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Oct. 8, 2015 STC Meeting

NRCS State Technical Committee

10:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Arkansas River Room

Little Rock, AR  72201

 

Agenda   (Handout 1)

Meeting called to order by Kenneth Lee, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, NRCS

Members Present:   Sign in sheet attached.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Mike Sullivan, Arkansas NRCS State Conservationist

  • Introduced Amanda Mathis, Arkansas Partnership Coordinator, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
  • DC in White County et al, Acting ASTC (O)/Acting ASTC (FO)/Acting SAO
  • National Leadership Development Program (LDP), Passion for Arkansas, Agriculture, Conservation and our Arkansas Conservation Partnership (ACP).
  • Responsibilities - traditional and new partners, agreements et al.  State Technical Committee leadership/ facilitation.  Priority initially to maintaining/strengthening existing partnerships
  • Reported on the recent audit conducted by National Headquarters, in which Arkansas was given high remarks on our work.
  • Reported on the success of ongoing programs.
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has six in the running for the full proposal.  RCPP - successful kickoff for FY14 projects.  Working with interested partners to increase quality of 6 of 9 preproposals selected for full submittal.
  • Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) has shown great results with some streams being delisted from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 303 (d) list.  Arkansas led states with 16 active projects with positive outcomes, including contributing to delisting of stream segments on Lower St. Francis.
  • StrikeForce is now in 49 counties.
  • Alternative crops have a special pool of funding to address some of their unique concerns.
  • Issues with Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) regarding ownership problems.
  • Commented on the important role that NRCS subcommittees play with regards to programs and practices.
  • FY2015 focused Farm Bill implementation/delivering conservation addressing priority resource concerns while working toward a more sustainable staffing level and workload. 
  • Funding – close to record years in FY2013/2014:  $142 million in Financial Assistance and $35 million in Technical Assistance, totaling $177 million.  (76mCSP/CStP, 46m EQIP, 18m ACEP).
  • Staffing up added 35 positions (field first) + 15 added in FY2014.
  • Technical Assistance for agreements is up (110 agrmnts/60+ people).  Audience will hear from ANRC/AACD later.
  • Received “best in class” designation from National Headquarters easement review.
  • Initiatives:  energy - 200% ($3.9m) increase in funding for implementation.
  • Feral swine - initiated pilot with positive response.
  • Soil Health - cover crops conference and numerous field days with rainfall simulator.
  • Renewed emphasis on IWM.
  • Illinois River – positive results/delisting of stream segment within project area.
  • SFI - Increased SF funding for HU producers by 84% from FY14 ($3.5m) resulting in 102 contracts (79 percent increase from FY14).  Established fund pool for alternative crops.  Developed new working group to address their property issues on forest land.  Completed study documenting about 6500 jobs created annually as result of SFI in Arkansas for all USDA agencies.  SF has increased output in the Arkansas economy by $600 million and increased incomes of Arkansas residents about $150 million/year for the 25 SF counties during the 2011-13 period.
  • Completed QAR of CStP – following up on contract problems in several counties.
  • Strong demand for program assistance.  EQIP, CSP, and WRE all have large backlogs/applications unfunded, indicating high level of customer service/satisfaction.
  • Current/future focus on improving core strengths - technical excellence, conservation planning, and premier conservation partnership and delivery system.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) – Lori Barker

  • Mid-South Environmental Stewardship Marketing Cooperative established - $900,000 (4 states)
  • Healthy Soil, Happy Rice - $75,000

FY2015 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Corey Farmer

  • Local Workgroup total per county  funds  ($18,222,307.64)
  • Local Workgroup Special projects   ($1,636,774.89)
  • Breakdown of all of the categories
  • Feral Swine   ($296,407.92)
  • HU   ($2,481,402.20)
  • Illinois River    ($2,187,402)
  • National Initiatives  ($4,417,458.03)
  • Alternative Crops ($173,186.15)
  • Arkansas River Valley (CAFO)  ($1,292,362.89)
  • Wildlife ($461,051.62)
  • StrikeForce  ($3,496,176.36)
  • Total Local Workgroup funding ($19,859,082.53)

FY2015/2016 Local Led Process – Kenneth Lee

  • Districts were provided a screening tool to help them assess their local priorities and EQIP ranking
  • 22 counties are now using the screening tool
  • Screening tool is being reviewed to ensure it is current regarding policy and equitable
  • Four counties did not meet the deadline of September 11, 2015, to complete their locally led workgroup meeting and report.
  • FY2016 Program Implementation Schedule (Handout 4):  The application deadline for all is November 20, 2015.

