Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts

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Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
Executive Board Meeting Minutes
10:00am - July 6, 2006
Wyndham Hotel
North Little Rock, AR

Call to order

R.D. “Sonny” Jones called to order the regular meeting of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts Executive Board at 9:30am on July 6, 2006 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock,

The following persons were present:

R.D. “Sonny” Jones, President
James Mitchell, 1st Vice President
Andrew Wargo III, 2nd Vice President
Roy Mahler, Secretary/Treasurer
Charles Glover, NE Area President
James Widner, NW Area President
Rocky Harrell, Central Area President
Eddie Scherm, SE Area President
Co. Judge Mike Jacobs, WC Area Pres.
David Hillman, EC Area President
Troy Odom, SW Area President
Martha Manley, NE Area VP
Eddie Stewart, NW Area VP
Debbie Moreland, Program Admin.


William “Bill” Rainwater, NACD Delegate


Adrian Baber, ANRC
Tony Ramick, ANRC
Patrick Fisk, ANRC
Sharon Underwood, AACDE
Doris Washington, NRCS
Anderson Neal, NRCS
John Shannon, AFC
Mike Daniel, UACES
Ron Bell, Independence Co. Conservation District
Pearlie Reed & guest
Alysuss Johnson, NRCS
Melissa Johnson, Sebastian Co. CD
Marion Sherrod, Sebastian Co. CD
Corey Smith, Phillips County & parents
Shane Jordan, Madison County & parents
Krystal Witcher, Drew County & parents

II. Approval of minutes from last meeting

Roy Mahler provided the minutes from the March 23, 2006 meeting.
Andrew Wargo III made the motion to accept the minutes as written, seconded by Rocky Harrell. The minutes were approved.

III. Treasurer’s Report

The following reports were provided to the board for review and discussion:

  • AACD General Checking Acct. AACD-YCW Checking Acct.
  • AWHEP Checking Acct. Stephens Investment Acct.
  • Financial Investments Arkansas Conservation Partnership Acct.
  • Debbie Moreland reported that we needed to move funds from the Stephens Investment Acct to replace funds taken to meet the Dave Ferguson Scholarships.
  • $1,000 per year is designated to be transferred into the AACD general checking account to cover this scholarship. No withdrawals have been made from this account for 2003, 2004, & 2005.
  • Eddie Scherm made the motion to move $3,000 from the Stephens Account into the AACD Checking Account, seconded by Andrew Wargo III. Motion passed.
  • Andrew Wargo III made a motion to accept the financial reports as presented, seconded by Rocky Harrell. Motion passed.

IV. Open Issues

a) AACDE Report – Sharon Underwood stated that the district employees were unhappy about the new security clearance provisions, specifically the credit report. She asked the board to look “outside the box” and seek an alternative source for our technical support which would not involve NRCS, thus removing the need for background checks.

Doris Washington, NRCS remarked that all NRCS employees, volunteers, contractors and vendors will also be asked to meet this requirement. This requirement is mandated by USDA for anyone having access to federal equipment or information.

Debbie Moreland reported that Kalven Trice, State Conservationist for USDA-NRCS has agreed to pay one half of the costs for the security clearances. The cost is $113 per person which includes the background check, fingerprinting and credit check. AACD could pay the remaining half for currently existing employees to relieve the districts of this unexpected expense. Any new employee hired after July 1, 2006 will be required to pay the costs themselves after being hired subject to 60 day probation.

Andrew Wargo III made the motion for AACD to pay one half of the costs of the security clearances, seconded by Roy Mahler. Motion passed.

b) 2006 – 2007 Budget – Roy Mahler presented the proposed budget for discussion. After discussion the board recommended that $3,000 be moved to the District Capacity line item to cover the security clearance costs.

