The Business Meeting followed the Reports Session. Jill Ott, Public Sector Co-Chair and Rachel Gilker, Private Sector Co-Chair presided over it.
Margaret Smith, Administrative Advisor to the Consortium, spoke about the land grant universities’ agricultural experiment stations that are funded through NIFA. Our Consortium is a project of the Northeast Agricultural Experiment Station Directors Association. Their Coordinating Committee re-newed the Consortium for another 5 years recently as a project of theirs. It commenced on October 1, 2011. Each year we file a report to them describing our accomplishments and impacts. Jim Cropper, Executive Director, writes this report.
Angus Johnson, a long-time farmer member of the Consortium and Chair of the Stakeholder Action Committee since 2007, was honored with a meritorious service award plaque. This was given to him by Rachel Gilker, Private Sector Co-Chair. Angus thanked everyone for this honor and said he had grown close to many members over the years. He regretted that he had to leave to take care of his health. He had worked hard to promote the Consortium in Washington DC and in the Northeast Region, and the pasture consortium concept to the Southeast US.
The new Private Sector members to the Consortium Executive Committee were introduced to the whole membership, Ken Miller from Massachusetts and Don Wild from New York. Ken Miller would serve as a liaison for the Stakeholder Action Committee (Angus Johnson’s seat) on the Executive Committee. Don Wild would serve as the Private Sector member-at-large. The Public Sector did not nominate a member-at-large to the Consortium to replace outgoing member, Dr. Stephen Herbert. Jim Cropper upon not hearing any nominations from the floor said that he would get in touch with Dr. Andre Brito of UNH to see if he would agree to succeed Dr. Herbert. This would maintain a land grant university researcher on the Executive Committee. Dr. Brito subsequently in February agreed to serve on the Executive Committee.
Two resolutions were passed by the Consortium members. Support of EQIP payment for perimeter fencing was the first resolution brought before the Consortium. Clyde Bailey moved to approve the resolution and send it to NRCS for their consideration. Angus Johnson seconded the motion. Discussion on wording changes ensued and after those changes were made, the Consortium unan-imously passed the resolution. The second resolution was in support of the NRCS Pastureland National Resource Inventory continuing to be gathered in 2012 and beyond. Lawrason Sayre moved to approve the resolution and send it to NRCS for their consideration. Clyde Bailey seconded the motion. Discussion of this resolution revolved around the threat to discontinue gathering inventory data in 2012 due to budget cuts. The consensus of the Consortium was that if this did occur, it would cause a loss in data collection acumen and set the whole data collection effort on a downward spiral to non-completion that would severely hamper the Conservation Effects Assessment Program to assess the environmental state of the pastureland landuse. Less than half of the Country is currently involved in the data collection to begin with. The resolution was passed unanimously by the Consortium membership. Mr. Clyde Bailey would hand deliver them to Dr. David White, Chief of NRCS, at the National Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting the following week. The two resolutions were signed by Bob Richardson, Co-Chair of Private Sector on the Executive Committee and by Rob DeClue, Co-Chair of the Public Sector on the Executive Committee at the end of the Business Meeting.
Jim Cropper announced the co-chairs for 2012. They are Mr. Bob Richardson, Private Sector Co-Chair, and Mr. Rob DeClue, Public Sector Co-Chair.
Jim thanked Mr. Clyde Bailey, Private Sector Past Co-Chair and Dr. Stephen Herbert, Public Sector Past Co-Chair, for their work on the Executive Committee and their continued support as members of the Consortium. This concluded the annual meeting and it was adjourned.