The November meeting was held by conference call and was called to order by Vice President James Prchal. The minutes and financials were approved by Consent Agenda. Jyl reported she is working on the Membership Directory. Jyl reported the Membership Directory is in the mail and Leaflet will be mailed next week. The Expo brochure is in progress. Jyl attended the Department of Ag meeting with Ag Industry Leaders in Helena. Donna Rise reviewed the licensing structure and certification requirements.
Expo Update – 51 booth spaces rented to date; $2,200 in sponsorship dollars to date; three contest entries for the Best of Montana Landscapes Contest; no Container Plant entries at this time; Member of the Year award recipient selected – Marks Lumber; Board will arrive January 4 for Board meeting prior to Expo; budget of $450 approved for Grand Prize Drawing gift.
Education update: Discussion of scholarship applications produced motion that applicants without a member connection should become a student member of MNLA to be eligible. Two $1500 scholarship awards will be given. Jennifer has printed an additional 10 CPP manuals. Jim Auer from the Dept of Ag will join us at our January meeting to discuss the Specialty Crop Block Grant application for 2016.
The October meeting was held by conference call and was called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt. The minutes and financials were approved by Consent Agenda. Jyl reported she is working on the Membership Directory. We have 204 members in the Directory this year. The End of Year Performance Report is due October 30 to the Dept of Ag for the Plant Something Program. The Fall Leaflet is in progress. Kevin Johnson of Great River Design, our web master, presented his proposal to redevelop the theme of the website to a more responsive design. This means the website will be usable on all screen sizes including desktop, iPad, tablets, and all mobile phones. This ensures that the member directory is usable//searchable via mobile phone, eliminating the need for a separate mobile app. It will also eliminate the Google/Bing/Yahoo negative SEO having a responsive site that works on mobile. The redesign will also include improvements to the menu system, more pleasing color/layout, more user friendly to members using the site. We would retain the existing back-end database and membership information. The cost would be $3,600. Sarah tabled the decision until the January meeting at Expo when all Board Members could be in attendance to vote. Jennifer Weiss reported 5 students successfully passed both exams to achieve their Certified Plant Professional certification. We only have one scholarship application to date but Bill Hoch of MSU had emailed Jyl and Jennifer to announce one more application would be forthcoming. Jennifer printed 10 additional CPP Study Manuals. Jennifer asked Donna Rise if the Dept. of Ag would assist with updating the CPP manual chapter on pesticide regulations. Donna enthusiastically agreed. An application for 3rd Vice President was received from Nathan Heinitz of Gardenwerks. He will be on the ballot at the Annual Member meeting in January as well as any additional candidates that may apply between now and then. Jennifer also reported on the Northern Rockies Tree School.
The September meeting was called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt at the Elkhorn Mountain Inn at Clancy, MT. The June minutes and financial statements for July – August were approved. We were pleased to have Craig Reggelbrugge from AmericanHort join the meeting. Jyl reported membership dues had come in well this year. There were only a few second notices that needed to be mailed out. The annual review on the Plant Something specialty crop block grant was conducted in July with the Dept of Ag. Judy Sharpton’s recent visit to several MNLA members was well received. The 990 Tax Return was filed. The CPA tax preparation cost was down due to the professional record keeping done for us by Bar Accounting Service. Donna Rise from the MT Dept of Ag reported small findings from the Japanese Beetle traps. Billings and Big Timber areas were the finds. Lake, Cascade and Gallatin counties are now in the eradicated status. Sweet Grass and Lewis & Clark counties need 1 more year Japanese Beetle free to be considered eradicated. The Department would like to work with MNLA on proposed nursery fee changes to bring before the 2017 Legislature. Donna will do a presentation on this at the 2016 Montana Green Expo. The Fall Tour agenda was discussed. An Expo update was given by James and Ryan. Shane discussed his views to start a conversation about the value of MNLA…around the room discussion lit up. The value of media and explaining MNLA benefits was discussed. Sara mentioned involvement by FFA, DECCA, Master Gardeners and other groups would be nice both at the Expo and in general. The 2016 Fall Tour will be held in Missoula in September. The meeting adjourned and the Board attended the Pollinator Protection Symposium in the afternoon.
The June meeting was held by conference call and called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt. The minutes and financials were approved by Consent Agenda. Donna Rise from the MT Dept of Ag reported recent training info is published on-line. Japanese beetle traps are now out. Their flight season is typically July. Nursery inspections are in process at this time. Wild Apricot, our web database management software, is imposing a fee increase; however, MNLA can lock in their current price for two years with payment now. A motion was made and approved to lock in the current rate for two years with payment in June, a $450 savings. Plans for the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament in Billings in August and Fall Tour in September in Helena are progressing well. James Prchal is working to line up speakers for the 2016 Expo. Ryan Rubie is securing booths for the Trade Show. The next meeting will be September 17 prior to the Fall Tour.
