The September meeting was called or order by President, James Prchal at the Red Lion Inn in Missoula. The minutes and agenda were approved by consent agenda. The MNLA website revisions have been completed to make it more mobile friendly and to update some pages. Jennifer reported on the video shoot. The first six went so well we decided we should do one about the CPP Program and shoot it during Expo when we would have a larger audience of CPP’s and Past Presidents present to contribute to the video. Expo booths are sold out. Shane is working on recruiting two more speakers. He feels we are well diversified in speakers and topics to offer great education at Expo. Mike Cashman gave an overview of articles needed for the Fall Leaflet. Jyl would like all copy by October 1. Letters to the newly elected legislators regarding the proposed nursery fee legislation were discussed. Some concerns were raised regarding the fee structure. A conference call with the Department of Ag will be set up next week for all board members to attend to have their questions and concerns addressed. James reported he will be a presenter at the Northern Rockies Tree School next week. This concluded the business of the Board. The remainder of the meeting was led by Dr. Shawn Clouse as the Board continued work on the new Strategic Plan. The meeting concluded at 11:00 am with lunch. The Board then proceeded to Linda Vista Golf Course to begin the Fall Tour activities.
The July Conference Call meeting was called or order by President, James Prchal. The minutes and agenda were approved by consent agenda. The nursery fee bill draft and pesticide bill draft are both in the process. They will be reviewed by the Economic Affairs Committee in August and will be presented to the Governor’s Office on September 15. Jyl reported on her trip to Cultivate 16 in Ohio. Membership renewals are strong. Plans are progressing for the Billings Golf Tournament and the Fall Tour in Missoula. The Red Lion Inn will be the host hotel for the tour. 9 Hole Golf Tournament will be held at Linda Vista golf course. Jyl and Jennifer are finalizing the details for the Plant Something gardening tip videos to be shot in Bozeman on September 8. Expo booths are almost sold out with only 8 remaining to be sold. Still need to fill three speaker slots. Andra Spurr will again assist with the Scholarship Silent Auction. The Chapter Meetings are going well in Billings.
The May Conference Call meeting was called or order by President, James Prchal. The minutes and agenda were approved by consent agenda. The Board reviewed additional proposed changes to the Nursery Fee License legislation. Changes recommended were: Establishing a fee range in statute that can be adjusted by administrative rule, Elimination of exemption for gross annual sales less than $1,000, Elimination of occasional sales fee, Eliminate florists and golf courses from the fee schedule, Eliminate the response fee, Maintain the flat fee for landscapers rather than based on gross annual sales, Eliminate the Small Plant Vendor language now in statute. If the statute is eliminated and, if needed in the future, it can still be created within the Department. Statute is not necessary. The Executive Committee will meet with the Department of Ag on June 2 to further discuss the changes. MNLA appreciates the Department bringing them to the table to discuss this important legislation. The first Billings Chapter meeting will be held May 25. Mike Cashman is working on articles for the Summer Leaflet. Jennifer reported MSU Professor, Bill Hoch, had conducted the Spring Written test for the CPP Exam. Nine students took the Exam with eight passing. Brigitte Simmons had previously taken the Plant ID Exam and now passed the written exam to become a CPP.
The April Conference Call meeting was called or order by President, James Prchal. The minutes and agenda were approved by consent agenda. Five new MNLA members have joined Small Business Growth Alliance (SBGA) to utilize their credit card program and services. Work continues to update and refresh the MNLA website. Results of the Survey Monkey questionnaire were discussed. The comments were about 50% for a license increase and 50% against out of 18 replies. Those in favor understood that protecting agriculture from disease and pest issues comes with a cost and were in support. The Billings Golf Tournament is progressing as well as Chapter meeting plans. James Prchal moved that a line item of $1,000 be created for Chapter meeting expenses to be used for food and one drink per person attending. The meeting leader would initially cover the cost and submit a reimbursement request to MNLA to cover the cost of the meeting expense. We would continue to fund this line item by future golf tournament proceeds. Nathan Heinitz seconded the motion. MC.Executive Director Contract – Jennifer Weiss moved and Sarah Kleinschmidt seconded the motion to continue the current contract with Jyl Story as Executive Director. MC.