FY2015 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) - Jena Moore

  • Currently the eastern part of Arkansas has shown the greatest level of participation, but efforts will be made to shown more acres in western Arkansas.
  • FY2016 CSP is going to be different, as they will require additional enhancements:
    • Practices will be reviewed for effectiveness.
    • Ranking will be changed to mirror EQIP ranking process.
    • Process should improve the transparency and simplify the process for the user and NRCS staff.
  • A quality review of contract management should increase flexibility.
  • Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) and University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture indicate that they will help provide assistance.
  • A workshop can be held at the AACD annual meeting in February 2016 to help landowners and districts understand the changes.

Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI)  

  • MRBI Focus Watersheds changed to match up with the Arkansas Priority Watersheds.
  • Overall $83,729,000.
  • Arkansas received an additional $7.5 million that was turned back from other states.
  • National Headquarters has allowed Arkansas to change from 5 watersheds to 10 watersheds.
  • There will be some changes to the format.
  • FY-2016 projects will ask for $8.7 million
  • Notes from State Technical Committee Report, October 8, 2015:
    • MRBI funding since 2010 = $83,729,168
    • FY2015 – 138 contracts, over 22,000 acres –amount available for obligation $7,507,200
    • $950,000 dollars came from turn back money from other states.
    • We currently have 12 projects: 
      • 6 older projects that were extended
      • 3 new ones
      • 3 existing that finished their funding
    • Awaiting final approval on 4 more that will start in FY16.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program – Dianne Schlenker

  • FY2014-FY2015 – Four projects were awarded $15 million.
  • FY2016 – Five projects were selected to submit for full proposals.
  • Be prepared to negotiate on total funding.
  • Notes from State Technical Committee Report, October 8, 2015:
    • 2014/2015 RCPP
    • 115 projects were selected from 600 preproposals
    • $370 million
    • Arkansas had 23 preproposals
    • 4 were awarded funding-$15 million
    • $2 million state projects
    • $3 million CCA
    • $10 million National
    • 2016 RCPP
    • 265 preproposals were submitted nationwide for $225 million
    • 165 were invited to submit a full proposals by Nov 10th
    • 8 preproposals submitted from Arkansas
    • 1 submitted from Tennessee that includes AR, MO, KY (8.4 million)
    • 5 were invited to submit a full proposals for over 16 million

Illinois River Watershed Initiative – Dianne Schlenker

  • $17 million obligated.
  • Funds can roll over to the next year
  • Hmong Producers continue to have special needs so more outreach will be implemented
  • Notes from State Technical Committee Report, October 8, 2015:
    • 2011-2018
    • 5th year of project
    • Arkansas
    • 594 contracts on 46,622 acres
    • Obligation:  $17,323,124
    • Top practices: forage and biomass planting, prescribed grazing, fencing, waste storage facility and amendments for treatment of ag waste.
    • This year for Arkansas 74 contract on 3554 acres for over a $2 million.
    • RCPP project overlaps the watershed.  The project offers energy practices.  An active outreach campaign is being conducted with the Hmong communities to overcome language barriers and promote USDA programs.

Avian Influenza – Walt Delp

  • Anticipating increased incident of avian flu outbreak due to the migratory birds
  • Some counties only have one site that might be suitable for site specific burial site if birds are lost so efforts have been implemented to find site that have suitable soils
  • Some environmental concerns with leaching, potential impact on groundwater so other methods of dealing with dead birds are being investigated
  • Arkansas Livestock and Poultry has the lead with NRCS and APHIS providing assistance
  • NRCS is limited to one farm a day if impacted
  • Bio-security requires that there is no movement by vehicles, people, and special protective clothing, etc.
  • NRCS staff that duck hunt or have poultry operations have some limitations
  • Anticipating 500 outbreaks nationwide
  • Farmers may need to come to the staff rather than having staff driving on the farm
  • Can be found in poultry litter, exhaust fans, backyard flocks, migratory waterfowl and lack of awareness by farmers, suppliers, etc.
  • 48 million birds were killed last year in two states due to the Avian Flu

Payment Rates and Practices - Walt Delp

  • Payment schedules are being reviewed each year to make them better reflect costs for implementation in Arkansas

Conservation Planning - Nancy Young

  • Workload on staff continues to be a concern for NRCS
  • 100 % Conservation planning is a goal but the NRCS staff is looking at various options on how to implement this without disruptions in service to landowners
  • Recommendations were asked for on how to best implement