The May meeting was held by conference call and called to order by 1st Vice President, James Prchal. The consent agenda was approved. Jyl reported on attending the Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (NLAE) conference in Nashville the end of April. Donna reported on the rules notice to raise fees by administrative rule had been delayed and more analysis is being done. For optimum attendance holding Area Chapter Meetings was moved back to early Fall due to summer being our members busy season. Holly Wadsworth, James Prchal, Mike Cashman and Shane Clouse reported on Arbor Day activities in their areas. The Board approved giving tee shirts to the attendees at the Fall Tour. The Fall Tour has typically not produced adequate revenue to cover the cost to hold it. The Board approved raising registration fees from $35 to $50 for members to help cover the cost. Golf Scramble sponsor letters were mailed. Shane Clouse is soliciting articles for the Summer Leaflet. Jennifer Weiss reported five students from MSU passed the CPP Written Exam on May 7.
The April meeting was held by conference call and called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt. The minutes and financials were approved. Jyl celebrates her third anniversary with MNLA this month. Plant Something marketing materials were delivered to retail members. The Board approved giving the teacher of each class attending the Kalispell and Billings Arbor Day celebrations the book, "I Can Name 50 Trees" to take back to the classrooms for a total of 16. The Billings MNLA Chapter has set August 6th for the Annual Golf Scramble. The Board approved having the 2017 Montana Green Expo in Bozeman with the Holiday Inn and Gran Tree jointly holding the event. The Strategic Planning Committee will tentatively meet in June. The use of a Consent Agenda to approve the minutes and financial statements was approved and will be implemented in May.
The March meeting was held by conference call and called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt. The minutes and financials were approved. The Board approved renewing the contract with Bar Accounting Services for the upcoming year. Gainan’s will present a seminar on March 28 on the "2015 Widespread Damaged Evergreens in Yellowstone County; To Remove or Not Remove". James Prchal will assist with the seminar. The MNLA Expo Booth Contract has been updated. Lynda Wightman of Hunter Industries has expressed interest in holding an "Irrigation College" at the 2016 Expo and is working with the Board on the presentation. Ian Baldwin has agreed to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Expo. Donna Rise from the MT Dept of Agriculture reported their website lists upcoming Pesticide Applicator Training dates as well as Farmers Market listings. The Department will host a Pollinator Protection Symposium in conjunction with the MNLA Fall Tour in September. The Board discussed the possibility of holding the 2017 Expo in Bozeman.
The MNLA Board of Directors met at the Holiday Inn in Helena with Sarah Kleinschmidt calling the meeting to order. The board reviewed and passed the previous meeting minutes. The board reviewed and tabled the budget for 2015 until the next meeting. Details of the 2015 fall tour in Helena are starting to take shape with a date of Friday September 18th. Shane Clouse reported on The Montana Dept. of Agriculture rules hearing and Donna Rise gave update to changes occurring with staff and regulations. The 2016 Expo was discussed with Missoula a strong choice and ideas for speakers and seminars presented. Expo 2017 city was discussed with the possibility of Bozeman brought to light. Jennifer Weiss updated the board on CPP test results. James Prchal discussed the status of the spring newsletter. New board members were welcomed and agreed to the duties given. The board discussed the future of MNLA and the need to find new members. The Board agreed that the benefits of joining the MNLA are not being presented to new member candidates well enough. The MNLA board feels that the strong camaraderie, the valuable knowledge network of its members, and the connections with the MDA to be able to help shape future legislation are key.
The meeting was called to order at the Holiday Inn in Billings during the Expo. The Minutes of the previous meeting and financials were reviewed and approved. 233 people are registered to attend Expo. The Board reviewed their duties and responsibilities for Expo. The 3rd Vice President Position nominee is Shane Clouse – Agro Vitae d/b/a Pink Grizzly Greenhouse, Missoula, MT. The Secretary Position is also available since Karen Chadwick has fulfilled her term. Greg Johnson, the acting 3rd Vice President announced he would have to step down from his position due to personal circumstances leaving a 2nd Vice President Position open. The board voted to accept Shane Clouse into the 2nd Vice President Position if acceptable at the annual membership meeting. The Plant Something grant was discussed and its value as a member benefit. James Prchal and Jyl Story will attend the Idaho Exposition January 21-23 in Boise, ID. James Prchal and Sarah Kleinschmidt will attend the ATMOPP Conference January 25-27 at Fairmont. The Fall Tour location was selected in Helena in September.
Donna Rise from the Montana Department of Agriculture reported the Nursery Fee Legislation was resurfacing. More details will follow once a bill sponsor has been secured. The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing the Expo. Ryan reported 66 booths secured for the Expo with a potential of 3-5 more. Gainans will provide an interesting seminar on Tuesday evening which will also be free to the public. Marketing was discussed. We feel we have a very good slate of speakers this year. Jyl noted good sponsor participation in the Expo. Holly requested each board member secure two auction items for the Scholarship Silent Auction. Jennifer noted we have six people signed up to take the CPP Exam at Expo. Shane Clouse has offered to have his name considered for the 3rd Vice President position on the MNLA Board. We are still searching for a nominee for the Secretary position. A job posting board will be available during Expo for members to post job opportunities. Sarah will add some games to the Trade Show reception festivities.