2018 April

Tuesday, April 9, 2018

[Note: Decisions in italic]

Call to Order: Katy called the meeting to order at 5:40 PM
Members Attending: Anna, Jodie, Theresa, Eric, Anne D., Anne R., Katy, Ken, Mary Ann, Matthew, Samara
Members Absent: David
Staff Attending: Rick, Viña, Dick Brzozowski, Joyce Weaver, Waldo County 4-H Volunteer Coordinator
Guests Attending: Knox/Lincoln: Catherine Jensen, 4-H Volunteer Coordinator, Linda Bonin, 4-H Volunteer

Mary Ann Residence Change

Mary Ann has legally moved her residence to Kennebec County, although will still be maintaining a presence in Waldo County.  On a motion by Anne R., seconded by Theresa, it was voted to allow Mary Ann to remain as a member of the Association until the September annual meeting as provided in the bylaws.  Vote unanimous except Mary Ann abstained.

Minutes of March Meeting

An opportunity for corrections was made with nothing offered. On a motion by Matthew, seconded by Theresa, the minutes were approved unanimously as presented.

Financial Report

Anne R. and Rick shared the Financial Report through March 31. There were no issues of concern to discuss. On a motion by Mary Ann, seconded by Jodie, the financial report was approved as presented.

Educators’ Report Highlights

Rick was asked about the status of those organic dairy producers who were dropped. Rick noted that the Maine Organic Milk Producers (MOMP) annual meeting was the following day so he would know more after that. Rick and Dick described more about the NESARE Professional Development Grant being co-led by Rick, Caragh and George Hamilton from UNH. Agricultural professionals are being trained in nutrient and pesticide calibration techniques, so that they can then help farmers. There is one hands-on training in each of 2018 and 2019, supplemented by webinars. 2018 is focused on nutrients; 8 professionals signed up for the hands-on training. 15-16 have signed up for next year’s program on pesticide calibration.

Ag Plastics Committee

Dave was not able to attend but sent a written update. See below and attached minutes from meeting held after March Association meeting.

  • We have a telephone conference call scheduled with Price Murphy from Revolution Plastics for this Friday April 13th at 11:00 AM. Call in number is 207.581.5674 ID #7546. Revolution Plastics has a full service Ag plastic recycling program in the mid-west and in California. Check out their website before participating.
  • We’re trying to set up a conference call with Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC). They are in transition between a retiring Executive Director and a new incoming Executive Director. Their service subcontractor – US Ag Recycling is very interested in extending their collection routeinto Maine.
  • Elena Bertocci, from Maine DEP, will be attending a national Ag plastic recycling conference in early May . She has agreed to come to one of our committee meetings and give a report of the proceedings.
  • Elena and her boss Carol Cifrino from DEP have agreed to also lead a primer/discussion on product stewardship at the same meeting.
  • I will be presenting an update of our committees work at the Maine Recycling and Solid Waste Conference at the Samoset on April 23.

Scholarship Update

Three applications have been received so far. The deadline is April 20. Rick will create a blurb in a format easy to forward via social media and make sure Bucksport High School has received the notice. If anyone would like to join the Review Committee, let Rick know.

Overview of 4-H Activity

Jodie and Joyce teamed on reporting the status of existing 4-H activities in Waldo County. Essential 4-H consists of caring adults mentoring kids predominantly ages 5-18 with some exceptions (Tanglewood camps start as young as 4). There is an emphasis on developing team leadership skills and keeping kids safe, which can be done through almost unlimited subject matter. Needs are volunteer leaders and networking. There are scaled volunteer/teaching/mentor opportunities. A workshop only requires 6 sessions/contact hours with kids.  Examples of the variety of possible topics include sewing, raising poultry and emergency preparedness.

[A SPIN is a Special Interest Group. A PLT is a Project Leadership Team.]

Waldo County has about 39,000 people. 6,000 (19%) are 4-H age-eligible.  RSU 20, 71 and 3 are engaged through National Youth Science Days.

An “I Know ME” Lerner Foundation grant enabled expanding learning opportunities regarding understanding Maine history.

Youth Development and Future Staffing Needs

In light of WCEA recognition of weakness both on staffing and Association member levels leading up to this meeting’s focus and subsequent learning, Vina was asked to describe her historic, current and potential future duties, as well as County needs from her perspective.

Rick shared that Vina had the only mixed Food System/Youth Development position in the state.  Most are one or the other and WALDO IS THE ONLY COUNTY LACKING A FULL-TIME PROFESSIONAL DEDICATED TO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. With the unique Food Corps Coordination duties, this had been manageable but in any other context is not likely viable. Even if knowledge areas are similar, the audiences and approaches to program deliver are quite different. Youth development (aka 4-H for Extension purposes) requires an intensive focus to succeed.  Vina is written into a pending grant to administer the SNAP Education Program for the State but it is not worth planning around this possibility.

Vina’s strengths are around food preservation, Farm to School, the Maine School Garden Network, Farm Business Planning (she has experience to share), communication/social media and gleaning (potentially targeting the prisoner-tended County Garden, where food currently goes to waste).

A possibility exists to connect youth to programming, perhaps around using a potato storage facility.  Fundraising is needed to grow the program, which requires focus.

Samara suggested we learn from successful experience in other counties.

Dick was asked about the staffing allocation/hiring process.  He indicated this was led by Lisa Phelps who coordinates the Extension Leadership Team.  The team is scheduled to meet April 19, May 10 and May 31.  It was unanimously agreed to submit a letter on behalf of the Waldo County Extension Association that we be allocated a full-time Youth Development (4-H) professional to be housed in our office and primarily dedicated to Waldo County in addition to keeping Rick and Vina, who would presumably continue to have duties extending beyond Waldo County.  Rick, Vina, Katy and Samara would collaborate on the proposal, with Jodie proofing.  Katy was authorized to sign on behalf of WCEA. If possible, the letter would be submitted for the April 19 meeting.

Guest Sharing

Catherine Jensen shared that she was responsible for 4-H in Knox and Lincoln Counties and used libraries as a central organizational venue as well as the YMCA.  She has active island groups. Public speaking has arisen as a priority interest area.

Linda Bonin is a volunteer leader and finds that the hardest job is recruiting volunteer leaders. She chairs the Boothbay Region Garden Club and brings VT experience in Dairy Quiz Bowls (Linda is willing to be contacted for other Dairy Quiz Bowls via mommybonin@gmail.com).

Nomination Committee

Dave, Jodie and Anne D. volunteered to serve on the committee to recruit new members and develop a slate of officers.  Dave will serve as chair.  All were unanimously approved.

Annual Meeting

Jodie’s offer to host the annual meeting at Faithful Venture Farm in Searsmont was gratefully accepted.  She will work on the date and program with Rick.

Rural Living Day

The survey link was sent out to attendees.  A full debrief will take place at the May meeting.  It was decided to hold the 2019 Rural Living Day on April 6.  Vina will contact Mount View High School to reserve the date.  Katy will put it on the MOFGA calendar.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday, May 7 at 6:00 PM at the home of Anne and Brit Rothrock in Thorndike.  Directions will be sent out.

Dick made a point of thanking all the Association members for their work.

Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM.