MASWCD MINUTES

USDA Service Center

Jefferson City, Missouri

May 23, 2007

Present

Fred Feldmann, President

Steve Radcliff, Area II

Not Present

Bruce Biermann, Area I

Steve Oetting, Past President

Kenny Lovelace, Area III

Beverly Dometrorch, Area IV

George Engelbach, Area V

Marie Iiams, Area VI

Sharon Gifford, Area VII

Harry Robbins, Area VIII

 

Peggy Lemons, Executive Director

 

David Dix, Treasurer

Roger Hansen, NRCS State Conservationist

Kathryn Braden, Soil & Water Commission

Brad McCord, MO Department of Conservation

President Fred Feldmann welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. with a quorum established.

The minutes from the March 20, 2007 meeting were approved as mailed. The motion was made by Beverly, seconded by George. Motion carried unanimously.

A treasurer report was distributed. 104 have paid state dues in full. The bank balance is running slightly ahead of last year. There were also financial reports for the MOCREP funds and the CRP-BOB funds. A motion was made by Steve Radcliff, seconded by Harry, to approve the Treasurer Report as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

MDC REPORT: Brad McCord stated there have been approximately 7,000 acres accepted in the CREP initiative. Feral hog eradication is becoming an issue. They have been following the development of the new Farm Bill. He distributed a list of the approvals in the Conservation Equipment Program and reviewed the types of equipment that are eligible for this program. He stated they hope to be able to continue this program annually.

NRCS REPORT: Roger Hansen stated his budget deficit was down to approximately .5 million. He has been able to do this by cutting travel, purchasing and sending employees to other states to work on EWP projects. The staff years he currently is budgeting for is down to 420 which has been accomplished through retirement and attrition. There will be no furloughs or riffs this year for personnel. Leslie Michael has accepted an Assistant State Conservationist position in Louisiana. They are currently completing a study of having 4 NRCS areas in the state instead of 5 and not filling the vacant Area Conservationist position. A decision will be made by the end of June. There will still need to be a technical office in the area currently named Area 3. Roger stated he has requested $3 million in emergency funds for flood damage. Hoping to have funds this winter for levee repairs. 25% of the cost of levee repairs must be paid by a sponsor or local community such as a levee district or county commission. Roger stated that Senator Bond continues to work on watershed funding for Missouri. George Engelbach asked Roger about the issues on Jameson Island and the Corps of Engineers work there and sediment deposits back into the river. The Clean Water Commission has currently stopped the depositing of the sediment back into the river until a study can be made on the effects of this.

COMMISSION REPORT: Kathryn Braden encouraged everyone to stay and attend the Commission meeting the following day.

DISTRICT EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORT: No report other than they have been assisting with the work on the district employee health insurance plan.

Old Business:

An update was given on the Legislative action this session. The budget was passed through with the 8% increase, not signed by the Governor yet. The other bills being followed did not make it through the session.

At the last meeting the board had requested information on the cost of Directors and Officerís insurance. Bids from 2 companies were reviewed. Since the funding for the district employee health insurance will not have to be handled through MASWCD, the board decided there was the imminent need for this coverage as they first thought, do not need it at this time.

Peggy and Fred updated the Board on the progress of the district employee health insurance plan. The plans currently being looked at were discussed. This is the main topic of discussion at the Area Meetings in June. Fred would like to take a vote at the end of each Area Meeting to see whether the group is in favor of this type of plan or not. After all the Area Meetings a vote will actually be taken by District to see if the majority are in favor. If the majority wishes to do this, plans are to have the new coverage in place for September 1, 2007.

The other topic at the Area Meetings will be job descriptions and suggested salary ranges for district employee positions. DNR has been working on these job descriptions for the past few months, has had them reviewed by the Office of Administration and the DNR Directorís office. The schedule for the Area Meetings was distributed. Elections will be held in Areas 1-3-5-7 this year. There will not be any agency, etc., reports at the meetings this year, only the health insurance and job descriptions discussions.

