MINUTES

USDA Service Center

Jefferson City, Missouri

April 16, 2003

 

Present

Eli Mast, President

Steve Hopper, Past President

Brenda Ebersold, Area I

Tom Lambert, Area II

Henry Heinze, Area III

Steve Oetting, Area IV

Laura McKeever Area V

Kathryn Braden, Area VI

Bob Thornsberry, Area VII

 

David Dix, Treasurer

Peggy Lemons, Exec. Secretary

Sarah Fast, DNR Soil & Water Program

Bill Wilson, DNR Soil & Water Program

Roger Hansen, NRCS State Conservationist

Bob Miller, MDC

George Seek, MDC

Steve Radcliff, Area II Alternate

President Eli Mast called the meeting to order at 3:20 p.m. Roll call and introductions.

The minutes from the December 2, 2002 joint meeting with the Commission, the December 2, 2002 MASWCD Board Meeting, and the December 4, 2002 reorganization meeting were approved as mailed and published. The motion was made by Steve Hopper, seconded by Henry. Motion carried.

David distributed a treasurer report. He stated 96 districts have paid state dues so far this year. A list of those who have not paid was distributed. A motion was made by Laura, seconded by Kathryn, to send a reminder notice to these 18 districts. Motion carried. The treasurer report covered the current period as well as the year-to-date and there was also a report for the year 2002. David reported that the profit on the Training Conference amounted to $8904, the funds from the Trade Show have not been received yet.

A motion was made by Kathryn, seconded by Laura to approve the treasurer report as presented. Motion carried.

Eli reported that the black powder rifle that was donated to the NACD Legislative Auction in Orlando sold for $725, this person donated it back and it sold again for $775 for a total of $1500. He also reported that the North Central Region purchased Gary Mast's tie which each state in the region agreed to contribute $50 for. A motion was made by Kathryn to ratify this $50 payment. This was seconded by Bob. Motion carried.

The Training Conference was reviewed. Bill Wilson reported there were more positive comments on the lodging due to the new tower at Tan-Tar-A. He stated there were a lot of positive comments about the workshops. Tom asked about the workshops for watershed trustees and technicians. He stated they said there was not much that pertained to them. Bill Wilson stated that the conference is targeted to the SWCD supervisors, however, some of the workshops would also apply to the watersheds as well as the SWCD's.

Those who attended the North Central meeting in Chicago reviewed items discussed there. Laura, Eli and Peggy reported the main topic of discussion was the new Farm Bill, however the rules for the new programs were not written at that time and most of the discussion was on assumption of what the rules would contain.

The NACD National Meeting in Orlando was also reviewed. Again, the main topic of discussion was the Farm Bill. Eli, Brenda, Laura and Bob attended the meeting. Bill Wilson stated he is checking on getting a copy of the capacity building information that was presented in one of the workshops.

The Washington, DC legislative meeting was reviewed. This meeting was attended by Eli, Brenda and Peggy. The visits with the legislators were positive, however, were cut short as this was the day before the war started.

An update was given to the Board on the bills currently in the State Legislature. House Bill 494 has an amendment #3 that was offered to it that includes statements that if a county should desire to set laws more strict than the state on CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations), the recommendations on these CAFO's would then go through the local soil and water conservation district. There was an executive session on the bill in committee yesterday, however due to not being within the 24-hour notice rule it was voted to reconsider at the next meeting. The bill will more than likely be voted out of committee today. It is not known exactly what the status of the amendment is, if it will be included in the version passed out of committee or not. The Board discussed the aspects of the bill and its intent. There is an appointment with Representative Myers and Representative Guest tomorrow morning for the Board to meet with them concerning this bill. All other bills are still in committee and it looks highly improbably that they will be voted out of committee this legislative year. The budget is still in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Peggy gave an update on the NACD quota collection this year. A list of districts that have paid so far was distributed. This list also shows the last time a district paid and how much was paid, back to 1995. There are some who have never paid NACD quota. The board discussed what could be done to help districts understand the importance of NACD and paying quota.

Eli stated the update on the policy has not been completed yet. He plans to have a small committee prepare a draft that will be posted on the web page for everyone to submit comments on. This draft needs to be ready by Area Meetings.

