MASWCD MINUTES

USDA Service Center

Jefferson City, Missouri

September 13, 2007

 

Present

Fred Feldmann, President

Steve Radcliff, Area II

Kenny Lovelace, Area III

Beverly Dometrorch, Area IV

George Engelbach, Area V

Marie Iiams, Area VI

Sharon Gifford, Area VII

Steve Oetting, Past President

Peggy Lemons, Executive Director

David Dix, Treasurer

Richard Hoelscher, Area V Alternate

Bill Foster, DNR Soil & Water Program Director

Bill Wilson, DNR Soil & Water Program

Roger Hansen, NRCS State Conservationist

Kathryn Braden, Soil & Water Commission

Brad McCord, MO Department of Conservation

Not Present

Bruce Biermann, Area I

Harry Robbins, Area VIII

 

 

 

President Fred Feldmann welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. with a quorum established. George left to participate in a conference call with NACD and Richard took over for Area V.

The minutes from the May 23, 2007 meeting were approved as mailed. The motion was made by Beverly, seconded by Kenny. Motion carried unanimously.

A treasurer report was distributed. 107 have now paid state dues in full. David mentioned that one district has already paid their 2008 dues as well as individual memberships. There were also financial reports for the MOCREP funds and the CRP-BOB funds. A motion was made by Steve Radcliff, seconded by Beverly, to approve the Treasurer Report as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

MDC REPORT: Brad McCord distributed a report on cost-share completed in FY-07. He stated that the Governor has signed an Executive Order concerning feral hogs. He also stated that they had just released an economic analysis completed through FAPRI on the CP33 practice.

NRCS REPORT: Roger Hansen stated his budget is now balanced for the remaining fiscal year. He had 460 staff years at the beginning of the fiscal year, now it is at 420 and he expects it to be around 400 by January or February. There were 130 NRCS employees detailed out of state this fiscal year. Roger stated that Missouri is still probably in the top 5 states in the country for the number of NRCS staff. A lot depends on the new Farm Bill. He expects FY-08 to be another difficult budget year. The EQIP sign-up started this past Monday. The sign-up is earlier that in the past, but this is due to the need to allow time to get those signed up through the process before the rules change when or if a new Farm Bill is approved. He stated that last time there was no transition clause included in the Farm Bill, so as soon as it was signed it became effective immediately along with all the new programs and rules. Roger stated that the Area Office in Jefferson City will be closed on October 1. The counties from Area 3 will be divided into the remaining 4 areas. There were also 3 Watershed offices (Monticello, Fayette and Carthage) closed as well as a Soil survey Office in Palmyra.

COMMISSION REPORT: Kathryn Braden encouraged everyone to stay and attend the Commission meeting the following day. She stated she had received numerous calls from districts concerning the recent changes in district allocations and job classifications. She stated she encouraged everyone to wait until things settle down. Beverly asked Kathryn about the role of the Commission. She stated that the Commission’s role is "to hear and decide appeals, develop new policy and instruct the director on how to carry it out". The expired terms of the Commission was discussed. Bill Foster indicated he felt that Kathryn, Baughn and Richard would be re-appointed. John is no longer serving and a replacement for him is in consideration. Liz is the only one that they are not sure of right now. Bill Foster stated he has visited with a lot of the boards. He stated he is looking at possible changes in the Training conference for next year to shorten the time of the conference. He briefly reviewed the progress on the group health insurance plan. Mercy had given a bid several weeks ago, Coventry has just now gotten a bid in which appears to be on the high side. Due to increases on everyone’s current policies, he feels that an increase will be necessary in the fund balance and will be asking Doyle Childers for permission to request a supplemental budget to finish FY-08 for the health insurance. He stated he feels this is necessary as the increases are going to happen in the old system or the new system. He is also suggesting starting working with the Office of Administration to get a bid package ready to go out for bids nationwide for the group health insurance for the following years. A motion was made by Steve Radcliff, seconded by Marie, for MASWCD to support the health insurance proposal being considered to become effective January 1. Motion carried unanimously,

Bill Foster reported that at first they planned to buy 114 computers, but the estimate was higher to maintain the older computers than to buy new computers, so they are now purchasing 300 new computers with DSL lines or satellite. He is still working with Roger Hansen on the amount of access district employees will have to the NRCS computers. Roger indicated NRCS has still not determined how many core load machines will be in each office. He would like to be able to keep 1 machine per office for districts to use. This is yet to be determined by headquarters. If this does not happen, he will try to allow district employees use of NRCS employee’s machines when they are out in the field. Brad McCord stated that the MDC employees located in field offices have been affected the same way.

Bill foster also stated that the job descriptions are being revised and should be out soon. They are beginning to work on a manpower study to determine the correct number of employees in each district.

George returned to the meeting and took over for Area V.

DISTRICT EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Planning has started for the Trade Show at the Training Conference along with the Silent Auction.

Old Business:

Fred, George and Steve Radcliff briefly reviewed the NACD Legislative Meeting they attended in July in Washington, D.C. They felt the reception at the legislative offices was good. George reported on the conference call he participated in earlier today concerning the development of the new Farm Bill. There are potential substitutes in the Senate for the Farm Bill and the issue of reorganization may be re-visited due to lobbying of the FSA national employee organization. NACD supports the current structure of the Farm Bill without any reorganization included. They fully expect to have an extension of the current Farm Bill as Congress expects to be in session until Christmas break. During their visits in D.C. Fred, George and Steve also discussed NRCS technical assistance, 319 funding and PL566 funding. During the D.C. meeting they had a chance to tour the NACD building and see the plans for renovation. The Capitol Court Campaign was discussed. The design of the plan is for every district that has a state association current or past president contribute $100 toward the building renovation campaign. A motion was made by Beverly, seconded by Steve Radcliff, to send $900 to the Capitol Court Campaign in the names of the 9 living presidents of MASWCD (current and past). Motion carried unanimously. A motion was made by Marie, seconded by Steve Radcliff, to send in a lifetime membership for the current president. Motion carried with Fred abstaining from the vote.

