Thursday, July 30, 2020

Agenda BCD Supervisor meeting Aug. 4, 2020

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Agenda for Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Agenda BCD Supervisor meeting Aug. 4, 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Minutes BCD meeting June 2, 2020

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Remote Meeting
Call-in number is 1(646) 876-9923. Meeting ID 132436088 #

Minutes from June 2, 2020 Meeting

      1.       Call to Order at 5:02pm, and Determination of Quorum
          Supervisors: Adam Galambos, Ron Kujawski, David Ellis, Donna Kittredge
          Program Administrator: Cynthia Grippaldi
          MACD Representative: Jane Obbagy

      2.       Public Comment Period
       Adam checked the waiting room where no members of the public were present.

      3.       NRCS Report/Comments from Gary Blazejewski
       Gary was unable to attend but sent a report from which Adam read: NRCS has funded approximately 30 projects in Berkshire County. Gary is optimistic we will be able to reach out to  many landowners in Berkshire county regarding the Nutrient Management program. For the record, Cynthia will ask Gary to clarify when the aforementioned projects occurred.

      Adam asked if Jane Obbagy wished to comment. She said MACD was awarded a contract with  NRCS headquarters. The project is for NRCS to produce a manual on how NRCS can interact with small farms. Work will probably begin in September and will be done in Massachusetts.

      4.       Secretary’s Report — Submitted by Donna Kittredge
       Cynthia had two small edits — Jane Obbagy’s name was misspelled under #1 in the May, 2020  Minutes. Under item #4, add a dollar sign in front of the numbers. Ron moved to accept the minutes as amended, David second. All in favor.

      5.       Treasurer’s Report — Submitted by David Ellis
       See Treasurer’s report for May 2020 numbers. David mentioned we need to find another    insurance carrier for next year as they extended it for one more year due to COVID. The May 28 invoice from Mike of $570 includes storage which is a new item. David can mail a check to Mike on June 3 for storage of the No-till. Ron moved to accept the Treasurer’s report, David second. All in favor.

       6.       District Supervisors
-                      Ron asked about supervisor access to the field office. He suggested we need to decide if we  should all go through the background check. Adam asked if conservation districts in the state or cross the country meet outside the field office. Jane Obbagy said it works both ways — some meetings take place in the field office and others meet elsewhere. Cynthia said the district began holding meetings in the field office, then the Athenaeum, then Arizona Pizza. Jane said holding the meetings in a public space may be for ease of the public to attend. Discussion will continue.

-                     Ron asked about the benefits of membership to NACD. David found we paid $25 in the past.  Jane said MACD has paid $750. Ron asked what are the advantages of joining NACD. Jane suggested that the emails NACD sends to members contain information about grants that may be of interest to BCD.

-                     Adam stated his continued interest in getting together to meet about framework, having ample associates and supervisors, working with strategic partners, grants, goals, etc. for BCD.

       7.       Program Status
-                     Cynthia emailed UMass extension with questions related to Nutrient Management and is waiting  to hear back on how we can work with it in the Berkshires.

-                      She texted Mike who said Travis Atwell plans to rent the drill from us. Mike planted 4 ½ acres recently and has a few others lined up for August.

-                    Adam is happy with the No-till Feedback Survey that Cynthia wrote asking farmers for their feedback. He suggested it be sent as a google form to avoid paper use.

-                   Adam brought up advertising and how to best use our funds to reach our target audience regarding No-till rentals. He had great response using Facebook advertising on a project in the past with a 40% response rate and 10-15% conversion rate. Cynthia has posted its availability on our regular Facebook page. Ron suggested we look beyond Berkshire county for rentals. Cynthia sent Hampshire/Hampden District info saying we can offer it to surrounding counties but has not heard from them. Discussion continued regarding reaching out to Columbia county and/or southern VT which is closer to Cheshire. David suggested we talk to Mike to ask of his availability and how far he could travel with the seeder and what the travel distance limits are regarding insurance. David asked if there are any ag fairs where we could show off the seeder (when and if things get back to 'normal'). Jane suggested tapping into UMass Extension for suggestions on advertising.

       8.       Program Administrator Update
-                     Cynthia reported that we got funded for the pollinator grant. Out of the $3,500 grant, we received $1,500. Out of the $1,500, we would use $1,000 to purchase native plants and $500 for any signage, outreach, education, etc. David asked about the purpose of purchasing plants for the pollinator grant. Cynthia said it would be to set up a couple of pollinator gardens on public land, for instance at a school, or public office.

-                     Housatonic Valley Association Collaboration is applying for a non-point source pollution grant  and they would like us to collaborate as they think it fits with our Nutrient Management and No-Till programs. They’re looking to hire someone to run this program. Cynthia and Gary are talking with them to possibly have their new hire come work with BCD/NRCS once a month. HVA is looking for a letter of support from us.

-                    We have three insurance policies: 1) liability insurance that expires July 20 to protect 2M  liability that Ned pushed to protect the board in the event something happens with No-Till and we’re working on renewal, 2) a policy that protects the No-till equipment and, 3) a basic policy for business and workers’ comp paid on May 5.

