to FAS Posts; Country Strategy Statements (covering 70 Posts); Cochran application form (2008); Cochran evaluation form (2008); Carlson, Mary Lou (2001). Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University; CFDA Agriculture- Research and Development Programs; Ikbal R. Chowdhury, An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program: Kazakstan, Russia, Ukraine and Uzebekistan 1994-1995, Office of International Programs, Lincoln University.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score
2.1

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The CFP has two long-term outcome measures that gauge the impact of CFP training: (1) Percent of government sector Cochran Fellows (CFs) who continue a professional relationship with the United States for at least five years after their Cochran training; and (2) Number of recipient countries that make substantive progress in adopting U.S. approaches to agricultural policy as a result of training provided by the CFP, including through improvements in national trade policy and regulatory frameworks and through reductions in non-tariff barriers to trade. FAS overseas staff also engage key ministerial contacts concerning specific national and international agricultural issues through professional relationships with former Cochran fellows. Together these performance measures address CFP's purpose of strengthening trade linkages between recipient countries and the U.S. by contributing to progress in moving forward country-specific U.S. trade agendas over the course of multiple years. Improvements in national trade policy, regulatory frameworks, and related actions also contribute to the development and adoption of agricultural systems that will enable these countries to better meet the food and fiber needs of their own populations. These measures also reflect the program's contribution to Objective 1.2 of the Department's Strategic Plan - Support International Economic Development and Trade Capacity Building - whose key outcome is an improved ability of developing countries to sustain economic growth and benefit from international trade.

Evidence: USDA Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2010, Objective 1.2 and Performance Measure 1.2.1 (http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdasp/pdf/sp05-03.pdf); Foreign Agricultural Service Strategic Plan 2006-2011, Objective 2.2 (http://www.fas.usda.gov/admin/FASStrategicPlan06-11.pdf); Carlson, Mary Lou (2001). Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University; FAS 2007 Country Strategy Statements (http://fastnet.usda.gov/Country-Regional-StrategicInfo/country_pages/country_pages.asp) (Note: These pages exist on the FAS intranet and are not accessible to the public through this web address). CFP uses a Microsoft access database program (Project Tracking System) to document and monitor current and past Cochran fellows and Cochran training programs. Fellows are also tracked through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) (https://egov.ice.gov/sevis/)

YES 12%
2.2

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Under the first long-term measure, the CFP seeks to foster a continued professional relationship between the CFs and the United States with as many fellows as possible. CFP aims to move from a baseline of 58% to 75% by 2012, an increase of over 25% within five years. This baseline was established through a survey of 570 CFs at 41 FAS posts from the 2003 training cycle. Under the second long-term measure, the CFP seeks to maximize the number of countries that make substantive progress in adopting U.S. approaches to agricultural policy as a result of training provided by the CFP. Cochran aims to move from a baseline of four countries per year in 2007 to six countries per year by 2012, a fifty percent increase over a five year period. This ambitious target commits the CFP to make a significant contribution (5 countries by 2010) to the Department's overall target of 15 countries per year, as established in Objective 1.2 of the Department's Strategic Plan.

Evidence: USDA Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2010, Objective 1.2 and Performance Measure 1.2.1 (http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdasp/pdf/sp05-03.pdf); Foreign Agricultural Service Strategic Plan 2006-2011, Objective 2.2 (http://www.fas.usda.gov/admin/FASStrategicPlan06-11.pdf); OCBD Performance Plan for FY 2007; OCBD Input for FAS Integrated Strategy Setting (May 2007).

YES 12%
2.3

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: The CFP has one annual performance measures that reinforces achievement of long-term performance outcomes and has one annual efficiency measure. The annual performance measure expresses the level of influence that CFP training has on participants' knowledge and skills that can be used to initiate change and increase bilateral trade. By positively influencing those attributes, the CFP enhances recipient countries' capacity to develop agricultural systems necessary to meet the food and fiber needs of their domestic populations and supports the adoption of regulatory systems and national trade policies that meet international standards, important steps that facilitate international agricultural trade. The annual measure is derived from responses to evaluation surveys completed by CFs at the end of their training. The annual efficiency measure expresses the cost of the CFP on an average per fellow basis. This measure assists the CFP staff in identifying efficiencies in program implementation while maintaining quality training programs. CFP is also working on developing an additional annual performance measure that will improve tracking of CFs after their training. This measure tracks the number of new CFs who register on the Department of State Alumni website (State Alumni). This website links together all past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. The website also gives free access to over 20,000 peer-reviewed journals, magazines, and other multimedia sources, which enhances its ability to attract CFs to register. The CFP is expanding the use of this website by FAS overseas staff by promoting the website's capabilities to promote professional exchanges between CFs, alumni of other programs, host institutions in the U.S., and FAS. Expanded use of the website and higher registration numbers by CFs will reinforce the long-term outcome goal of increasing the percentage of government CFs who maintain a professional relationship with the United States. CFP will report registration rates by former and current CFs by the end of FY 2008.

Evidence: Cochran Participant Program Evaluations; State Alumni web site (https://alumni.state.gov/landing-page); Cochran Average Cost Analysis (2002-2007).

YES 12%
2.4

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Ambitious targets have been established for the annual performance and efficiency measures established for CFP. For the annual performance measure (program evaluation surveys) the CFP aims to increase the level of influence Cochran training has on knowledge and skills (for increasing bilateral trade and initiating change) that is classified as "high" over the next five years, from a baseline of 34% to a level of 55% by 2012. CFP is taking steps to achieve this by increased use of action planning during training, especially for non-English speaking groups, and engaging FAS/OCBD's newly established Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to identify ways to strengthen the impact of Cochran training on the knowledge and skills of participants. CFP is in the process of strengthening the review process of completed surveys to identify training providers who underperform as well as those who outperform in this area. The annual efficiency measure (average cost per CF) has a baseline value of $6995 (2000 constant dollars). By 2012 the CFP aims to reduce average costs per CF to $6855, a reduction of 2.0%.

