Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Minutes from the March 7th Meeting

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Thursday March 7th, 2019 at 5:30 PM
Arizona Pizza, 395 Pittsfield Rd, Lenox MA

1. Call to Order- Mary Stucklen called the meeting to order at 5:28 pm.
Members Present: Ned Kirchner, Holly Aragi, and Mary Stucklen. Cynthia Grippaldi and Michael Balawender were also present.
Members Absent: Bob Lear.

New Business
2. Secretary’s Report - Submitted by Mary Stucklen, Chair
a. Approval of February 13th and February 27th minutes. After a few moments to review, Ned made the motion to approve the minutes as written, Holly seconded. All were in favor.
3. NRCS Report
            a. February Report – No report was given at the time of the meeting.
4. Treasurer’s Report for January through February, Submitted by Mary Stucklen, Chair
a. Bills to Pay- Discussion about the deposits and expenses, and Spectrum/Time Warner increased cost. Ned asked Cynthia to call and ask if we can get a lower rate again.
Discussion about a separate No-Till bank account. The account signers were also discussed to possibly include the administrative assistant. We may want to remove a person from the checking account and add the admin assistant.
- Ned made a motion to accept the February treasurers report, with Holly second. All were in favor.
-Ned made a motion to pay Cynthia for hours starting tonight, with Holly seconding. All were in favor.
- Ned made a motion to pay biweekly instead of monthly, Holly seconded. All were in favor.
5. No-Till Grant Updates
      a. Updated Scope for EEA- Mary will provide the updated scope at the April meeting.
      b. No-Till Machine Quotes-
            i. Zimmerman Farm Service- Quoted $34,980. A side marker kit versus a foam marker kit was discussed. Discussion about the two and to investigate if the side marker is more appropriate than foam marker which can run out. There was also talk about a crimper also, and perhaps a side arm attachment at a later date. The district should consult with Tom A about this. Ned made a motion to allow negotiation of up to 2k for a side marker kit with labor to a no-till purchase, with Holly seconding, all were in favor. The Esch folds up to be towed behind a truck to travel, is a 12ft wide drill, with 5.5-inch seed spacing which is 2-3 inches narrower than most models.
ii. Hudson River Tractor Co. – This 10 ft drill was quoted at $41,047.32, with no marker kit, and does not fold. The District continued to discuss other options, for this one was pricey.
            iii. Randall Implements Co. – This quote was for a 10ft drill with 7.5” seed spacing, did not include delivery, does not fold up for travel, at a cost of $27,276. The drill is two feet shorter and does not serve the purpose of a rental, which needs to get on the road and be very portable. It is also not reflective of the grant proposal which specifies a folding drill for rental purposes.
iiii. Pine Plains provided a quote for $43,000 that represented a 12-foot drill, that did not fold and did not have any other information provided.

The District engaged in a discussion about which drill to purchase. Ned made a motion to make the purchase of a No till drill from Zimmerman Farm Service for an Esch 5512 drill that folds with 5.5 inch spacing, with foam marker kit and delivery, at a cost not to exceed $39,500. Holly seconded this motion, and all were in favor.
Ned is made a motion to authorize Mary Stucklen to apply for financing for the machine to purchase the machine, with Tom Anderson as a potential co-signor. Holly seconded, and all in favor.
There was discussion of various types of credit services, such as DLL, AgCo, and the equipment dealer. Mary would keep the District updated about the financing if there were updates before the next meeting.

6. Administrative Assistant Position
            a. Berkshire Conservation District hired Cynthia Grippaldi. She is excited and looking forward to learning all about the District and its programs. Her first day will be March 25th. She and Mary are looking into access of USDA data for her. She may need to go through USDA training. Mary will send the digital handbook to Cynthia and investigate a digital orientation/required training, and/or ethics training. Cynthia can also create a contact sheet for the board.

7. Administrative and Organizational Plans for 2019
a. Supervisor Search – Cynthia can start off with some flyer creation or sending out some feelers. Cynthia will also talk to people at the upcoming Master Gardener’s Symposium.

8. Other new business – There were none.

9. Announcements – There were none.

10. Adjournment: Holly made a motion to adjourn, Ned seconded, and all were in favor.

Minutes for the February 27th Meeting

Berkshire Conservation District Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 at 5:30 PM
Pittsfield Public Library & Berkshire Athenaeum


1. Call to Order- Mary Stucklen, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:32pm
Attendants: Ned Kirchner, Mary Stucklen, Holly Aragi (call-in)
Not in Attendance: Bob Lear

Open Session:
New Business

2. No-Till Grant Updates:
The quotes for the No-Till seeder were not available at the meeting so the discussion about purchasing a no-till machine was tabled until the next meeting. Various insurance policies were discussed, including policies from Liberty Mutual and Russel & Bond. The cost for these policies was perceived by Holly and Ned to be lower numbers than expected, and there were questions about if the policy would cover the machine if it were to be ‘totaled’. There was further discussion about making sure a policy would include a full-value replacement for the machine, and possibly discounts on wrapping the district’s liability insurance with the no-till insurance. Ned and Holly shared their experiences with Farm Friendly insurance, which is an agriculturally friendly insurance company. Mary will contact other representatives to find a policy that would better suit the district.

3. Other new business – There were none.
4. Announcements – There were none.

Executive Session: Ned made the motion to move into executive session, seconded by Holly. All were in favor.

5. Administrative Assistant Position Interviews
         The district had scheduled three candidates for interviews for the Administrative Assistant position. The first candidate did not appear for his interview. The second and third candidate was interviewed on-time and by the District. A discussion occurred after the interviews, discussing the financial abilities of the District and the potential candidates. Upon discussing the candidates interviewed and their professional background, experiences, and availability, the board made a decision to hire one of the candidates. Ned made a motion to all Mary to offer the position to their chosen candidate, as well as to negotiate the compensation for the candidate, with Holly seconding the motion. All were in favor.
Holly made a motion to reenter into open session, with Ned second. All were in favor.

6. Adjournment: Holly made a motion to adjourn, with Ned second. All were in favor.