George Seek of MDC met with the Board to discuss the current MOCREP cooperative agreement and the opportunity for a CRP cooperative agreement. The MOCREP agreement was originally due to end in May, however, he stated they would like to extend this agreement in hopes to get more landowners to participate. The CRP cooperative agreement will include incentives for quail management for landowners with land in the CRP program. He stated the number of quail is on the decline and has been for the past 15 years. The new Farm Bill has some provisions that will be beneficial for quail such as active management of CRP land. The land currently in CRP also desperately needs active management which will be offered on a voluntary basis. He stated $100,000 is budgeted for this program. A motion was made by Kathryn, seconded by Laura, to have MASWCD participate in this cooperative agreement with MDC. Motion carried.

Area Meetings will be held the weeks of august 11 and August 18. In the past years they have been in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of August. They will be going back to a more traditional training format. Based on this year’s budget, there may be a segment on the new education grant being requested in the budget allocation. Will probably be a 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. time frame. The board discussed areas where the location of the meeting may need to be changed. Nominating committees will need to be organized in Areas 1-3-5-7 for elections due to the new by-laws passed at the last Annual Meeting. The slate of nominees needs to be sent to Peggy by July 15 to be compiled and sent to the districts.

A request had been received to prepare a guideline for hiring employees. This is being worked on, information has been requested from the MO Department of Labor. Hopes are to put together a 1-2 page summary for ease of use.

An opportunity to participate as a member in the MO Environmental Education Association was received. After discussion, a motion was made by Kathryn, seconded by Brenda, to approve a 1-year membership as long as the Envirothon was also included in this. Motion carried.

Attendance at the NACD North Central Regional Meeting was discussed. The meeting is July 14th to the 16th. It ends at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 16th. A motion was made by Henry, seconded by Tom, to approve sending a maximum of 4 to this meeting. Motion carried. Kathryn, Laura, Eli and Peggy will attend.

MDC REPORT: No further report from the earlier discussion.

NRCS REPORT: Roger Hansen reported on the office consolidation issue. There have been no written directions yet. He expects to receive them in the next 2 weeks. Probably by the end of May the FAC Committee will be given the task of coming up with the offices to consolidate according to the criteria that hasn’t been received yet. There will be 200 offices consolidated nation-wide, however, none will be closed before October 1. Roger also reported on the situation with the EQIP cost-share rates. The EQIP rates are at 50% which could cause a problem with the state cost-share rates since they are tied to the federal docket. Roger is working with the Commission on this issue. It looks like there are 2 options for the Commission, to lower their cost-share to 50% or start a rules change process to separate the cost-share dockets. The Commission will take up this issue at their next meeting in May.

COMMISSION REPORT: Bill Wilson reported the next Commission meeting will be May 21, and there is a full agenda. The new SALT AgNPS need to be approved, as well as the allocations for the next fiscal year and the cost-share issue. There is currently a hiring freeze for the state, which affects the Program Office. There are 2 vacancies in the SALT staff and 6 vacancies in the soil science unit. The sales tax revenue over the last year was up 2-½ %, the interest on the reserve is down. The audit on DNR that has been going on for the past 2 years is being finalized and a report will be coming out soon.

Committee Reports: Kathryn Braden reported on the Urban Committee. The committee met last Monday to finish with the brochures. She has disks for each district which will be given to the Area Directors to be sent out. The workshop held at the Training Conference was very successful. They are discussing holding a workshop again this coming year. Dean Martin discussed with their committee the possibility of farmland protection legislation. He stated that Missouri is the only state in this region that does not have enabling legislation. The current law states only non-profit organizations can purchase the land and hold the easement—wants to change the law so cities and other local governmental agencies can also participate. Dean has offered to draft the justification for the legislation that could be given to a legislator for submitting a legislative bill. A motion was made by Steve Hopper, seconded by Kathryn, to endorse this effort. Motion carried with one opposing vote (Henry Heinze).

Other Business: Brenda reported she is working with the group preparing the ranking system and rules for the new $250,000 information/education program. She suggested the districts be notified this will be discussed at the Area Meetings and that they should be there for the discussion.

The next meeting was tentatively set for Wednesday, June 25, 2003, starting in the late afternoon at the USDA Service Center in Jefferson City.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Lemons, Executive Secretary

 

Eli Mast, President