Wildlife Subcommittee Report – George Rheinhardt

  • Increase pollinator funding and practices
  • Focus on Monarch Butterfly and the milkweed, its food source
  • November 9, 2015 training will be held at the Faulkner County Natural Resources Center on this topic
  • Nancy Young will be the POC for NRCS to work with the Monarch Butterfly Working Group
  • Establish a designated fund for wildlife
  • Currently 5% is the established rate but the recommendation needs to focus on following practices
  • Wetlands
  • Riparian buffer
  • Native grass
  • See report for other practices and what actions need to be made
  • Feral Swine Initiative

Grazing Management – Jeremy Huff

Jeremy Huff reported on grazing lands efforts this year in Arkansas, in which he: 

  • Delivered 16 presentations related to grazing management and pasture resource concerns,
  • Provided 8 technical trainings were provided to staff including Pasture Ecology I, Pasture Ecology II, and Building Partnerships with Livestock Producers,
  • 3 livestock watering training sessions, (assisted with)
  • Held 17 demonstrations with the Rainfall Stimulator, and
  • Delivered 16 total trainings (including program content) to the field offices.  Also,
  • Financial assistance for all grazing related practices increased in FY15, except Forage Harvest Management,
  • NRCS is planning twice as many acres in prescribed grazing, as opposed to pasture planting.  (A video will be sent out to committee members.)
  • A new (training) staff was videotaped during the explanation of a mock EQIP contract and replayed to show strengths and weaknesses, to identify where the communication breakdowns are between landowner and NRCS staff.
  • EQIP payment rates – all of the grazing practices payment schedules increased, with the exception of one practice. (This has now changed.)

Forestry Working Group State Technical Committee Report for fall of 2015 - George Rheinhardt

  • The working group received materials from George and no concerns were offered back.
  • $3.7 million in forestry practices in 2015.
  • Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration Project - $1.4 million.
  • $3.4 million has been obligated in FY2014 - FY2015 for this program.
  • 29 counties included -- but now 23 counties are involved.
  • Currently, project funds remain for one more year; however, additional funds will be requested.
  • New proposal will be a continuation of this project, but Oklahoma will be included.
  • A cap will be placed on permanent firebreaks.

No meeting since Spring Meeting.  Summary of FY2015 EQIP was mailed to the committee and asked for comments.  Few comments were received.  As a whole the committee is satisfied with no major issues.

Items of interest:

  • $3,712,962 obligated for forestry practices in EQIP in FY2015 statewide
  • $1,432,689 obligated for WAWRP in FY2015
  • $3,392,783 obligated for WAWRP in FY2014 & 2015

 

WAWRP 2015

 

WAWRP 2015

 

COUNTY

OBLIGATED

 

PRACTICE

OBLIGATED

1

IZARD

$337,711

 

Firebreak

$699,080

2

POLK

$156,044

 

Prescribed Burning

$316,913

3

SEARCY

$147,055

 

Tree/Shrub Site Preparation

$145,359

4

BAXTER

$111,840

 

Silvopasture Establishment

$90,220

5

JOHNSON

$84,709

 

Forest Stand Improvement

$82,816

6

POPE

$83,537

 

Tree/Shrub Establishment

$65,195

7

LOGAN

$78,850

 

Stream Crossing

$19,519

8

VAN BUREN

$78,195

 

Conservation Cover

$7,653

9

WASHINGTON

$76,746

 

Pond

$3,540

10

MADISON

$66,973

 

Diversion

$1,915

11

NEWTON

$66,497

 

Pasture and Hay Planting

$479

12

BENTON

$36,062

 

TOTAL

$1,432,689

13

PIKE

$35,516

     

14

YELL

$29,014

     

15

PERRY

$15,243

     

16

MARION

$13,812

     

17

STONE

$12,565

     

18

MONTGOMERY

$2,320

     

 

TOTAL

$1,432,689

     

 

WAWRP FY 2014 & FY 2015 SUMMARY

 

WAWRP FY 2014 & FY 2015 SUMMARY

 

COUNTY

OBLIGATED

 

PRACTICE

OBLIGATED

1

POLK

$409,549

 

Firebreak

$1,494,312

2

SEARCY

$356,556

 

Prescribed Burning

$568,257

3

IZARD

$337,711

 

Tree/Shrub Site Preparation

$451,056

4

STONE

$313,455

 

Forest Stand Improvement

$275,677

5

YELL

$296,971

 

Tree/Shrub Establishment

$172,555

6

BAXTER

$249,978

 