Evidence: Cochran Participant Program Evaluations; CFP annual reports; CSSs; GPRA (/omb/mgmt-gpra/gplaw2m.html); FAS Reorganization - OCBD Functional Statement, (http://fastnet.usda.gov/OA/FASOrganizationalReview/FunctionalStatements/FunctHome.htm); Cochran Average Cost Analysis (2002-2007).

YES 12%
2.5

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: CFP's partners are committed to the long-term goals of the program through cooperative agreements and detailed scopes of work that identify training objectives and desired trainee competencies to be realized at the conclusion of the training. These competencies enhance CFs' knowledge and skills that in turn enable CFs to contribute towards the long-term goals of the program. CFP engages a wide array of partners (educational institutions, consultants, USDA agencies, cooperatives, private sector agricultural interests) to help implement the over 100 training programs it conducts each year. Dozens of colleges and universities from the land grant system (linked to USDA) are engaged annually to provide world-class training on a wide-ranging array of agriculturally related topics that contribute to the program's goals. Each training provider works under a unique scope of work that requires the trainer to meet specific training objectives for each CFP fellow. These deliverables are technically specific and usually relate to priority trade capacity, market development, or other topics as identified by the FAS post overseas. Many training providers report continued contact with CFs after their return to their home countries. Trainers typically report that they are satisfied and interested in providing additional technical assistance to CFs. The use of the State Alumni website further enhances opportunities for CFP partners to demonstrate their commitment to CFP's long-term goals.

Evidence: Cooperative agreement (ICD-88) containing an SOW and training program plan; Training abstracts (from annual CFP Summaries); Final reports of CFP training providers; Post feedback on impact of training; Participant program evaluations; State Alumni web site (https://alumni.state.gov/landing-page).

YES 12%
2.6

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The CFP has had independent and quality evaluations that measured program impact in particular countries and regions of the world. However, these studies were not broad enough in scope to encompass the entire CFP. For example, studies were conducted between 1994 and 2001 to assess the impact of the CFP in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, China and Latin America. Independent evaluators included The Pennsylvania State University, Lincoln University, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. These evaluations assessed whether or not the CFP was meeting its mandated objectives of assisting countries to develop agricultural systems and enhance trade linkages. These evaluations concluded that the CFP was effective in achieving its principle objectives in those countries and regions. A PhD dissertation from Pennsylvania State University also concluded that the CFP positively influenced the knowledge and skills of Cochran fellows in Poland. In addition, CFP is currently engaged with an external evaluator from USDA/FSIS to determine the impact of a 2006 CFP China Food Safety/Sanitary and Phytosanitary Systems training activity. The completion date of this evaluation is projected for July 2008. Program guidelines require that fellows complete an evaluation of CFP at the conclusion of each training activity. These evaluations will be carefully reviewed to determine the effectiveness and relevance of the training, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

Evidence: Carlson, Mary Lou (2001). Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University. Carlson, Mary Lou (2003). Thesis Dissertation on The USDA Cochran Fellowship Program's Influence on Attitude of Polish Participants About America. Hoffstram, Kimberly and McDaniel, Margaret. (1996). Cochran Fellowship Program: Latin America & Africa Impact Evaluation. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, DC. Dr. Infanger, Craig L. and Dr. Reed, Michael R. (1996). An evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan 1994-1995, Office of International Programs, Lincoln University, Jefferson, Missouri. Cochran Fellowship Program Evaluation Chinese Supermarket Managers, Nellie Cheng, Director, East Asia, Washington, State Department of Agriculture, 1998. China Food Safety/Sanitary and Phytosanitary Systems training evaluation, USDA/FSIS, Dr. Jane Roth (currently underway).

NO 0%
2.7

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Funding for the CFP is provided primarily from the annual FAS salaries and expenses discretionary appropriation and is subject to fluctuation depending upon the overall availability of funds within the agency. A specific level of funding for CFP is not displayed separately in the annual President's budget. In certain years, the congressional appropriations committees have specified a certain level of funding for the program, but this has been included in report language and not the appropriations bill itself. CFP does receive funding from other agencies, such as the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. However, the level of funding received through those sources is not established through the annual budget process but rather through inter-agency agreement.

Evidence: None.

NO 0%
2.8

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The November 2006 FAS reorganization is addressing overall agency strategic planning deficiencies by providing an organizational structure designed to strengthen program impact in support of agency goals, objectives, and priorities. The Office of Capacity Building and Development (OCBD) has developed key strategy documents for 2007 and 2008 which are tied to the FAS Strategic Plan for FY 2006-2011 and USDA's Strategic Plan, FY 2005-2010--specifically USDA Strategic Objective 1.2, "Support International Economic Development and Trade Capacity Building." The Cochran program is an integral tool in implementing OCBD's annual performance plan, and FAS country strategy statements (CSS), as well as for meeting USDA's Performance Measure 1.2.1 to, "Provide technical and assistance and training to help countries adopt U.S. approaches to agricultural trade policy and reduce non-tariff barriers to trade." Cochran's performance is linked directly to that performance measure's targets, i.e. increasing the number of recipient countries that make substantive improvements in national trade policy and regulatory frameworks that increase U.S. market access. Cochran's contributions in helping to meet this target are reported annually in USDA's Performance and Accountability Reports. To better assess those contributions, CFP has developed two long-term performance measures and one annual performance measure that are designed to demonstrate whether the program is achieving its purpose of assisting countries to improve their agricultural systems and strengthen their trade linkages with the United States. As part of that process, baselines have been developed and targets have been established. Cochran also is taking advantage of technological innovations (websites, e-mail) to increase its ability to track the accomplishments of CFs after their fellowships.