-                     Cynthia received a letter from MDAR (Mass Department of Agricultural Resources) stating our Nursery Agent License expires on June 30. We have applied in the past because we’ve held plant sales but the info from MDAR does not state what the license is actually for. It is assumed we need it for resale to the public. Dave suggested we apply later if we decide to hold the sale. We will ask Ned what the history of having this license is.

       9.       New Business
        There was no new business to discuss.

       10.   Comments and Announcements
        Cynthia received a note from Holly saying she’s not going to continue on as a supervisor. We    would still like to have another farmer on our board. Our posting for supervisors in BEAT’s    newsletter had been removed but we will ask to repost for supervisor positions again. Adam hopes to reach out to more farmers with his new job at BNRC. Adam spoke with farmer Greg Caprone who is unable to join BCD due to his many commitments.

        11.   Adjournment
         At 6:30pm, Ron motioned to adjourn, second by David. All in favor.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Agenda BCD Supervisor Meeting July 7, 2020

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Agenda for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Upcoming Events/Meetings:
Berkshire Conservation District Supervisor meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month. Meetings are usually held at 78 Center St., Suite 206, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Pursuant to Governor Baker’s March 12, 2020 Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. Chapter 30A, Section 18, and the Governor’s March 15, 2020 order imposing strict limitation on the number of people that may gather in one pace, this meeting of the Berkshire Conservation District will be conducted via remote participation to the greatest extent possible.

Members of the public who wish to join the meeting may do so in the following manner: via teleconference at or by dialing (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID 132436088 #. Members of the public will be provided a comment period at the beginning of the meeting. No in-person attendance of members of the public will be permitted, but every effort will be made to ensure that the public can adequately access the proceedings in real time, via technological means. In the event that we are unable to do so, despite best efforts, we will post on the Berkshire Conservation District website an audio recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of proceedings as soon as possible after the meeting.

Until restrictions are lifted, the next meeting will be held remotely on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. This meeting may be recorded for internal record keeping purposes.

  1. Call to order and Determination of Quorum
      2. Public Comment Period
      3. NRCS Reporting/Comments from Gary Blazejewski

  1. Secretary’s Report – Submitted by Donna Kittredge
Review and approval of June 2, 2020 minutes

  1. Treasurer’s Report – Submitted by David Ellis
June 2020 Treasurer’s Report

  1. District Supervisors
          Continued discussion regarding BCD supervisor access to building
          BCD work plan, program focus

  1. Program Status
a.       No-Till updates (FY 2020)
b.       Nutrient Management update
c.       Pollinator Grant update

  1. Program Administrator Update 
         Update on Housatonic Valley Association and possible collaboration with BCD

  1. New Business
     10. Comments and Announcements

  1. Adjournment

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Minutes BCD Supervisor meeting May 5,2020

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Remote Meeting
The call-in number is 1(646) 876-9923. Meeting ID 132436088 #

Minutes from May 5, 2020 Meeting

  1. Call to order at 5:02pm, and Determination of Quorum.
Board members: Adam Galambos, Ron Kujawski, David Ellis, Donna Kittredge, Ned Kirchner
Program Administrator: Cynthia Grippaldi
NRCS representative: Gary Blazejewski
Public call-in: Jane Obbagy

  1. NRCS District Conservationist comments from Gary Blazejewski
Gary said the NRCS is gearing up for their funding round already. They have pre-approved 20 to 22 applications ranging from forestry to soil health to livestock. Rachel Phillips from NRCS in NH is a soil scientist and is Gary’s new boss. Gary also defined the Unfunded Cooperative Agreement which is that NRCS can set the requirements for resources sharing with BCD. Ned asked Gary if another supervisor could have access to the office in the event Cynthia is not available. That person would need a background check. Discussion to be continued.

  1. Secretary’s Report – Submitted by Donna Kittredge
Review and approval of April 9th minutes. Ned motioned with to accept with 2 corrections, second by David. All in favor.

  1. Treasurer’s Report – Submitted by David Ellis
·         There was an $820 deposit for No-till rental; $320 for credit union membership; $1.50 for Viridian; $850 for the audit. Expenses were $4,634.30, Income was $1,141.50, Net Income was -3492.80, Checking Balance as of last day of April was $5,832.70. See Treasurer’s Report for more info.
·         Liability insurance is to insure the equipment.
·         Ned asked for clarification on the checking balance as of which date.
·         The BCC Scholarship will be mailed in time for the graduation ceremony scheduled for May 28.
Move by Ned to accept Treasurer’s Report with one change to the checking balance. Second by Ron. All in favor.