Silvopasture Establishment

$129,749

7

PERRY

$203,428

 

Streambank and Shoreline Protection

$89,100

8

POPE

$156,315

 

Fence

$69,114

9

VAN BUREN

$153,261

 

Stream Crossing

$51,478

10

NEWTON

$150,169

 

Pasture and Hay Planting

$14,619

11

LOGAN

$138,277

 

Tree/Shrub Pruning

$10,522

12

FRANKLIN

$116,771

 

Pond

$10,396

13

WASHINGTON

$104,265

 

Diversion

$10,365

14

JOHNSON

$93,956

 

Watering Facility

$7,908

15

MADISON

$66,973

 

Pipeline

$7,780

16

CONWAY

$54,967

 

Conservation Cover

$7,653

17

HOT SPRING

$50,037

 

Structure for Water Control

$4,643

18

PIKE

$48,340

 

Forest Slash Treatment

$3,295

19

BENTON

$36,062

 

Pumping Plant

$3,162

20

MONTGOMERY

$21,257

 

Wetland Creation

$2,567

21

PULASKI

$15,974

 

Spring Development

$2,556

22

MARION

$13,812

 

Hedgerow Planting

$2,445

23

HOWARD

$4,701

 

Prescribed Grazing

$1,935

 

TOTAL

$3,392,783

 

Heavy Use Area Protection

$1,637

       

TOTAL

$3,392,783

 

  • 23 of 29 counties have participated in WAWRP in last 2 years.
  • Submitting another Joint Chief’s Project.
    • Extend current project and include Oklahoma
  • Will initiate the $15,000 payment cap on the permanent fire break practice 394 for FY2016, as agreed.

Water Quality and Soil Health – John Lee

Alternative Crops:  Organic contracts are growing slowly, but it has been difficult for producers to get certified for organics

Water Quality

  • A pro-active educational effort was established to reduce the impact of nutrients on water quality from increased poultry operations in northeast Arkansas.
  • Recommendation:  Develop a nutrient management strategy with all conservation partners participating.
  • Need for continuity between Extension and NRCS resulted in a recommendation in cross training.
  • Recommendation:  Provide cross-training for CES and NRCS local staffs to educate both groups on the programs offered to provide assistance and education.
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Recommendation:  CES to develop a list of resistant weeds and insects.
  • Southern Agriculture Cover Crop, Soil Health & Water Management (training or conference) will be held on October 28 – 29, 2015.
  • Increased demand for cover crop seeds from landowners
  • Fact sheets on cover crop management, seed selection, etc., will be developed.  Work is being done by Dr. Trent Roberts.
  • Need for changes to some of the cover crop practices
  • Need for roundtable discussions with landowners, conservation partners, industry, etc., to address cover crops, soil health and pest management
  • Gypsum application should be considered to address resource concerns to improve infiltration rate in the soil, which also improves the water quality.  Reduction is seen in phosphorus runoff.

Water Quantity – Walt Delp

  • To pay only on UV PVC pipe – still being researched
  • Road side ditches should not be used in tail water recovery systems due to sediment build up.
  • Narrow the bottom width to address 2:1 slopes – still being researched.
  • Portable flow meters – need further study
  • Provide a standard that allows a mixed use with both PVC and steel.
  • Raise any issues regarding payment rates in the winter months due to NRCS scheduling.
  • Declining Groundwater Initiative – seek to establish a special initiative to address the need to build on the work that has been done regarding the declining aquifer.

NRCS Water Quantity Subcommittee – Walt Delp

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Little Rock, Arkansas 

 

Meeting called to order by Charolette Bowie, Subcommittee Chair

Members present:

 

Charolette Bowie, Chairman

Todd Fugitt, ANRC

Charles Glover, Poinsett Co.

Andrew Wargo III, Desha Co.

Mike Guess, ANRC

Ryan Benefield, ANRC

Patrick Fisk, ANRC

Michelle Kitchens, ArFB

Andrew Grobmyer, Ag Council

Debbie Moreland, AACD

Report Respectfully Submitted by Debbie Moreland, AACD

Old Business:  Payment schedules – no major changes at this time.  Payment based on scenarios and are set regionally with Mississippi and Louisiana.

