Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors Business Meeting Minutes
The Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District met in a regular public session on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, at 4:00 p.m., at UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County, at 3695 Lake Drive, Cocoa, FL.
Board members present:
Bud Crisafulli, Chair
Brian Fleming, Vice Chair
Chris McMasters, Treasurer
Billy Kempfer, Secretary
Staff members present:
Derrick Wyle, USDA NRCS, District Conservationist
Beth Shephard, UF IFAS Brevard County Extension Director
Joe Walter, UF IFAS Brevard County Agricultural Agent
Anna Moore, UF IFAS Brevard County Agricultural Program Assistant
Andy Irizarry, USDA NRCS, Soil Conservationist
Matthew Susin, Chairman for Brevard County School Board
- Final meeting minutes for October 2023
- Written Notice of Termination of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding
The meeting was called to order at 4:00 PM by Bud C., who then asked Brian F. to lead the meeting.
Review and Approval of the Current Treasurer’s Report
The current budget remains at $49,679.82, there were no recent changes. Bud C. made a motion to approve the budget, Brian F. seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Review and Approval of Minutes for the prior Board of Supervisors meeting
No changes were made to the minutes this month. Chris M. motioned to approve the minutes; Bud C. seconded the motion. Motion carried.
District Conservationist Update
a. The first session of the NRCS outreach program was earlier in the day from 12:00-2:00 PM, 10 people attended and 10 more called that they were interested. There will be another session later in the evening from 5:00-6:30 PM. There will be another outreach event on November 14th. The sign-up deadline for NRCS grant funding is November 17th. So far there are 35 applicants in this district, many of them being new applicants (old applicants can reapply for another grant every year).
b. School board is interested in applying for NRCS grants to help bring agriculture back into schools, units of government are eligible for grants, but can apply for 501-C3 in order to be eligible – gardens or other projects need to already exist at the school before applying for a grant, no particular size required.
a. Pushing long range plan until next meeting
b. Beth S. addressed the notice of termination of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding – this notice addresses the termination of the agreement between the Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA Soil Conservation/NRCS and the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. This document gives notice that the MOU is terminated, effective 60 days from November 8th, 2023.
c. At the last meeting, Brian F. brought up the idea of starting a series of classes at the extension office teaching homeowners how to make and the importance of adding Bio Char in soil in home gardens. The unofficial plan includes offering 4 classes, 1 class being just for the master gardeners, over the course of 1 year. The classes will cost about $1,500 total, with funding coming out of the SWCD budget, instructor will provide supplies. Sally Scalera will be asked to attend January meeting to plan classes and budget.
Billy K. raised the question if Bio Char could be used for commercial access, at this time it does not seem feasible for large scale properties, more research is needed.
Joe W. added that he has been asked to join a committee for composting and recycling yard waste and the methods practiced in this committee may be a better alternative for enhancing pastures with compost – could be discussed more in the long range plan.
d. Anna M. shared that the first Canaveral Marsh Clean Up event will be November 18th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This first event will be open to 4-H members and then future cleanups will be open to more participants, such as high schoolers who need volunteer hours. This cleanup event will include education on natural resources as well as geocaching, funding will come out of the SWCD leftover funds from past projects. Chris M. and Matt S. suggested that this could be a potential project to open to public schools as well.
e. Bud C. stated that the next meeting will be a luncheon at Kay’s BBQ – this is an annual event at the end of the year.
a. Matt S. discussed his goals for bringing agriculture back into Brevard County schools – ideas include building greenhouses and clubs for drone technology, large animal vet careers, animal raising and showing and utilizing 10 acres of Kempfer Cattle land for projects. Farm to table programs also available to partner with culinary programs.
b. Recent school board meeting was also discussed – 200 people from 86 schools present, and agriculture was the hottest topic at the meeting. Goal is to have support from parents and community to assist with projects, possible Florida Farm Bureau assistance. Follow up meeting is being planned for March to follow up on ideas and what funding is needed.
c. Billy K. discussed the importance of 4-H and how it teaches kids leadership skills. Board discussed future meetings and how to create more opportunities for kids to learn about agriculture, conservation and overall leadership skills (example – Canaveral Marsh outreach, bringing animals to board meetings to draw more interest).
d. Waiting to hear more information on events for Farm City Week
Bud C. adjourned meeting at 4:59 PM. Meeting minutes submitted by Anna M.