Evidence: : Foreign Agricultural Service Strategic Plan 2006-2011 (http://www.fas.usda.gov/admin/stratplan.asp); USDA 2007 Performance and Accountability Report (http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdarpt/usdarpt.htm); USDA's Strategic Plan 2005-2010, (www.usda.gov/ocfo/usdasp/pdf/sp05-12.pdf), FAS Reorganization - OCBD Functional Statement, (http://fastnet.usda.gov/OA/FASOrganizationalReview/FunctionalStatements/FunctHome.htm).

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 75%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score
3.1

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: CFP receives feedback from FAS overseas posts on an annual basis. The feedback includes information on program achievements and beneficial outcomes, as well as areas that need improvement. Additionally, posts remain in touch with fellows after the training to track whether the knowledge and skills gained are being applied. Participants take an evaluation survey at the end of their training in order for them to give feedback on the relevance of course content, the performance of training providers and program staff. This survey is also important in determining the level of influence the training had on knowledge and skills to increase bilateral trade and initiate change. Information collected from these surveys is used to measure progress against the baseline for the annual performance measure. At the conclusion of training programs procured through USDA's Integrated Acquisition System (IAS), training providers send CFP a final report detailing accomplishments, as well as issues that came up during the program. Approximately one third of total training programs are procured through IAS. CFP staff and training providers routinely identify and discuss any deficiencies on the part of program staff, training providers, and fellows in order to improve future programs. On a yearly basis, CFP staff collects information received from providers and posts, and compiles an annual report, which is approved by management and contains information on all the training programs from the previous fiscal year, including program outcomes and funds spent. The report is distributed to posts and to training providers as requested, however, due to privacy concerns it is not made available on the Internet.

Evidence: CFP annual reports; Project Tracking System (PTS); Post Priorities; Training provider final reports; Cochran Participant Program Evaluations.

YES 14%
3.2

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: When CFP receives a proposal from a training provider, the budget is reviewed by program staff to ensure that the amounts are appropriate. The program schedule is also reviewed to ensure that all requested topics are covered. Federal travel guidelines are adhered to regarding lodging, per diem, and daily salary rates. Federal regulatory requirements relating to administration, cost principles, and audits are included with each cooperative agreement. All CFP managers and staff have in place performance plans with individual elements that address program planning, implementation, administration, financial management, and mission results for the CFP. Employees meet with supervisors twice a year to review whether they have met or exceeded the standards set forth in the performance plan. Each year, Cochran staff have an opportunity to rate each FAS post on how well they manage the Cochran Program in the field (recruitment, debriefing, tracking, impact reporting). This information is incorporated into the annual performance appraisal of FAS field staff. FAS posts provide feedback to CFP on performance results through contact with fellows, and the tracking of any positive results down the road (i.e. the purchase of U.S. commodities or the establishment of beneficial trade policy). Each CF is given a program evaluation form through which they give feedback on the training program, including course content, whether the topics were applicable to their job, effectiveness of the training provider, and contacts made in the United States. Fellows also rate program staff on planning, logistics, and choice of training program.

Evidence: FAS/OCBD/TSED Performance Plan, Progress Review and Appraisal Worksheet for Program Training Coordinators, International Training Specialists, Program Manager; Cochran Training Provider Proposal (example); Cost Reimbursable Agreement (example); CFR regarding pay ceilings for contractors: see Sec. 304.105 (a) of the Code of Federal Regulations, (http://www.opm.gov/fedregis/1995/60r45647.txt); OMB Circulars No. A110 (2 CFR Part 215), A21 (2 CFR Part 220) (/OMB/circulars/a110/2cfr215-0.pdf); OMB Circular 133 (/OMB/circulars/a133/a133.pdf).

YES 14%
3.3

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?

Explanation: All funding for CFP is obligated according to FAS agency-wide fund control procedural and policy guidance, which is described in response to question 3.6. Obligations are recorded on a timely basis in agency and departmental financial systems to ensure that program implementation can proceed in order to meet program objectives over the required timeline. It is critical that Federal and other partners' contracts and related costs are in place prior to implementation of all CFP programs. A separate accounting code is established for each discrete Cochran training, ensuring that all expenditures are tied to a specific country and/or training focus and facilitating the reconciliation process. Reconciliation of all obligations and expenditures is performed at various intervals to be sure official accounting records are accurate. Timely reviews of unliquidated balances are performed based on OMB Circular A123, Management and Accountability Act.

Evidence: The FAS Contracts and Agreement Division (CAD) performs on-going and periodic financial reviews of all unpaid or unliquidated balances. Action is taken with supporting evidence to de-obligate unused balances from the official accounting records; the documentary evidence varies based on transaction type. CAD also certifies according to Department Regulation 2230-001, Reviews of Unliquidated Obligations (http://www.ocio.usda.gov/directives/doc/DR2230-001.pdf), during its annual review of the validity of all open unpaid balance, which is forwarded to the USDA, Office of Chief Financial Officer. All CFP grants/cost reimbursable agreements are covered under OMB Circular A133, Audit of States, Local Governments and Non-Profit Organizations (/OMB/circulars/a133/a133.pdf).

YES 14%
3.4

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: CFP staff has developed an efficiency performance measure with baseline and targets for the program that measures the average cost per participant. This allows staff to track the average cost over time and work to reduce it. One significant step already taken to reduce costs is the requirement that most CFP fellows pay for their travel to and from the United States. CFP also strives for cost effectiveness by combining participants from multiple countries into training programs of similar topics, reducing the number of participant travel locations included in training programs, using locally engaged staff (FAS, foreign national staff overseas) as interpreters on training programs if needed, and sending CFP staff to training locations to conduct program orientations rather than bringing large groups through Washington, D.C., which results in significant cost savings. Efficiency and cost effectiveness are an integral part of the CFP structure. For more efficiency and effectiveness, CFP is divided into four world regions to implement programs since different areas of the world focus on different training topics and maintain varying levels of development. Most CFP training programs occur between June and November with each CFP region planning and implementing 25 to 35 separate training programs within that timeframe. Many different tools are utilized to help staff become more efficient with the large workload, such as task checklists, regular staff meetings to streamline processes, utilizing a narrative style Project Tracking System (PTS) that records all CFP programs and fellows, reporting weekly on upcoming activities. Demand for Cochran training greatly exceeds supply of available resources so cost effectiveness is important and implemented by awarding training contracts through a competitive process, in adherence to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for private vendors and on the CSREES List Serve for the University community, to ensure the most cost effective trainer is used. All financial obligations are also recorded in the PTS financial tracking system, and CFP staff utilize this system to continually analyze the cost of programs by country and group.