Andrew Wargo III made the motion to accept the budget as revised, seconded by Charles Glover. Motion passed.

c) Area Meetings – An activity calendar was distributed for the Area Presidents to review for corrections and/or additions. No corrections were noted. Debbie Moreland thanked John Shannon, State Forester for the educational materials the Arkansas Forestry Commission provided. These materials will be given out at the area meetings.

d) SC NACD Regional Meeting – information was distributed. Board members were asked to contact the Program Administrator if they wanted to go. Currently those attending are: William Rainwater, NACD Delegate, David Hillman and Debbie Moreland.

e) Wal*Mart Sustainability Program – Debbie Moreland passed out the information regarding the new environmental program that Wal*Mart is seeking to implement with their buyers and suppliers. Debbie Moreland has been invited to attend a meeting at their Bentonville, AR headquarters on July 13, 2006 as part of their Land and Water Use Committee. A more detailed report will follow that meeting.

f) Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch booklet was distributed to the board members. It is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Network.

g) Dave Ferguson Scholarship – the following students made oral presentations as part of the final competition requirement. They were:

  • Corey Smith, Phillips County
  • Shane Jordan, Madison County
  • Krystal Witcher, Drew County

The board judged the students on content and presentation.

The winner was Krystal Witcher, Drew County.

V. New Business

a) Bioenergy Update – Ron Bell gave an update on current activities in the state and region. He noted that it was imperative that legislation be passed at the 2007 Legislative Session after it has been thoroughly researched and discussed to ensure a sustainable, economically viable outcome. Three goals were identified for legislation:

  • Legislation needs to address the farmer, producer, industry and consumers needs for years to come not just the immediate market.
  • Legislation must be affordable but with adequate incentives.
  • Bioenergy cannot be sustained with row crops alone. Legislation must reflect the need for R&D in alternative feedstock plus funding for construction of plants and blending facilities.

He also spoke about the 25 x 25 Program, 25% of all energy needs would be met through renewable energy by 2025. He asked AACD to consider being one of the sponsors.

David Hillman made the motion that AACD become a sponsor of 25 x 25, seconded by Troy Odom. Motion passed.

b) Watershed Based Districts – Andrew Wargo III made a brief presentation. Open discussion regarding the pros and cons were discussed. No action taken as district input must be secured. It will be discussed at area meetings and the annual meeting.

c) Global Warming/Climate Change – Pearlie Reed made a presentation regarding a program being implemented in seven states; Arkansas is one. Its goal is to educate the general public about climate change. Twelve forums will be held throughout the state. He invited the board members to attend one of the sessions and provide input and guidance. They will be sponsoring an essay contest for high school students with a $4,000 scholarship to the winner. More information will be made available at a later date.

d) AACD 2006 Board Retreat – Andrew Wargo III presented a proposal for the September 21 – 22, 2006 Executive Board Retreat. He reported that Hiram Boone, Executive Director of the Delta Conservation Development Council, Greenville, MS has invited us to view their conservation program. It is an excellent way to see first hand some of the innovative programs and projects being implemented in the Delta.

Andrew Wargo III made the motion to have the Fall Retreat as proposed, seconded by Roy Mahler. Motion passed.

e) AACD 2006 Annual Meeting – Debbie Moreland reported that the dates are December 12 – 13, 2006 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock. Suggested workshops to include District Director Authority and Responsibilities and Conservation District Board Program Evaluation Process. The Exec. Board will come in on Monday, December 11, 2006 for the Exec. Board Meeting prior to the Annual Meeting.

f) Arkansas Watershed Coalition – as part of the AWC activities, a website is being developed as a repository for the 319 Grants implemented in Arkansas from 2000 – 2006. It is located at and is still under construction but will be available for review at the 2006 Annual Meeting.

g) Sebastian County Conservation Education K-3 Curriculum Grant – Melissa Johnson and Marion Sherrod, coordinators made a soil presentation to the Executive Board. The board expressed their pleasure with the progress thus far. Six areas will be developed for each grade, K-3.

h) Travel Expenses – Debbie Moreland requested that the board consider paying travel expenses for Ron Bell regarding his Bioenergy presentations at the Area meetings and Executive Board meeting.

Rocky Harrell made the motion to pay for Ron Bell’s travel expenses related to the Area Meetings and his presentation at this meeting, seconded by Andrew Wargo III. Motion passed.

VI. Adjournment

Sonny Jones adjourned the meeting at 4:30pm.


Minutes submitted by:  Debbie Moreland, Program Administrator


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The Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
4004 McCain Blvd, Ste. 201-B
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116
Telephone (501) 904-5575