New Business:

  • Technical and Policy
    • PVC vs. steel in salt areas – recommend that it be changed to allow PVC rather than restricted to just steel due to the salt corrosion
      • Tail water recovery results in additional evaporation which results in salinity in surface water.
      • Arkansas River picks up salt in the salt flats in OK.
      • Delta counties are seeing higher level of salt for a variety of reasons
      • Recommendation –NRCS standards and payments for certified UV protected PVC pipe would be developed for specific scenarios to address high salinity but would be allowable statewide.
    • Tail water Recovery systems and their locations
      • Previously has been the road ditch but concern of whether this could be a potential liability environmentally.
      • There needs to be a designated distance between the newly created drainage area (12 – 15 feet) and the road ditch
      • This should prevent sediment runoff into ditches
    • Requirement of pressure gages on pipelines
      • Key component would be to add pressure gages to the discharge pipe to monitor irrigation efficiency.
      • Farmers do not have much knowledge on what the pressure gages results mean to their operation and their irrigation efficiency.
      • This would be a new requirement as part of their Irrigation Water Management system, already in place for micro-irrigation and irrigation sprinkler.
      • The farmer would record their pressure.
      • Question is could an app be developed to allow them to download the information to their Smartphone?
      • The size of the pipeline is determined by the amount of water flow
      • Recommendation:  Train county agents and conservation partners to ensure their knowledge is current on irrigation management practices.
      • Recommendation:  Add pressure gages to assist in improving irrigation efficiency.
      • Flow meters are still voluntary but pressure gages will be mandatory for pump installations
  • Slide slopes on tailwater pits
    • NRCS wants to stay with the 2:1 side slopes but does not have to have a 20 foot wide at the bottom due to inability of farm equipment to reach it.
    • Recommendation is that farmers be allowed to install a smaller width at the bottom or make the pit longer as long as the side slopes are installed to NRCS standards and specs.
    • Farmers can go bigger just not smaller unless it meets NRCS specs.
  • Erosion fabrics for top interior slopes of reservoirs.
    • Research is being done to find ways to reduce erosion on the inside and top of the levees.
    • Recommendation:  Wait on the research before committing funds to this practice.
  • Warranty and Installation/Calibration guarantees on flowmeter
    • Difficulty keeping the flow meters functioning due to debris, fish, and soil
    • Non-mechanical flow meters do show some promise but more expensive than mechanical flow meters
    • NRCS has four portable flow meters available for districts to check out but a time limit on time they can keep it (30 days).
    • It would be managed the same as with rental equipment.
    • Price runs from $1,500 to $2,500 per portable flow meter.
    • Recommendation:  NRCS to pay for portable flow meters.
    • Recommendation:  Vendor to provide the farmer with a copy of the warranty and confirmation that it has been calibrated correctly upon installation.
    • Question was asked if there could be incentives offered through CSP to make sure the flow meters are recalibrated periodically; add ranking points, etc.
    • How often do the portable flow meters need to be calibrated?  Is there a way to develop a procedure to do a quick check on the calibration?
  • What constitutes good used steel?
    • Recommendation:  NRCS develop standards and specs to be used when approving “used” steel.
  • Drop pipe/Flashboard riser material.
    • Chair asked if NRCS needs to stay with current approved materials or do they need to offer other options.
    • Concrete is currently being used to anchor but inexpensive.
    • Steel is better for long term unless salt is an issue in the soil.
    • PVC pipe is less expensive but subject to some concerns such as loss due to burning.
    • Burning is necessary in rice field for disease control.
    • Recommendation is that a mixed PVC and steel scenario for drop pipes and flashboards be allowed (photo included).

Irrigation Expos

  • Southern Agriculture Cover Crops/Soil Health/Irrigation Management Conference – October 28–29, 2015.
  • ASU Soil & Water Conference/Irrigation Expo will be held on January 27, 2015.
  • Third annual Irrigation Expo will be held in Southeast Arkansas.

Ground Water Decline Initiative

  • Todd Fugitt, ANRC asked if the State Water Plan is being discussed at these regional meetings.  He offered to speak at any meeting in the future.
    • Recommendation is to request an initiative for the continued pursuit of addressing declining groundwater concerns in the Alluvial Aquifer; Arkansas is #2 in the nation for groundwater usage and provides 52% of the rice grown in the United States.