Evidence: Isaacson, J: CFP Onsite Orientation Cost Comparison, February 2008; PTS Fiscal Year Report; FAR 6.102, page 147 (http://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/pdf/FAR.pdf); 2007 CFP/CSREES Request for Interest Announcement.

YES 14%
3.5

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: CFP routinely collaborates with universities, trade associations, agricultural cooperator groups, private agricultural businesses, and government agencies in the development and carrying out of training programs appropriate for mid-level professionals. It also works with the Interagency Working Group on Exchanges (IAWG) through the Department of State which develops information on exchange programs within the U.S. government in order to report recommendations to the President for the improvement and efficiency of U.S. exchange programs. CFP can use IAWG's reports and recommendations to make program improvements and use other IAWG members' program management tools for increased efficiency. CFP was cited by IAWG as one of eight, "successful international exchanges and training activities conceived, managed, and executed as partnerships [that] can serve as useful models for government departments and agencies seeking to implement or expand their international activities." Collaboration within USDA and with other agencies is maximized to ensure that participants get a fully comprehensive exposure to their training topic. Within USDA, CFP cooperates closely with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and others in carrying out the training. Outside of USDA, Cochran collaborates with USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program and with universities hosting international short courses on topics ranging from biotechnology (Michigan State University) to Sausage and Processed Meats (Iowa State University). CFP maintains a database of training partners and conducts outreach to university and cooperator communities to increase collaboration in the agricultural development field. CFP fellows attend training programs hosted by agricultural cooperator groups, most of which are associated with the U.S Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) which has approximately 80 members [that] are U.S. commodity trade associations, farmer cooperatives and state regional trade groups from around the country, representing the interests of growers and processors of a variety of U.S. agricultural products. CFP training programs also coordinate with U.S. university agricultural programs.

Evidence: Annual Reports 1991-2007; Inter-Agency Working Group, (www.iawg.org); IAWG Case Study outlining collaboration at a Federal Level, (http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:Jx8Qblw4tf4J:www.iawg.gov/rawmedia_repository/f9220017_e572_4fd0_b50d_c94e54fbea11+Cochran+Fellowship+Program+collaboration&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us); FDA/CFSAN Food Safety Initiative Constituent Update: Food Safety Research, Seminar, Training, (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fsiupd11.html); The Cochran Fellowship Program for the Caribbean Basin, (http://www.cbato.fas.usda.gov/Cochran.htm); GAO International Trade - U.S. Agencies Need Greater Focus to Support Mexico's Successful Transitions to Liberalized Agricultural Trade under NAFTA, pg 72, 94; USDA ATO Brazil, (http://www.usdabrazil.org.br/ingles/paginas/usda.htm), FTAA Negotiating Group on Agriculture, (http://www.ftaa-alca.org/tecass/derdoc/dagw35e.doc); USDA Fact Sheet, U.S. Agricultural Programs in Iraq; Release No. 0270.06; USAID John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer Program Mid-Term Assessment, February 2007, pg. 39; International Short Course in Agricultural Biotechnology, (www.iia.msu.edu/shortcourse-iab.html), Iowa State Sausage and Processed Meats Short Course, (http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/processedmeats/home.html); USAEDC- About Us, (http://www.usaedc.org/about.cfm); Penn State International Programs, (http://international.cas.psu.edu/CEEurope.htm#cochranprogram); USAID/East Africa: East African Exports Climb as Companies Penetrate U.S. Markets, (http://eastafrica.usaid.gov/en/Article.1129.aspx); What's New at NCI?, (http://www.northern-crops.com/whatsnew/whatsnew.htm); WISHH, WFP & ADM Partner in Cote d'Ivoire School Feeding, (www.wishh.org/news/WISHHListNov03.pdf); Isaacson, J., FY08 CFP Training Providers Summary, January 2008; Isaacson, J., CFP Coordination Timeline 2008, November 2007, Isaacson, J., CFP Coordination 2008 Flowchart, November 2007; UES Cooperator Instructions & Guidelines.

YES 14%
3.6

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: CFP uses the International Funds Control and Reporting System (IFCRS), an FAS agency-wide funds control system designed and developed to support the financial management of FAS' program funding. IFCRS provides both comprehensive financial planning capabilities and a means to record Cochran's financial transactions. IFCRS provides CFP staff with the ability to establish and maintain operating plans, provides users with the functions needed for consolidated financial reporting and control, and provides an electronic interface with the Foundation Financial Information Systems (FFIS), USDA's official accounting system. CFP also uses FAS Reporting, which uses the financial transactions recorded into the official USDA financial system of record, FFIS. CFP also uses a system internal to OCBD called PTS, or Project Tracking System. This enables staff to keep track of both what funds have already been obligated and what will be obligated in the future.

Evidence: The FAS Budget Office produces an annual Financial Accounting Coding Manual, and training manuals for agency subsidiary systems (IFCRS, FAS Reporting, PTS) that are available for reference. The FAS Budget Office and the Contracts Agreement Division provide periodic training for program staff and managers when necessary. The management policies that govern the use and oversight of funds are the same as are applied to FAS general appropriations which follow budget and accounting guidelines as prescribed by OMB Circular A11 (http://clinton2.nara.gov/OMB/circulars/a11/a11-99.pdf). Those policies dictate that agencies have a funds control system in place to prevent Anti-Deficiency Violations and that obligations go through an administrative fund control review process.