The March Conference Call meeting was called or order by President, James Prchal. The minutes and agenda were approved by consent agenda. There was good discussion regarding the proposed nursery fee legislation for the 2017 legislative session. A category of sales was added in the fee structure from $5,001 to $25,000 in response to comments received. A Survey Monkey questionnaire will be created and emailed to the membership for comment. Shane Clouse is seeking Keynote Speaker ideas for the 2017 Expo. 51 booth spaces have been sold already for the trade show. The Missoula Fall Tour Committee met on March 9 to begin their planning. They are including a 9 hole golf tournament this year on Thursday afternoon with a nice dinner and kick off to the tour at Caras Nursery Thursday evening. The tour will be on Friday. Jennifer reported the CPP Manual has now been scanned onto a flash drive for ease of editing. Chapter meeting startup was discussed with ideas for an initial agenda. The Strategic Plan will be finalized at the September board meeting.
The Spring Board meeting was held in Bozeman at the Holiday Inn and Gran Tree Inn on February 25. This will be the site of the 2017 Montana Green Expo. The board toured both facilities to view the Gran Tree where the Expo Trade Show will be held and the Holiday Inn where the seminars and meals will be held. Following the tour the meeting was called to order in the Board Room at the Holiday Inn. The minutes of the previous meeting and financials were reviewed and approved. The proposed budget for 2016 was approved. Jyl reported we have received four new members in February. Jyl also reported that Sylvan Nursery would like to donate to the scholarship fund in memory of one of their employees who recently passed away. Donna Rise from the Montana Department of Agriculture met with the Board to review the proposed nursery fee legislation for the 2017 Legislative Session. The Board spent considerable time discussing ideas for the 2017 Expo. Due to lack of participation in the Plant ID exam at Expo, it was decided to eliminate the Plant ID exam at future Expos. That exam will continue to be held at the Fall Tour in addition to an exam in September in Bozeman. It was decided to hold the 2018 Expo in Missoula. The following day a Strategic Planning meeting was held with Shawn Clouse facilitating the meeting. Four Past Presidents attended to contribute ideas in addition to the current MNLA Board of Directors.
The meeting was called to order in Missoula at the Hilton Garden Inn during the Montana Green Expo. The minutes of the previous meeting and financials were reviewed and approved. 236 people registered to attend Expo. The Board reviewed their duties and responsibilities for Expo. The 3rd Vice President nominee is Nathan Heinitz of Gardenwerks in Helena. Nathan will be voted on at the Annual Meeting. The Board voted to approve the proposal from Kevin Johnson of Great River Design to redevelop the theme of the website to a more responsive design which would make it usable on all screen sizes including desktop, iPad, tablets, and all mobile phones at a cost of $3,600.00. James Prchal and Sarah Kleinschmidt will attend the Idaho Exposition in Boise on January 20-22. Holly Wadsworth and Mike Cashman will attend the AMTOPP Conference January 24-26 at Fairmont. The Fall Tour location was selected and will be held in Missoula in September. The Spring Board meeting will be held in Bozeman February 25-26.
The December meeting was held by conference call and was called to order by President Sarah Kleinschmidt. The minutes and financials were approved by Consent Agenda. Expo details were reviewed. James will introduce Past Presidents at the Wednesday luncheon. Seating will be assigned by adding the name of a tree to nametags to create connexity. Celebrity names will be assigned with first name to attendees and last name to vendors as a mixer at the cocktail reception. Breakfast of Champions topics were discussed. James emailed a draft schedule to the Board to review for Expo Staffing. 67 Booth spaces have been rented. We are pleased to have received $4,248 in sponsorships. Shane is working with the FFA advisor to get volunteers to help with vendor move-in. MSU Extension has emailed the Free Seminars flyer to their Master Gardener List. We will have a Job Posting Board at Expo. Three students are registered for the CPP Exam. Donna Rise sent Jennifer nursery law updates to add to the CPP manuals. Three entries in the Best of MT Landscapes contest and three entries in the Container Plant Contest. Jyl purchased a 32GB IPad for $399 for the Grand Prize drawing. SBGA will provide a credit card reader to add to a tablet for credit card purchases at Expo. The Vendor meeting time will be moved to 1:00 pm on Wednesday so as not to interfere with the Keynote Speaker address. The annual meeting information will be included in the registration packets so members have time to review the information prior to the Thursday luncheon meeting. We will offer Q & A time at the meeting for member questions.
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.