Any Farmer Concerns

  • Andrew Grobmyer, Ag Council, spoke to the need for a cooperative effort regarding the State Water Plan
    • Bond authority
    • Increase excess water flow for irrigation distribution systems
    • Expanding tax incentives – Land and Water Resource Development Act
  • Dr. Dewayne Goldman spoke to a concern with the payment rates and schedules
    • Increase costs in irrigation pumping installation, conservation practices and current payment rates do not provide the level of funding needed to implement the practice in some cases
    • Charolette spoke to the process that is used by NRCS to develop the payment schedule and any changes would have to be agreed to by MS and LA

New Water Management Engineer position with NRCS

  • NRCS will be hiring a new engineer to deal with alternative crop producers, hoop houses and micro-irrigation

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program - Randy Childress

2016 ACEP Geographical Rate Cap

  • Significant demand for the ACEP program
  • Briefed on the status of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
  • Presented the 2016 Geographical Area Rate Cap (GARC) for comment.  The proposed 2016 GARC remains unchanged from the 2015 GARC.  Any comments or issues related to the value can be emailed to Randy for consideration. 
  • A map of the state reflecting the values was issued to all present.

NRCS Energy Subcommittee – Alice Weeks

10:00 – 11:55 a.m., Thursday, July 16, 2015

AACD Office

Meeting called to order by Alice Weeks, NRCS Energy Chairman

Members present:

Alice Weeks, NRCSPat Henry, TSP

Randy Busbea, TSPTony Stevenson, TSP

Stanley Mathis, TSPDebbie Moreland, AACD

  • NRCS will partner with Rural Development to address many of the energy activities (grain dryers, irrigation pumps, etc.) through the REAP Program.
  • Technical Service Providers expressed concerns on the amount of paperwork and effort required to prepare a REAP application when there is no certainty of funding.

Planning Units

  • TSPs are completing a full energy audit with all energy savings components included, with the reminder that the landowner chooses which activities they wish to pursue.
  • Different farm numbers should be handled as different energy audits rather than lumping all farms into one audit.
  • One audit per Social Security Number is current the practice, but this needs some flexibility.
  • Audits do not allow for multiple farms and tracts.  May do three farms for one producer but get paid for one
  • Changed from historical practice of one audit per farm tract.
  • Changed from 122 to 128, which resulted in this concern.
  • Farmer may have a new farm tract that requires nothing new, but when combined with the older farm tract, it results in pulling down the ranking which ultimately reduces the chances of getting funding.
  • NRCS has a backlog of applications that want/need funding, but there is a lack of funds available.
  • A discussion was held on earmarking money for irrigation pumps.
  • Funds should be targeted toward irrigation efficiency practices rather than pump conversion.
  • Focus is needed more by the poultry producers than the row crop producers.

Payment schedules

  • NRCS Economists are attempting to have be no more than a 10 percent variation in payment schedules.
  • Current payment schedules are in line with costs.
  • LED lights are a little high, and need to be reduced to $12
  • CFL lights should be taken off the payment schedule.
  • Dr. Watkins is still recommending specific lights due to effect on chickens (cfl lights for brood and led lights for grow out).  Also, other concerns were sited.

Other issues

  • Practice life of a component has been removed, which is a positive action.  As long as the payback is less than the life of the component, it should qualify.
  • Halogen lights are being used in some houses, and these are incandescent lights.  They qualify to be replaced.
  • Bio-security was discussed.  The TSPs do not enter a poultry house if they have chickens.
  • Need to address the limitations on energy audits due to being tied to Social Security Numbers, rather than complexes.
  • Irrigation efficiency practices were handle through general EQIP for the large irrigation practices, but to utilize REAP for the combustion engines conversions to electricity

Arkansas Natural Resources Commission – Cooperative Agreements – Adrian Baber

  • Agreement for technical assistance in NMP and conservation planning.
  • Agreement for watershed and drainage districts training to help address the growing workload and reporting needs.
  • Agreement to create a team of irrigation management specialists to work on a variety of plans through outreach and development of conservation plans.   Also identify locations for metering sites.
  • Agreement will create watershed coordinators to work with districts, landowners and conservation partners to develop programs to assist in water quality concerns.
  • Agreement to train district employees and NRCS employees in conservation planning to get them certified.
  • Joint effort between ANRC, AACD, and NRCS.

Arkansas Natural Resources Commission – COMPASS Project – Debbie Moreland

  • Spoke to a new agreement to address the needs of Beginning Farmers, Ranchers and Veterans

Final Remarks – Mike Sullivan, State Conservationist

  • Talked about ways to make the process more efficient
  • Noted that deadlines will be held firm next year regarding the locally led workgroup reports
  • Kenneth Lee needs recommendations before the fall each year so allow for an adequate amount of time to address possible changes
  • Mike announced the selection of Debbie Moreland for the NACD Distinguished Service Award.

Meeting adjourn by Kenneth Lee.

Report respectfully submitted by Debbie Moreland, Acting Secretary