MINUTES

55th ANNUAL MEETING

Tan-Tar-A Resort – Salon A

Osage Beach, Missouri

December 3, 2003

 

The meeting was called to order by President Eli Mast at 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 3, 2003.

Henry Heinze and Steve Oetting called roll to establish a quorum. 60 Districts answered roll call and established a quorum present.

The minutes of the 2002 Annual Meeting were approved as presented. Motion was made by Cole County, seconded by Livingston County. Motion carried with 55 yes votes.

The treasurer report for the year November 1, 2002 to October 31, 2003 was given. The report is from Training Conference to Training Conference, however accounting for MASWCD is calendar year.

Liz Brown gave the Commission Report. She stated the cost-share claimed this past year was the greatest percent than ever before. There was 87% claimed with 91% obligated. Since the beginning of the sales tax in 1985, $322 million of cost-share has been claimed. The emergency rule allowing 75% cost-share is currently in effect, the permanent rule comments are due December 4. This rule does not require Districts to pay 75%, but allows them to pay any amount up to 75%. The Board can decide what level or levels to pay, they just have to be consistent with their criteria. There were 37 proposals for the information/education grant funds recently approved for a total of $185,000. There is an additional call for proposals for the remaining funds, with proposals due by December 31, 2003. Ms. Brown stated the Commission is diligent in trying to see that the employee benefit funds are maintained at an appropriate level. She stated she wanted to thank the Boards for allowing the employees and Boards to participate in the long range planning. She also invited everyone to attend any of the Commission meetings.

Roger Hansen gave the NRCS report. He stated 2003 was an excellent year for conservation in Missouri. We have $5 million in the PL-566 program, and $35 million for the 2002 Farm Bill programs ($14 million for EQIP, $2 million for GRP, $18 million for WRP, $1 million for FRPP, and $350,000 for WHIP). This has brought a tremendous workload to the state. It takes a combination of funding, staff, programs, and landowners willing to apply practices on the land. The 2004 budget is not approved yet; the House and Senate have each approved their individual versions, which have increased funding for conservation. $1 billion in EQIP funds would equate to $20-25 million for Missouri. There have been significant changes for EQIP for 2004. Additional questions were added to the ranking sheet on local resource priorities worth 50 points. Local workgroups need to assess what these 50 points will be for, they can be divided on several or put all on 1 local resource priority. There are 20-30 counties who have never received any EQIP funding, all counties need to have access to EQIP programs. For 2004 there will be a base allocation to each county with groups of 3-5 counties for regions. The local workgroups need to have the 50 points assigned to local resource priorities by January 1. Mr. Hansen also commented on office consolidation. In 1995 there were 13 offices in Missouri consolidated. The administration has agreed to close 200 nationally; we have closed 3 offices in the 1˝ years that will count as closures. We still have 2 offices on the list; one is a water quality office that will be moved to the local field office. That still leaves us 1 service center that is on the list. He stated he could not comment on which service center. The decision will be up to the Secretary of Agriculture as to when the list is approved and the closures named. With upcoming political elections and one state having mid-teen number of offices to close, the political pressure could result in the list not being announced soon.

The MASWCD Board of Directors decided at their board meeting on Monday that the state dues needed to be increased in order to meet their obligations. This past year there was the need to cash in a CD in order to make is through the year and there was still carryover money from the Branson Regional Meeting. The Board is recommending an increase of $100 per District raising state dues from $350 to $450. A motion was made by Livingston County to increase the dues by $100. This was seconded by Christian County. Cass County asked for explanation of the need for additional funds. After discussion, Scotland County called for the question. The vote on the question was 52 – 0. The vote on the motion of the $100 dues increase was 52 – 0. The motion was approved.

Steve Oetting explained the background of the changes and development of the new policy. The Policy Committee tried to chart the direction the membership has told us to go. Resolutions submitted that need to be incorporated into the policy will be added and an amended policy will be voted on each year. There can still be resolutions from the floor, or resolutions that have a more specific nature than what is included in the current policy. A motion was made by Daviess County, seconded by Buchanan County for approval of the new policy. The vote was 57-0. Motion approved.

