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September 2021 Meeting Minutes

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District

September 21, 2021 Meeting Minutes


Attendees: Joe Garrison, Katie Smith, Daniel Lanier, Brett Upthagrove, Mike Ruiz, David Lawson


1. Call to Order


2. Pledge of Allegiance


3. Roll Call for Attendees listed above


4. Approved July 16th Meeting Minutes

a. Joe motion, David 2nd

b. All in favor, motion passes


5. Chair Report – Daniel Lanier

a. No updates


6. Vice Chair Report – Joe Garrison

a. No updates


7. Secretary/Treasurer Report – Katie Smith

a. No updates

b. Signature cards will be signed at the next in person meeting in November


8. Public Relations Report

a. No updates


9. Old Business

a. Request receipts from Brett Upthagrove for 2017/2018

i. Daniel in contact with Brett’s Lawyer, item to be resolved


b. Prepare Budget for PSWCD

i. Katie to email raven for items needed to fill out budget form sample

ii. Brett to email previous years contest expenditure amounts for budget


10. New Business

a. Land Judging

i. Daniel – contest to be held 3/3/2022 at 3pm, location in Polk but still undisclosed

1. Ag teachers requesting to do speech and poster contest in conjunction with land judging. Topic to still be released

ii. Brett – Run a Envirothon for kids in the science labs


b. 2021 FASD Conference

i. Brett – attended recently, says lots of resources available and a discount membership available to the board. Grant writers are available so we can do some new projects.

ii. Daniel – will ask Angela if we can be reimbursed for membership

iii. Joe – researching more information


c. Local Work Group Meeting

i. Daniel – set the work group meeting in November to discuss 2023 budget after the board meeting

ii. Brett – NRCS is required by law to have this meeting and boards are able to determine funding.

iii. Joe – Interested in tree defender as a cost sharing project

iv. Motion by Daniel to have WG meeting here after Nov Board Meeting

v. 2nd by Katie

vi. All in favor except Brett


11. Adjournment

a. Joe – Motion

b. David – 2nd

c. All in favor

July 2021 Meeting Minutes

Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District

July 20, 2021

Meeting Minutes


  • The meeting was called to order at 4:15 by Joe Garrison. Joe also led thePledge of Allegiance.

  • Joe Garrison called role, all board members were in attendance in person.

  • Joe Garrison asked for a motion to approve the minutes. Brett Upthagrove disagreed with the way a statement of his was written. This opened up conversation about the old receipts that Brett hasn’t brought forward yet. Joe Garrison stated that the attorney has been emailed but has not responded to the request for the receipts. Daniel Lanier made the suggestion to make the changes and insert the words “since the attorney has them” in the sentence so that the sentence reads “Brett responded that he needs it in a letter submitted to his attorney since the attorney has them.” Katie Smith seconded the motion, motion was approved.

  • David Lawson Jr was sworn in by a notary to fill the empty seat on the board.

  • David Lawson Jr. asked for clarification on the missing receipts and to be brought up to speed with the issue. Joe Garrison explained that a few receipts were missing. Brett Upthagrove talked about how he was busy and they got lost.

  • Matt Warren gave an FDACS update. He talked about the new 501 rule and the BMAP work Leah Mears has been doing. The new fiscal year has started so there is new cost share money available. Brett Upthagrove asked why our cost share money is still going through another county (Hardee). Matt explained that basically the Polk board has been too “wishy washy” to be turned loose with cost share completely on their own. The Polk board is still getting a 5% admin fee for the employee and the cost share is to come asPolk becomes more stable.

  • Joe Garrison brought up the election of new officers.

  • Joe Garrison nominated Daniel Lanier for Chair, David Lawson Jr seconded, motion passed.

  • Daniel Lanier nominated Joe Garrison as Vice Chair. David Lawson Jr seconded, motion passed. 

  • Daniel Lanier asked Katie Smith if she would consider becoming the new Secretary/Treasurer, she accepted. Joe Garrison made the motion, Brett Upthagrove seconded, motion passed. 

  • Joe Garrison asked Katie Smith about working on a budget for the board. 

  • Brett Upthagrove asked about the board being reimbursed for state dues. 

  • Joe Garrison asked for a motion to adjourn, Daniel Lanier made the motion, David Lawson Jr seconded, motion passed and the meeting was adjourned at 4:52. 

May 2021 Meeting Minutes

 Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District 

May 18, 2021 Meeting Minutes 


  • The meeting was called to order at 4:31 by Joe Garrison. Joe then led the Pledge of Allegiance and called roll. Joe Garrison, Daniel Lanier and Katie Smith were present in person. Brett Upthagrove was present via Zoom.

  • Joe Garrison brought up the topic of choosing a new board member to replace AmyLee Lawrence. Daniel Lanier mentioned that it looked like the only way to have the tie broken was to request the Governor to make the decision. After some discussion Katie Smith stated that she would consider changing her vote for the sake of getting on with business. The board voted 3/1 elected David Lawson Jr. to the vacant seat on the board.

  • The board discussed what amounts of money to award the contestants that placed in the county Speech and Poster Contest. The board agreed to award the winner of the speech contest $100. The winners of the poster contest were as follows: First place- $100, Second place- $75, Third place $50 for each age group. Brett Upthagrove said that he had a box of certificates at his home and he would get these to Raven to go out with the checks.