YES 14%
3.7

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: Under the FAS agency restructuring, both a contracts and agreements division and budget division have been created under the new Office of Administrative Operations (OAO). The contracts and agreements function had been embedded in OCBD programs, but is now more closely aligned with the budget function which provides stronger financial oversight. Procedures have been adopted that require all staff to take updated training on financial management databases to authorize and track financial obligations. These databases include International Fund Control and Reporting System (IFCRS), a system designed and developed to support the financial management of FAS program funding; FAS Reporting, which uses the financial transactions recorded into the official USDA financial system of record, FSIS; OCBD's internal Project Tracking System (PTS), which tracks current and future obligations; the Integrated Acquisitions System (IAS) which reinforces roles and responsibilities for program procurement; and Gov-trip, which streamlines travel authorization and voucher approval. OCBD also has developed a handbook of administrative procedures to ensure transparency and appropriate levels of approval in financial decision-making. The program uses both electronic and hard copy signatures at various approval levels in OCBD and OAO to ensure financial integrity. These steps have improved reporting on quarterly status of funds and expenditure projections, and have helped to streamline administrative procedures.

Evidence: FAS Reorganization, OCBD Functional Statement, (http://fastnet.usda.gov/OA/FASOrganizationalReview/FunctionalStatements/FunctHome.htm); OCBD Administrative Handbook; Project Tracking System Database; IFCRS and Procurement training manuals, IAS AgLearn training module and Gov-trip training manuals and tips (http://www.govtrip.com/govtrip/site/section_doc.jsp?sid=15).

YES 14%
3.CO1

Are grants awarded based on a clear competitive process that includes a qualified assessment of merit?

Explanation: CFP awards grants on an annual merit-based review process; all training participants are chosen through this process. CFP staff starts the process by sending a public announcement to each FAS post requesting Foreign Service officers to submit training priorities for their assigned countries. FAS posts, which work directly with relevant ministries, non-governmental organizations, private industries and farms, compile their priorities and submit them to CFP staff. FAS posts know first hand what training is necessary and what issues are current in the agricultural field for their assigned countries based on FAS country strategy statements. CFP staff meticulously reviews each priority and designates the top priorities for that year. The number of candidates is dependent upon the funding that is allotted to each region. After each country is allocated a number of training slots, posts are then asked to recruit based on their priority training topics. Post uses various tools to announce the CFP and solicit appropriate candidates. These tools include website announcements and newsletters which provide details on applying for CFP, communication with internal government contacts at foreign ministries of agriculture, university personnel, private sector and former distinguished Cochran fellows. FAS posts recruit candidates who are not former Cochran fellows and only those who would benefit greatly from the training. Each applicant is required to complete a Cochran application form regarding their current employment, educational background, and English language proficiency. Completed applications are submitted to the designated local FAS office and then screened by both FAS/Foreign Service Officers and locally employed staff to ensure fairness of the competitive process. Applicants are then scheduled for an official face-to-face interview with CFP staff or FAS overseas staff. The final process leading to selection includes in-depth discussions among CFP and FAS in-country staff, which includes assessing applicant commitment to the topic, whether training will enhance their current position, the applicant's influence or decision-making ability in their current position, and the likelihood of extending knowledge and skills to others after the training.

Evidence: Cochran Fellowship Program website, (http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/cochran/cochran.asp), (http://www.cbato.fas.usda.gov/Cochran.htm) Cochran Fellowship Program Application; Cochran Fellowship Program Description 2008; 2008 Cochran Fellowship Program Interview Form- Government/Non-Profit; 2008 Cochran Fellowship Program Interview Form- Corporate; CFP Coordination Timeline 2008, CFP Coordination 2008 Flowchart; UES Cooperator Instructions & Guidelines, Cochran Fellowship Program- Post Guidelines.

YES  %
3.CO2

Does the program have oversight practices that provide sufficient knowledge of grantee activities?

Explanation: The CFP has strict oversight protocols on grantees (fellows) from the application phase until they complete their debriefing in their home countries after the training. After acceptance as a fellow, the Responsible Officer, who is the Cochran Program Manager, authorizes issuance of a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status) through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The State Department has designated the CFP as an exchange visitor program authorized to issue the DS-2019 document. SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows exchange programs (such as the CFP) and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to exchange data on the visa status of exchange visitors. Current information is transmitted electronically by CFP through SEVIS during a CF's stay in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS and can confirm authenticity of DS-2019 when a prospective CF applies for a J-1 visa. Contractual agreements with agricultural universities and other training providers mandate that detailed itineraries are developed with daily programs, including addresses of training contractors, study tours and training locations, hotel accommodations, international and domestic travel arrangements and phone numbers of all organizations participating in the administration of the training programs. The fellows are met at the airport in most cases by the training provider and are typically provided a training orientation by USDA staff in Washington, D.C or at their training site. They are accompanied by professional trainers at all stages of their fellowship. Biographical, contractual and physical location information for each grantee is maintained in an agency-wide database. The agency database has been expanded in recent years. Awareness of the location of CFP fellows at all times is now mandated by the FAS Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan so that CFP can locate all fellows in case of a national emergency. The State Department's Alumni website tool described in question 2.3 is being promoted among CFs during their orientation at the beginning of their training which should improve continued contact with CFs after their training is completed. Funds are provided to CFs only for their lodging, meals and incidentals. CFP will be adopting a debit-card system in 2008 whereby funds can be electronically debited from individual cards should a CF have to depart the program early.

Evidence: The FAS COOP Plan is an internal emergency preparedness document not available on a public web site. CFP uses a Microsoft access database program (Project Tracking System) to document and monitor current and past Cochran fellows and Cochran training programs. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) (http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/). State Alumni web site (https://alumni.state.gov/landing-page); State Dept Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs Exchange Visitor Program (http://exchanges.state.gov/education/jexchanges/).