New Business:

Steve Oetting will be serving on a Missouri River team organized by NACD to review issues with the river and have a way to contribute input from the soil and water districts to the other agencies involved in the Missouri River issues. He will be attending a meeting in Montana in June for this. He has sent a letter to the 25 Districts along the river asking for their ideas and concerns that he can take to the meeting.

Roger Hansen reviewed a few of the issues and concerns in the early workings of the new Farm Bill. EQIP and the Farm and Ranch Program will be supported in the Farm Bill language, as will CRP, GRP and WRP. However, there is no funding identified for WRP and GRP at this time. CRP should stay about the same. The CSP program will have no money for contracts for the next 5 years. Specialty crops and forestry have been included in EQIP language. George asked about the funding for the Animal Health Identification System and how could someone impact the funding for water quality opposed to AHIS.

The North Central Region will be holding a conference call next week to discuss changes within the NACD region structure as well as other region issues. The information for the conference call will be distributed to the Board as soon as it is obtained. Fred discussed an idea promoted by the NACD Presidentís Association of having Districts who have had a past state president support NACD through individual memberships.

The NACD Spring Board Meeting and Legislative Conference is scheduled for July in Washington, D.C. Those representing will be Fred, Steve Radcliff and one other Board member. Peggy will not be attending the meeting in D.C. due to the Canon Envirothon also being held in July in New York which she will be attending. George indicated he would be able to attend the D.C. meeting with Fred and Steve. Travel arrangements will be made for them. Steve and George will also plan to stay for the Urban Conservation workshop on Wednesday following the other meeting. There will be by-laws changes to approve at the NACD Board meeting, copies of these changes were reviewed.

Area Reports:

Steve Radcliff stated his areaís biggest concern is the recent storm damage. They received 5-7" of rain in a 24 hour period. He will be asking the Commission for consideration of storm repair cost-share. A motion was made by George, seconded by Kenny, to support the Area 2 request. Motion carried unanimously. Steve stated he is also working to get board members to become individual members. His district is looking into purchasing conference calling equipment.

Kenny stated his area has an election in June. He has asked Henry to handle the nomination committee. He sent a survey to the districts in his area to help determine the best time to hold the Area Meeting.

Beverly said she also surveyed her districts for when they wished to have the Area Meting. She has attended Annual Meetings and District Board Meetings in her area. She also surveyed her districts on what practices they would like to have in cost-share that they currently do not have. The response included decommissioned wells, pest management, urban conservation and more funding for filter strips in CRP. She stated she attended the State Envirothon and encouraged everyone to get involved in the Envirothon. Beverly also discussed some issues and concerns the districts in her area had brought up.

George stated he made all be 3 of the Annual Meetings in his area. He discussed one district with some PL-566 issues. He stated he too had surveyed his districts to see what time for the Area Meeting was best and encouraged all of them to attend the Area Meeting.

Marie indicated she had attended a couple of Annual Meetings and a board meeting in her area. She had contacted the office managers to ask about the time for the Area Meeting and also asked for them to forward to her concerns or questions on the proposed health insurance which she forwarded on to Peggy.

Sharon showed a book prepared by Texas County on their programs. She stated her area is experiencing the beginnings of army worms.

Harry reported he had been contacted by Cape County asking for MASWCD support on not making changes to the Water Table Management Practice. The Commission is looking at making this practice available to all SALTís, there are 2.7 million acres across the state that would qualify. Their concern is reducing the price of the practice by removing some of the components they are currently using. They stated the cost of the practice as they currently use it is similar to the price of terracing, approximately $700 per acre. A motion was made by Harry, seconded by Beverly, to support the practice as currently used with no changes. Motion carried unanimously.

Correspondence:

Other Business:

Fred stated he had attended several Annual Meetings across the state.

Peggy asked for approval of expenses for attending the Canon Envirothon in New York in July. A motion to approve these expenses made by Harry, seconded by Marie. Motion carried unanimously.

The next regular meeting will be held September 13 at 1:00 p.m. in Jefferson City at the USDA Service Center. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m. Motion for adjournment made by Beverly, seconded by Sharon. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________________ __________________________
Peggy Lemons, Executive Director   Fred Feldmann, President