Past President Ryan Forde called the meeting to order, present were Steve Lehenbauer, Ryan Forde, Darin Sabers, Tim Groener, Kristi Browning, Gina Albaugh, Beth Eiring, Frank Etzler, Emily Talago, Carson Thomas, Peter Hiel, James Prchal, Tom Perry & Laura Lambrecht.
Ryan announced the new board members Peter Hiel and Laura Lambrecht and welcomed them. Beth Eiring of the Montana Dept. of Ag and Frank Etzler reported on the Emerald Ash Borer and Japanese Beetle outbreaks. Carson Thomas told us of the 999 nursery licenses currently in Montana. As of January 100 have paid their dues.
Beth reported on legislation for House Bill 361 introduced by Matt Regier of House District 4 Kalispell. This bill would remove sod farmers from the agriculture license requirements of Nursery Stock or Plant dealers. Currently nurseries, plant dealers and landscapers must have a license to sell or distribute nursery stock. Fee is based on gross annual sales. There are currently 10 sod growers in Montana. Steve moved to oppose this legislation. Matt seconded the motion. Discussion followed. Board voted unanimously to oppose this bill.
Tom Perry with the DNRC joined us to talk about Urban & Community Forestry Grants. More info can be viewed on their web site: http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/forestry/forestry-assistance/urban-and-community-forestry/urban-and-community-forestry-grants. Another program with the NRCS is the Interim Conservation Practice Standards. This allows landowners reimbursement for implementing conservation practices such as adding compost or biochar up to 800 ton/acre.
James Prchal from Good Earth Works proposed a mask order for the local chapter meetings. The chapter will provide masks and hand sanitizer at the entrance for those wanting to have them.
Education Committee Report: Kristi reminded us that the scholarship applications for the Fall semester of college are due March 31. Approvals will be decided in April and May and awarded in August. Matt gave a briefing on Expo 2022. A committee will be formed at the next board meeting to further discuss ideas. Committee will include Gina, Steve and Matt. Steve also brought up that the Billings chapter will do as much as needed to plan the Fall 2021 Tour. Steve Lehenbauer moved to adjourn the meetings. Matt Watts seconded. Motion carried.