YES  %
3.CO3

Does the program collect grantee performance data on an annual basis and make it available to the public in a transparent and meaningful manner?

Explanation: The CFP publishes an annual report that includes basic information on each of the training programs, as well as the fellows who participated in them. Each year's report includes success stories that describe outcomes resulting from the training. The annual reports are freely available upon request. At present, they are not being posted to the FAS website due to privacy concerns regarding personal contact information about each fellow. However, information on the number of prior year participants and their geographical regions, as well as examples of training results is included in the FAS Explanatory Notes that are prepared for the congressional appropriations committees in conjunction with the annual President's budget. The FAS Notes are available on the USDA website and also appear in the printed hearing record of the committees. Information on the CFP training activity is reported in the annual IAWG report on U.S. Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training and in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

Evidence: Cochran Annual Reports 1984-2006, FAS Explanatory Notes (http://www.obpa.usda.gov/explan_notes.html); 10.962 COCHRAN FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM-INTERNATIONAL TRAINING-FOREIGN PARTICIPANT, (http://12.46.245.173/pls/portal30/CATALOG.PROGRAM_TEXT_RPT.SHOW?p_arg_names=prog_nbr&p_arg_values=10.962); IAWG Case Studies, (http://www.iawg.gov/partnership/case_studies/); IAWG FY05 Annual Report, (http://www.iawg.gov/reports/annual/)

YES  %
Section 3 - Program Management Score 100%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score
4.1

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The first long-term performance goal aims to maximize the percent of CFs who maintain a professional relationship with the U.S. after their fellowship. Existing (58%) and targeted (75%) levels of professional contact with CFs can be considered excellent in comparison with other organizations. The National Peace Corps Assoc. membership comprises only 6% of Americans who served in the Peace Corps. Mich. and Iowa St. Univ. alumni membership is 25% and 13% respectively. Because CFs are an excellent source of information on agriculture, FAS staff utilize CFs in preparing about 3000 Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) reports annually, which report on commodities, trade policy issues and markets. In addition, CFP staff schedule regularly visit former CFs when traveling to posts. Posts often organize receptions for CFs (in April 2008 the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados will host CFs). When Senator Cochran and other CODELS travel, FAS will frequently organize a reception and invite CFs. These activities reinforce a professional relationship with alumni. The CFP created during 2007 a "Who's Who in Cochran" that lists prominent Cochran alumni. The State Dept. Alumni website is a valuable tool that is helping increase performance under this long term measure. Brochures about the site are handed out to new Cochran groups and are being sent to prior fellows. A CFP employee is now working full-time on tracking former CFs and documenting their accomplishments. The second long-term goal aims to maximize the number of recipient countries that make substantive progress in adopting U.S. approaches to agricultural policy as a result of training provided by the CFP, including through improvements in national trade policy and regulatory frameworks and through reductions in non-tariff barriers to trade. In 2007, the CFP reported significant progress towards this goal in four countries. FAS/Thailand reported seven results directly attributable to Cochran training (including beef traceability, free trade policy, SPS rule-making and biotech). The beef traceability training addressed Thailand's lack of understanding of the U.S. traceability system, a constraint to market access for U.S. beef. The Thailand report stated: "This successful Cochran trip comes at a critical time, as the Thai Dept. of Livestock Development is currently reviewing USDA's request for greater market access for U.S. ruminant products, consistent with OIE guidelines." In Nicaragua, a 2006 Cochran alumnus in biotech organized the "First Forum on Biotechnology - Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Human Health," which helped the general public base their views on scientific facts rather than anti-biotech. rhetoric. Four CFP alumni provided expert consultations to the Health Commission of Nicaragua's National Assembly. As a result, the Health Commission sent the Assembly President a positive report on a comprehensive Biosafety Bill. Upon requests from the Min. of AG and Health, a CFP alumnus tested rice samples from fields and supermarkets to respond to an anti-GMO campaign that claimed rice imports are genetically modified. His negative finding was cited by the FAS post as "..another example of how training provided by the Cochran Fellowship Program can improve technical resources in emerging markets to facilitate access to information through science." CFP training that benefited govt. officials from the Kenya Plant Health Inspect. Service led to a partial adoption of the APHIS inspection system at Kenyan ports of entry. CFP training for Nigeria in biosecurity and modern poultry management was acknowledged as of "vital importance" by the Nigerian government and the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in curtailing spread of bird flu. CFP alumni are developing a standard operating procedure for the Nigerian poultry industry. The FAS office was given two awards by PAN for "outstanding support for the Nigerian poultry industry."

Evidence: Cochran country specific briefing papers (tracks total numbers of CFs by country and summarizes the focus of recent training programs); State Alumni web site (https://alumni.state.gov/landing-page); National Peace Corps Association (http://www.rpcv.org/2006AnnualReport.pdf); MSU Alumni Association (http://www.msualum.com/membership/faw.cfm); Iowa State Alumni Association (https://www.isualum.org/en/about_us/alumni_and_members/);Thailand CSS and Cochran Program FY 2007 review and FY 2008 planning (GAIN Report No. TH7176); Nicaragua FY 2007 Success Stories (GAIN Report No. NU8001); CFP 2007 Summary Report (Kenya, Nigeria, Costa Rica success stories); Who's Who In Cochran.