      5. Call-in: Jane Obbagy, ED of MACD — congratulated all on the new website and content.

  1. District Supervisors
·         Cynthia and Ned have been trying to reach Holly to clarify her intentions to continue as a board supervisor.
·         Adam knows Greg Caprone (teacher by day, farmer by night) whose interests lie in farming, maple sugaring, and cattle. Alaina Tracer runs MCLA Green Living Seminars and she may have some names of people interested in serving on the board. Adam will take a look at the website in regard to attracting supervisors and associates.
·         Ron thought of a possible person who is trying to start a small vegetable business in Richmond who might have interest in serving. 
·         Ron spoke with Tom who said it would be great if BCD could send a representative to the State Commission meeting. The meetings are in January, April, July and October. The next meeting will be remote. Jane suggested we try to tap in via conference call as it’s a long distance for us to travel to Westboro.

  1. Program Status
·         Mike has yet to send a proposal for storage of the No-till seeder. We’ve had two rentals for 2020 season. We need to spend the dollars from the No-till grant by the end of June 2020. That money could be spent on delivery, maintenance and storage but Mike needs to get a proposal to us which we would need to vote on. The thinking was that No-till would become self-generating program and that rentals would pay for the program. It was determined that rentals are lower than expected on account of the saturation of fields. Talk of advertising the No-till will be continued. Adam suggested we should hold out and see what good weather brings. Ron suggested it would be great to get a farmer on the board for networking.
·         Adam worked on a small solar grant proposal and a couple of things worked really for promotion — a radio spot on WANW that played on partner stations, and newspaper print ads which go on their websites as well. Adam suggested we work on a plan for advertising the No-till.
·         Pioneer Valley inquired about renting the No-till and Cynthia directed them to our website. Ron suggested we might share the No-till with 4 counties as one county may be drier than another. Adam suggested we get feedback from the farmers and possibly a testimonial we can use on our website. It was suggested we give farmers a survey after the rental.
·         Out of the 80+ No-till promo cards that were mailed, we only received two bad addresses.
·         Nutrient Management update — Cynthia is doing basic research. There are a tremendous number of part-time operators who don’t know the requirements for managing nutrient load which is required and can be enforced. Gary will dig into how NRCS can help educate small operators to learn what the state is looking for regarding compliance.

  1. Program Administrator Update —Submitted by Cynthia Grippaldi
·         Cynthia brought up the need to meet remotely about our Work Plan and mission. She sent out a draft which is on google drive. We need to find a date and time that works for all to brainstorm remotely.
·         Payment on all of our insurance policies has come up — Cynthia paid the no-till equipment insurance. The liability policy which was going to be canceled but because of COVID, they decided to keep covering us. She paid $792 Workman’s Comp. Reimbursement was sent to Tom.
·         Small pollinator grant — they had a few questions regarding equity of community. They will make the decision by mid May for the grant totaling $3,500. When they do fund it, they write a check and recipients write a report about how they used it.

           9.       New Business —
·         Ned asked since we had a public call-in for the May 5 meeting, should we add an Open Public Comment under our Call to Order and it was decided to do that going forward. Add it under #2 Call to Order, and include that the meeting is being recorded for note taking. Then add Open Public Comment Period, have whoever is chairing say this is the time to state your comments but there won’t be time for deliberation. This will precede Gary’s report so he can hear what the public is saying.
·         Adam suggested that we move the Upcoming Meetings blurb from the bottom of the Agenda page to the top and include the call-in number for the remote meetings.

     10.   Comments and Announcements —
·         Adam talked about the $250 BCD scholarship provided to a BCC student who plans to attend a 4-year college to study environmental science or a related field. The scholarship can also be used to pay for the student’s final year at BCC. It had been voted on in the past. Since it has been awarded every year, Ned asked if we should vote that it goes through every year unless a board member has an issue. In the past, a BCD representative has gone to BCC to deliver it. Adam will reach out to the Director of Development at BCC to discuss. This year, the check can be mailed or paid online to BCC.
·         NACD in D.C. asked us to become members. Membership fees range from $1 to $3,000. Ned said we became members for $500, then in subsequent years we paid in the $25 range. David will look into the history. They encourage us to pay $700. Ned mentioned we’ve sent members to the annual national convention in the past.
·         May 29 is the deadline to send in the 2-page application to Tom for the next round of funding. This is for the basic grant and Part 2 of the Nutrient Management plan will be submitted, as well. The grant is awarded in December for fiscal year ’21.
·         Mass Envirothon teams of high school students compete on environmental topics throughout the state. BCD has helped get participation from Berkshire schools. It was canceled this year. David wanted to know if it was relevant for the work plan as it has fallen by the wayside. To be discussed when we talk about BCD’s role in the community.
·         Ned would like to see more ag in the classroom.

       11.   Adjournment — Adam read the Upcoming Events/Meetings blurb for the recording. At   7:01pm, Ned motioned to adjourn. Second by Dave. All in favor.

Upcoming Events/Meetings:
Berkshire Conservation District Supervisor meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month. Meetings are usually held at 78 Center St., Suite 206, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Until restrictions are lifted for social isolation due to COVID-19, the next meeting will be held remotely on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 by dialing in at 1(646) 876-9923 Meeting ID 132436088 #.