Eli Mast gave the President’s Report. "I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to serve you for the past 4 years. Today we are one association – one state. As we are confronted with new challenges it is critical we pull together and face them with a united front. Locally led conservation of soil and water on Missouri’s working land, that is our objective. We need to spend time working on solutions. The Commission makes difficult decisions, their responsibility is different from ours, but be assured they are on our side. Eli commended Liz Brown on her leadership of the Commission. There is no truer friend of locally led conservation than Roger Hansen. The theme of the conference is Tools for Today and Tomorrow. We have no greater tool available to us than our employees. We must learn to appreciate them and make better use of them. District employees need to empower your boards, help them to become better district officials and you will in turn help yourself.

During the next several months you all will be asked to be involved in planning. I challenge everyone to participate not only at the local level, but also at the regional level. Why have the people of Missouri approved the sales tax, why do we need this money? The state cost-share program is not intended to provide money so that crop farmers can grow crops on grounds that should not be cropped to begin with, it is not to assist the small grassland farmers so that they can stay on the farm, it has absolutely nothing to do with any specific area of the state being able to receive their fair share, it is not to be able to provide local jobs for the district employees or provide jobs for the program office staff. The cost-share program is intended to provide best management practices proven technically sound to landowners as incentive to put conservation on the land. NACD has been able to secure less than half the dollars they have received in the past. The national board approved a restructuring plan to operate from core funds. The biggest threat now is we rely on others to fund our organization. Those who do pay will speak for you and their agenda and vision is not yours. We are still far short for this year; I thank those who have paid. Our future depends on 3 things – leadership, commitment and vision. There are two ways to respond to issues: boycott or influence. Everyone believes in a worthy cause, most people would give anything to sit where you sit and have what you have. Thank you for the opportunity to serve."

Resolution #1, submitted by Audrain County concerning MASWCD boundary change. Audrain County moved approval of the resolution and explained the reason for it. A map was not available on the overhead, however, there was a map included in everyone’s packet so they can see where the changes are. Resolution passed with a vote of 52 in favor.

Resolution #2, submitted by DeKalb County concerning the use of relief wells. Knox County moved for approval and discussion. DeKalb County explained the reason for the resolution. After short discussion, the resolution passed with a vote of 52 in favor.

Resolution #3, submitted by St. Francois County concerning the four-year limit on the DSP-3 Practice. St. Francois County moved for approval and discussion, and then explained their reasoning for the resolution. Sarah Fast explained the rules for demonstration practice limits. Cole County presented comments opposing the resolution. The resolution failed with a vote of 4 in favor and 44 opposed.

Resolution #4, submitted by Morgan County concerning no-till farming on terraces. Morgan County moved approval and explained the resolution. Cole County presented comments opposing the resolution. The resolution failed with 4 votes in favor and 48 votes opposed.

By-Law Amendment #1 submitted by MASWCD concerning the title of Executive Director. Livingston County moved to present the by-law amendment to the floor, DeKalb County seconded. Eli Mast explained the background of the amendment, just title change to bring Missouri in line with the other states. Jefferson County asked is there would be any additional cost to the association and Eli responded with a no. The By-Law amendment passed with a vote of 62 in favor.

Steve Oetting asked for any resolutions from the floor.

Gasconade County presented a resolution on streambank erosion and the removal of gravel. This is the same resolution that was passed in 2001, however was not included in the condensed policy. Gasconade County feels this issue needs to be more specifically addressed in the policy. Cole County seconded having Gasconade present the resolution from the floor. The vote to present from the floor was 49 in favor and 1 opposed. Eli Mast explained he recommended to Gasconade County to bring this back up so it could be included in the policy. Scotland County commented on required permits in this kind of work. Gasconade County explained they were not asking for cost-share, just a policy on the streambank erosion. Eli Mast reminded the group that this is the MASWCD policy, we still have to bring the issue to the appropriate parties for their discussion and approval. Franklin County commented they strongly encouraged the adoption of this resolution. They have resolutions in place in other organizations as well on this issue. Scotland County re-emphasized their comment about permitting. Livingston County called for the question. The vote on ending debate was 53 in favor. The vote on the resolution was 53 in favor, the resolution passed.

Steve Oetting reminded the districts of the new election process set in place last year and to start thinking about who might be interested in running for Area Director in the even-numbered areas.

Eli Mast had the new Area Directors stand for induction. They are: Donald Jordan from Area 1, Jim Hubert from Area 3, and Ernie Calvert from Area 7. Their duties will officially start at the end of this meeting.

There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.