SMALL EXTENT 7%
4.2

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The annual performance goal is aimed at maximizing influence of CFP training on participants' knowledge and skills that can be used to initiate change and increase bilateral trade. Baseline (34%) for this measure reflects level of influence Cochran training has on participant knowledge and skills (for increasing bilateral trade and initiating change) that is classified as "high" on evaluation surveys completed at end of training. Based on a random sample of 79 evaluation surveys, percentage of CFs during 2007 classified in "high" category is equal to baseline of 34%. This is a positive result; CFP staff are working to increase to 50% by 2012. One promising means for doing so is by incorporating action planning into Cochran training. Under this approach CFs are requested at the end of their training to prepare a plan that identifies changes they intend to initiate in their home country (based on an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and how they plan to implement them. Eastern Europe and Eurasia region piloted this effort in FY 2007, because it had underperformed other regions in an analysis of evaluation surveys from prior years. In training conducted by University of California-Davis in 2007, action plans were prepared by two groups of CFs-Moldova and Turkmenistan. Through action plan presentations, Moldovans and Turkmens were able to both demonstrate newly acquired knowledge and skills, and elaborate on how new knowledge and skills could be applied back in their home countries. This has provided a more useful insight into how training has influenced CFs' knowledge and skills than generally possible through a self-reporting survey instrument alone. CFP will incorporate action planning into training programs when possible, especially for groups from Eastern Europe and Eurasia region. An ongoing challenge with participants from this region is that very few CFs speak English, necessitating translation for virtually every Cochran group; a unique challenge. For this reason, Cochran pays close attention to translation skills, and it is expected that impact of training on knowledge and skills should improve in the future as a result of increased emphasis. Performance of training providers is also reviewed through evaluations. This directly affects whether or not specific training providers are used again. 2008 target for annual efficiency measure is $6,967. Good progress being made this year, adopting measures described in question 4.3. Largest savings will be from reducing CFP staff travel expenditures. Increased use of telephone interviews is projected to save approx. $65,000 in international travel in FY2008. Reducing number of orientations in Washington, DC, CFP expects to save at least $25,000 in FY2008. Increased use of taxis and public transit by CFs will save an estimated $5,000, reducing reliance on private car services. Switching to debit card system in FY2008 will save $4,000 by eliminating traveler's check fees. Progress is being made towards development of a proposed additional annual performance measure (described in question 2.3) that will improve tracking of CFs after their training and also provide a mechanism to further enhance CF knowledge and skills after they return to their home countries. This proposed measure tracks number of new CFs that register on State Dept. Alumni website (State Alumni) will be a helpful indicator of progress on strengthening long-term relationships with CFs. Cochran secured State Dept. support to train overseas FAS staff on use of the website to promote professional exchanges between CFs, alumni of other programs, U.S. host institutions, and FAS. CFP is dedicating 2008 staff time to promote use of the website among future and past CFs. CFP will host a 2008 summer intern from Sen. Cochran's office. Intern will work full time on increasing use of this web tool. CFP aims to have 200 CFs registered on the website by Sept. 30, 2008.

Evidence: University of California (Davis) Action Planning Tool; Moldova and Turkmenistan Action Plans (FY 2007); CFP evaluation surveys (FY 2007); Cochran Average Cost Analysis (2002-2007); Isaacson, J: CFP Onsite Orientation Cost Comparison, February 2008; Traveler's checks cost analysis; State Alumni website (https://alumni.state.gov/landing-page).

SMALL EXTENT 7%
4.3

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: An efficiency measure has been developed for the program that measures the average cost of training for each CFP participant. The baseline for this measure is $6995. CFP aims to reduce the average cost to $6967 in FY 2008 and $6939 in FY 2009. To ensure that all program funds are utilized in an efficient manner, CFP staff strives to provide training for the maximum number of fellows possible within each year's funding availability. Actions that have been implemented to achieve the goal of greater efficiency include: telephone interviews when small numbers of candidates do not justify the cost of travel to specific regions; selection of English-speaking candidates and use of locally employed staff to translate in order to reduce translation costs; requiring minimum group sizes to achieve economies of scale; combining countries into common training groups; considering timing in relation to agricultural cycles (certain times of year can require more traveling due to the seasonality of different crops); using taxis and metro rather than private car services; review of training provider budgets, including overhead charges; use of USDA agency training resources; and accessing university courses designed for foreign exchange visitors. CFP recently created a Global Unit to consolidate the training activities for fellows with similar training interests across multiple CFP regions when possible. A major contributor to CFP efficiency is a policy whereby the majority of CFs are required to pay their own airfare to the United States. Eliminating this major expense results in a true cost-sharing partnership between the CFP and the CFs. CFP's experience has shown that CFs who use their own funds (typically the host-government or private sector entity) show a higher level of dedication and commitment to the training. In 2008, the Cochran staff reduced travel expenditures for interviews compared to 2007 by conducting more interviews by telephone (see evidence). This has allowed additional CFs to be selected for training. A large group from China will come to the U.S. in April 2008 for training. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted to compare the cost of conducting the orientation in Washington versus sending a Cochran staffer to the training site in Florida to conduct the orientation there. Choosing the latter option will result in a cost savings to the program of approximately $12,814. To reduce costs the CFP will begin utilizing debit cards instead of ordering treasury checks and issuing travelers' checks to CFs. This will result in cost savings by avoiding the high fees associated with travelers' checks (see evidence) and will also reduce timely and expensive administrative processes related to Treasury checks. CFP staff has also decreased the average cost per CF by conducting the training programs in English when possible (see evidence). If interpretation is required, CFP staff sometimes enlists FAS overseas staff to assist in translation. In the Africa region, only 10% of the training programs are conducted in a language other than English. The Asia region only utilizes the assistance of FAS overseas staff for interpretation. In the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, bilingual training providers are sought for training programs that require interpretation services. Ninety percent of the training programs conducted in LAC are conducted in English. In Eastern Europe and Eurasia, English speaking CFs are sought, but English speakers are still relatively rare, especially in central Asia. Within those circumstances, the FAS overseas staff provides translation assistance. All four regions limit providing international airfare. The Asia, LAC, and Europe/Eurasia regions of CFP do not provide funding for international airfare with appropriated funds. CFP Africa has two or three selected countries that may require funding for international airfare.

