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.
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.