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, October 11th, 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
Jim Fletcher, Supervisor
Chris McMasters, Treasurer
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
· Written minutes for September 2023
The meeting was called to order at 4:01pm by Bud C.
Review and Approval of the Current Treasurer’s Report
A reimbursement was made to cover the travel costs from the AFCD annual meeting held in Gainesville on September 25th- 26th, making the new balance $49,679.82. Motion to approve – Bud C.; seconded – Jim F. Motion carried.
Review and Approval of Minutes for the prior Board of Supervisors meeting.
No changes to the minutes for this month. Motion to approve minutes – Brian F.; Seconded – Chris M. seconded. Motion Carried.
Additions to the Agenda
a. Offering classes on creating Biochar – Brian F.
b. Updated MOU contract (Canaveral Marsh Agreement) – Jim F.
c. Agreement with NRCS following new house bill – Jim F.
District Conservationist Update
a. Derrick W. announced this past year NRCS paid $38,000,000 for Florida programs, which is a new record for a fiscal year. $6,000,000 was extra funding from the damages from Hurricane Ian. Over the next few years, the funding for programs is expected to increase to $60,000,000, followed by $80,000,000 then $90,000,000. Funding has been allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act.
b. November 17th is the deadline for NRCS program applications. Previous contracts that were not fully paid for or did not receive responses from applicants wishing to continue or discontinue will roll over into the next year (waiting for responses). There is a need for more applications to be submitted, goals established of creating more sources of outreach to increase interest and applicants. At this time Derrick W. will not be present at the Legislative Luncheon due to training being held in Gainesville, will attend if training is canceled.
c. On November 6th Derrick W. will be speaking on USDA/NRCS Programs at the Titusville Public Library, hosted by the National Women in Agriculture Association from 5:30pm - 6:30pm.
d. A postcard is going to be sent to 983 addresses in Brevard and Seminole county, regarding information on the agriculture tax policy.
e. The AFCD announced the surveys for the Local Working Group will not be available until the spring.
a. Jim F. brought up that EELs (Environmentally Endangered Lands) needs a representative from the Soil and Water Conservation District, meets once a year for planning. Brian F. stepped up to be a representative.
b. Jim F. and Billy K. met with the Brevard County school board to discuss introducing agriculture into schools throughout the county. Discussed possibility of developing S.T.E.M. programs, drone technology programs and the development of teaching greenhouses. Programs such as FFA and technical programs for diesel mechanics were also presented and discussed. Overall, the school board is interested in pursuing introducing agriculture into schools, interest levels need to be determined to help gauge what kind of programs students are interested in, possibly try a summer program first before launching agriculture programs directly in schools. Discussed the higher need for agriculture technology training and education.
c. New Soil and Water Conservation District website is developed and ready to be launched through new platform Streamline. The AFCD is covering the costs of Streamline for one year, and then Streamline costs $80/month. Board agreed to move forward with using Streamline as the platform for the website for a year, will discuss whether to continue with Streamline or not after a year, will likely have to find a platform with lower costs. Chris M. motioned to approved, Brian F. seconded. Motion carried.
d. Brian F. suggested the idea of teaching a class about Biochar – biomass made from the carbon and ashes from burned matter that can enhance soil fertility. Board agreed to discuss more on the topic at the next meeting when more research is done to get a better idea of what the class would include.
e. Jim F. brought up the MOU regarding the Intergovernmental Agreement between BSWCD and SJRWMD. The contract was approved, and the BSWCD will be moving forward with planning educational outreach events and cleanup days.
f. Jim F. brought up the agreement with NRCS and NRMD Stormwater Program, regarding the new changes that were made regarding the stormwater tax through the recently published House Bill (House Bill 7063, Chapter 2023- 157). This will be discussed more at next month’s board meeting. As of right now representatives from NRMD will be present to further discuss plans moving forward. Florida Farm Bureau has more information on their website regarding taxes on agricultural land.
a. Need to plan budget and events for the year, events could include an agricultural tour and outreach events that teach the importance of agriculture and conservation of land in Brevard County. Events will be posted on website once finalized.
Meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m. by Bud C.
Minutes submitted by Anna M.