Evidence: CFP Regional Budget Reconciliations, FY 2007 and 2008; CFP PTS Financial Reports, FY 2007 and 2008; China Cold Chain Training orientation cost/benefit analysis for April 2008; CFP estimates it will save $65,000 in international travel funds during FY 2008 through increased use of telephone interviews and local staff to conduct interviews (March 2008 survey of Cochran regions); Use of debit cards will eliminate the two percent fee on the cost of traveler's checks and also yields cost savings by allowing increased numbers of CFs to travel directly to the training venues without traveling to Washington, D.C.; Each CFP training where U.S.-based translators can be avoided saves from $10,000 to $15,000. Using FAS overseas staff to translate a training event typically saves from $4,000 to $9,000 over use of a translation service. Cochran Average Cost Analysis (2002-2007); Isaacson, J: CFP Onsite Orientation Cost Comparison, February 2008

NO 0%
4.4

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: While there are no truly comparable programs, there are several other government-sponsored international exchange programs. These programs include USDA's Faculty Exchange Program (FEP) and Borlaug Fellows Program, as well as the State Department's Fulbright Fellowship Program, Humphrey Fellowship Program, International Visitor Program (IVP) and the Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) programs. Several studies have been conducted on the impact these programs with the conclusion that international exchange programs greatly improve mutual understanding and collaboration between countries. For example, an independent study on the Fulbright Scholar Program found "strong evidence that the program is achieving its mandate of promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and other nations, and that it has diverse and often powerful impacts not only on Fulbright Scholars themselves, but also on their colleagues, students, friends and families." While the other afore-mentioned programs largely pay all expenses of participating fellows, the CFP typically requires the CF or his/her employer to pay for the airfare. This results in the sponsorship of very serious candidates, as well as employers requiring good results from the training following completion of the program. For example, training from the CFP has helped to resolve certain trade disputes, decrease some nontariff trade barriers, and foster collaboration between the public and private sectors of the United States and the participating countries. Mid-level fellows have risen through the ranks to hold positions of authority in both the public and private sectors. For example, a number of former Cochran fellows have become Ministers of Agriculture, including Marius Ratolojanahary in Madagascar, Ivana Dulic-Markovic in Serbia, and Dr. Bamir Topi in Albania. In addition to previously serving as the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Topi is currently the President of Albania. After participating in the Cochran Program, these CFP alumni have worked closely with U.S. agencies to resolve nontariff trade barriers in the areas of livestock genetics and meat products.

Evidence: Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training Case Study: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service: Cochran Fellowship Program (http://www.iawg.gov/rawmedia_repository/f9220017_e572_4fd0_b50d_c94e54fbea11); The USDA Cochran Fellowship Program's Influence on Attitudes of Polish Participants about America, Mary Lou Carlson (http://www.aiaee.org/2004/Posters/carlson-poster-NEW.pdf); Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Policy and Evaluation Impact of International Professional Exchanges on a U.S. Community: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (http://exchanges.state.gov/education/evaluations/onepagers/philadelphia.pdf); Does Study Abroad Make a Difference? An Impact Assessment of the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program, Journal of Extension, October 2001, Volume 39 Number 5 (http://www.joe.org/joe/2001october/rb8.html); A Programmatic Evaluation of Civitas: An International Civic Education Exchange Program, 2004-2005 Summary Report, Gary Marx (http://www.civiced.org/pdfs/research/CIVEXREPORTSUMMARYREPORT1205.pdf); Impact of U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program Evaluated; Study Indicates Program Has Powerful Impact on Scholars, Their Families and Colleagues at Home and Abroad, SRI International, Phil Gomes and Marty Mallonee, (http://www.cies.org/Fulbright_SRIstudy_final.pdf).

YES 20%
4.5

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: The CFP provides for independent evaluations that assess whether the program has been effective by periodically contracting with an outside organization for a formal evaluation of its activities in a specific country. The CFP has contracted with Land Grant Universities, state governments and independent contractors. Formal independent evaluations have been conducted on CFP programs in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and China. Evaluation findings report that the CFP is an effective program and achieves results. The program evaluation on Poland, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan indicated "benefits reported collectively by the participants represent compelling evidence that the CFP is contributing to agricultural development and increasing trade activity in the countries surveyed." An evaluation of CFP programs in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan reported that the CFP "is making effective progress towards its overall goals of agricultural reform in the NIS and trade development for American agricultural interests." An FAS compliance review has been conducted of the former International Cooperation and Development program area (now OCBD) along with evaluations on selected agricultural topics. Each evaluation adhered to standard evaluative methodologies, including the preparation of a rigorous evaluation design and sampling methodology, carefully worded questions and topics to investigate, stated objectives and expected results to measure impact and long-term success, the collection of background information, careful data analysis and recommendations for improvement. All evaluations were conducted with CFP alumni in their respective countries. The evaluations found that CFP alumni reported positively on their training experiences and achieved professional and organizational outcomes related to their training. CFP alumni confirmed that their institutions were strengthened; they developed knowledge and enhanced ability to influence their national policies; and they developed more positive attitudes relative to American products that sometimes resulted in expanded business operations and increases in imported U.S. products.

Evidence: Cochran Fellowship Program Description 2008; Cochran Fellowship Program Summaries, 1992-2008; Cochran Technical Assistance Impact Study: An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program in Poland, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, The Pennsylvania State University. Carlson, Mary Lou (2003); Inter-Agency Working Group, (www.iawg.org); IAWG Case Study outlining collaboration at a Federal Level, (http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:Jx8Qblw4tf4J:www.iawg.gov/ rawmedia_repository/f9220017_e572_4fd0_b50d_c94e54fbea11+Cochran+Fellowship+Program+collaboration&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us); Ikbal R. Chowdhury, Infanger, Craig, L. Dr., Reed, Michael, R. Dr., An Evaluation of the Cochran Fellowship Program: Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan 1994-1995, Office of International Programs, Lincoln University. Chinese supermarket Managers (Southern China and Shanghai Region, 1998); Washington State Department of Agriculture, Cheng, Nellie, USDA/FAS Compliance Office Review, 2001.

SMALL EXTENT 7%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 40%


Last updated: 09062008.2008SPR