The Board briefly reviewed the Area Meetings which were held in June. The main topics were the group health insurance and new allocation process. Both of these were discussed during the Commission Report.

New Business:

Steve Oetting is 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 attended a meeting in Montana in June. Montana has been working on this already and invited Missouri and Iowa to join their meeting and see what they have been working on. Missouri has 25 districts that border the river. Mike Wells of DNR is representing Missouri on the Missouri River Recovery Initiative Committee (MRRIC). When fully organized and running this will give SWCD’s opportunities to give input on the Missouri river. Steve is wanting clarity on to what extent we want to be involved. He suggested a meeting at the Training Conference for the counties that border the river. The main effort of these committees is to get more people at the table to discuss river issues and uses. A motion was made by George, seconded by Marie, to approve having a meeting of these counties at the Training Conference. Motion carried unanimously.

Steve also reported on a Lunch and Learn tour at his farm that was attended by Senator McCaskill and her staff. He will be going to Washington, D.C. representing another group but will have an opportunity to visit with Senators and Congressmen/women and asked for MASWCD’s perspective on the development of the new Farm Bill. A motion was made by George, seconded by Marie giving Steve support in asking for a strong conservation message in the Farm Bill. Motion carried unanimously.

Plans for the upcoming Training Conference were discussed. A motion was made by Steve Radcliff, seconded by George, to have the registration fee remain at $40/$45 the same as last year. Motion carried unanimously. The issue of paying for meals that were guaranteed but not eaten was discussed. It appears that most of the problem lies with the Supervisor meals where they have not had to pay for these meals, just check which ones they plan to attend. After discussion a motion was made by George, seconded by Steve Oetting, to have Supervisors pay for meals with registration and receive reimbursement for these with the reimbursement of the hotel room cost. Motion carried unanimously. Entertainment for the banquet was discussed. The board agreed to go up to $5000 for the cost of the entertainment. Peggy will work on lining up something on the lines of classic country. Award nominations are very minimal this year with only one entry for each award. The Board discussed presenting certificates instead of plaques. Door prizes were discussed. Beverly showed the rest of the Board what she has already gathered from her Area. A motion was made by Steve Oetting, seconded by Marie, to approve $600 for the purchase of larger door prize items. Motion carried unanimously. Steve suggested a portable gas grill that can be used for "tailgating", etc. The gas card was also suggested to give again this year. The Area Meetings will be held prior to the MASWCD Business Meeting again this year. It was suggested to have a sign-in sheet at these Area Meetings to establish quorum to save the time of reading roll call during the meeting. The agenda for the Business Meeting was reviewed. The resolutions that have been submitted were reviewed. There are 2 that are similar. A motion was made by Steve Radcliff, seconded by Steve Oetting to combine these resolutions. Peggy will check with these districts to see if they agree with the resolutions being combined. DNR asked to add comments to the resolutions as to where legislative action might be needed, rules change necessary, etc.

Area Reports:

Area 6 – Marie stated there was quite a bit of controversy in her Area over the allocations and job descriptions. She, Fred and Kathryn will be attending the meeting of Lawrence County.

Area 7 – Sharon showed the annual report for Texas County she had received.

Area 3 – Kenny expressed his appreciation for all the help with the Area Meetings.

Area 4 – Beverly stated she had been in contact with most of the districts in her area and only a couple were happy with the new allocations, (actually 2 ½). Jackson County is concerned with the amount of funding they receive in comparison to the amount of tax dollars spent in their county. She had several questions on the allocation process, computers, and health insurance. Bill Foster provided answers she can take back to those districts.

Area 2 – Steve Radcliff stated it was dry in his area, construction was shut down for a couple of weeks. He also stated that his county was recently audited and a couple of items brought up were paying next fiscal year expenses from current fiscal year funds. Auditors stated you cannot pay in advance. He also stated the auditor said the minutes need to have motions, not say it was a board decision.

Area 5 – George stated he had received 1 complaint about the computer changes, concerned with how it will work. He has also received comments on the employee classification issues. He made it to all but 2 of his districts’ annual meetings this year.

Fred stated what he had heard most about was the job classifications.

The MOSWIMS pilot districts will be meeting next week and again in October. There will probably be a workshop at the Training Conference.

Correspondence: A request was received from the Grassland Evaluation Contest Committee for support of this year’s competition. A motion was made by Beverly, seconded by Steve Oetting, to send $250 in support of the Grassland Evaluation Contest. Motion carried unanimously.

A letter from NRCS asking for customer service feedback was discussed. The Board decided to send a letter in support of Roger’s partnership and cooperation to NRCS.

Other Business:

Peggy reported on the Women In Agriculture meeting held earlier this week in Columbia. Approximately 130 women attended.

The next meeting will be held Monday, November 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Tan-Tar-A. This will be the Joint Meeting with the Commission followed by a regular meeting of MASWCD starting at 1:00 p.m. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m. Motion for adjournment made by George, seconded by Sharon. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

__________________________________

__________________________

Peggy Lemons, Executive Director   Fred Feldmann, President