June 2021 Minutes

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Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
June 16, 2021

Call to Order: Vice Chairman Seth Wenzel called the meeting to order of the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board at 8:06 am on June 16, 2021. The board met in the Blackhawk Room at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.

Roll Call: Present at the time the meeting was called to order were board members Seth Wenzel, Barb Klinger, Matt Schlachter and Dan Diaz; District employees Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator; and Aaron Dinderman, Resource Conservationist; NRCS employee Hannah McWhirter, Soil Conservationist.

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Approval of Minutes: Barb Klinger moved to approve minutes of the May SWCD board meeting, seconded by Matt Schlachter. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Bills to be Paid: Seth Wenzel moved to approve the bills as listed on the monthly budget sheet for June; seconded by Matt Schlachter. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed around. Barb Klinger moved to accept the employee timesheets, seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Action Items:

Stephenson County Board Report:  Garrett Miller

  • After a 3-hour meeting the County voted to list Walnut Acres Nursing home for sale as a turn-key business. It is written in the sale that 80 beds will remain for Medicare residents.
  • Also agreed upon was spending $15,000 on a feasibility/viability study. Staffing is low, resident number is low and they currently have no administrator. Stephenson County currently has 5 nursing homes, most are understaffed/looking for help.
  • Currently the county is paying approximately $80,000 for office space in the Stewart Centre. That is why everyone is noticing signs saying not to rent county board space.
  • Planning and Development is starting budget planning; those present at the meeting held a discussion about the SWCD annual request for funding.


Freeport City Council Report:  Randy Bukas/NO


CRP/Conservation Plans & CPO’s:  Aaron

  • Carla’s retirement and Randi’s progress of taking over the CRP program in our office was topic of discussion.
  • General sign-up deadline of July 23rd was announced. Aaron said it will be a busy couple of weeks as NRCS is sticking with the CRP grant agreement deadline of the end of September to complete all work.
  • Rental rates will increase (more $ per acre). This will have those from last year upset.
  • 2021 & 2022 status reviews are almost complete; Hannah & Aaron are working to get these caught up.


Contribution Agreement:  Aaron/Lorna

  • Administrative Agreement payment of $202.50 was received on 5/20. This was the final payment for the FY20 agreement. If my math is correct our total payments for FY20 totaled $13,162.50.
  • CRP payment of $29,026.86 was received on 5/21. This was the complete payment for FY20 CRP agreement.
  • Administrative payment of $9,517.50 was received on 6/9; this was the November invoice/payment for all of the active contracts in the county. This is in the current year administrative grant – FY21.


EQIP Update:  Hannah

  • Additional funding was received for EQIP; 5 applications all for forestry implementation will get funded.

CSP Update:  Hannah

  • Deadline for ranking approximately 30 applications is coming up soon.


Programs / SWCD Updates:  Lorna/Aaron

  • Fish Sale Recap: 41 people ordered fish; 7,435 fish plus 152 lbs. of fathead minnows were sold. Total sales $8977.50 minus amount paid to Andry’s $7143.50 left a profit of $1834.00.
  • Scholarship applications – only one application was received. Aaron thought there might be another on in the office. This will be tabled and put on the July agenda.
  • FY22 Budget – Lorna waiting for later in the month when fiscal year is complete. When worksheet is updated, she will send it to the finance committee. This will also get tabled until the July meeting.
  • CPP Projects – still waiting for bills for the final FY20 project. FY21 grant money $23,917.35; was received and deposited.
  • Local Work Group/Climate Change Discussion – after a discussion by all about a local work group; Dan suggested that each board member complete some homework and come up with one or two focus areas for the Stephenson SWCD to discuss and focus on/promote.
  • FY21 Operation grant funds of $40,721.65 were received and deposited.


Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Lorna Chezem, Aaron Dinderman, Abby Mielke and Luke Tweeten; seconded by Dan Diaz. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.


Informational Items:


  • NACD e-mail acknowledgement of payment of $100.00 that was received from Stephenson SWCD instead of a $1.00 they previously acknowledged.


Other Business:

  • Dan talked about cover crop initiatives and planting of rye. Apparently, there is a new method of destroying the crop by using a roller crimper. Cost of the crimper is approximately $1,000 per foot. Dan wants to get some additional quotes but talked about the possibility of the SWCD buying and renting this out.
  • Garret talked about the hoop structure that could not get a permit from zoning due to the current regulations and wanted the board to think about ways to address zoning regulations for small ag businesses (specialty crops using less acres). The suggestion from the board members present was to have the producer submit a waiver/schedule F.



Having no other business, Vice Chairman Seth Wenzel adjourned the meeting at 9:40 am.

Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary                  Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem.

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