  • Katie Smith motioned to approve the minutes from the March 16, 2021 meeting. Daniel Lanier seconded. The motion passed.

  • Brett Upthagrove talked about the Florida Association of Special Districts. He went over the benefits of this organization and the different classes and training they offer. The Association is having a convention in June. Brett is planning to attend. The dues are $600 annually. Daniel Lanier asked Brett if he could email the board more information on the association so that the board could discuss joining at the next meeting.

  • Joe Garrison asked Brett Upthagrove for the missing receipts. Brett responded that he needs it in a letter submitted to his attorney since his attorney has them. Katie Smith asked Brett if he has these receipts then why they can’t simply be provided.

  • Katie Smith made multiple suggestions for the board to better handle money and receipts. One major suggestion that was well received by the entire board was for anytime a board member is to be reimbursed, it is to be done so at a meeting in front of the other board members.

  • The meeting went into a second Zoom link where Joe Garrison formally adjourned the meeting at 5:20.

Now Hiring: Multi-County Conservation Technician

The Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District is seeking a Multi-County Conservation Technician to assist with the implementation of The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) adopted Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) program. This will include working with the FDACS cost share program, Implementation Verification (IVs). The position will be based in Polk County, but will also require travel to surrounding counties. The applicant should be team oriented, independent and have an agricultural and/or natural resources background, with computer and office management skills. Employment is a grant funded position and ends June,2023. With renewal.

Applicant will be required to perform clerical and field work.

A pre-employment federal background check will be performed.

Although resumes are accepted an application form must be completed and sent to:

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District

1700 US HWY 17 South

Suite #2

Bartow, FL 33830


March 2021 Special Meeting Minutes

 Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District 

Special Meeting

March 30, 2021 

John Brennaman Center, Bartow FL 


  • The meeting was called to order at 5:40 by Joe Garrison. He led the Pledge of Allegiance and called roll. 

  •  Joe Garrison, Daniel Lanier, Katie Smith and Brett Upthagrove were present. 

  • Daniel Lanier motioned to approve the January minutes, Katie Smith seconded, motion passed. 

  • Joe Garrison started the conversation for appointing a new supervisor since AmyLee Lawrence stepped down from her position. Brett Upthagrove discussed some points for possibly advertising. Katie Smith stated that she had this conversation with Angela Weeks and that advertising pertains to hiring employees, not board appointment. 

  • Katie Smith nominated Stephanie Stidham. She is an analyst at Publix. 

  •  Daniel Lanier nominated David Lawson Jr. He is a local businessman that owns citrus groves, a well and pump service and citrus hedging company. 

  •  There were some discussion and questions from the board for the nominees. 

  •  The board is in a tie vote. Brett Upthagrove and Katie Smith voted for Stephanie Stidham. Daniel Lanier and Joe Garrison voted for David Lawson Jr. 

  • Leah Mears said that she would reach out for guidance in the event of a tie. 

  •  Joe Garrison motioned to adjourn, Katie Smith seconded. Motion passed and the meeting was adjourned at 6:15. 

March 2021 Minutes

 PSWCD Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2021 

John Brennaman Center, Bartow FL 

  • The meeting was called to order at 4:17 by Joe Garrison. Joe then led thePledge of Allegiance and called roll.

  • Joe Garrison and Daniel Lanier were present in person. Katies Smith waspresent via Zoom. Brett Upthagrove was absent.

  • There was not a quorum for a vote. It was brought to the boards attentionthat the board members must be physically present in order to have aquorum.

  • Joe Garrison had nothing new for the Chair report.

  • Daniel Lanier gave a brief overview of the finances for the Secretary/Treasurer report.

Old Business

  • Joe Garrison discussed the missing receipts from 2017/2018 concerningBrett Upthagrove. His attorney has sent word for the board to “Just Ask”.These receipts will be requested again at the next board meeting.

New Business

  • Continue to postpone the election of officers.

  • The board discussed the upcoming Speech and Poster Contest. The boardmentioned contacting Jessica Anderson. Joe Garrison stated that Jessicawas looking to have the contest in April.

  • Daniel Lanier brought up that the board should discuss refreshments forthe contest as well as awards. Katie Smith said that she would be discussingall of these items between now and the special meeting with JessicaAnderson.

  • Kyle Anderson gave a report from the NRCS. They have a new hire, ZachFlanders who is a soil conservationist. The office is open and is running at25% capacity.

  • They just finished ranking for funding for EQUIP. CSP deadline is next month. Kyle introduced himself to Katie and gave her an overview of what he does at the NRCS. 

  •  Joe Garrison asked Kyle to talk about a workshop coming up. He discussed a survey that will be going out and the results will be discussed at the April 20th workshop meeting at 10:00 am. These results helps get the local NRCS funding. 

  •  A special meeting will be held at the John Brennaman Center March 30 at 5:30. 

  •  Daniel Lanier motioned to adjourn the meeting, Joe Garrison seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 4:45. 

May 18th, 2021 Board Meeting Agenda

PSWCD Board Meeting
May 18th, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Meeting Located at:

1702 Highway 17 S. Bartow FL 33830

This meeting is open to the public with the option to attend in person or via Zoom using the following link:

Meeting ID: 827 6903 3230
Passcode: PolkSoil

1. Call to order

2. Pledge of allegiance

3. Roll call

4. Appoint New Board Member

5. Approval of March 16, 2021 Meeting Minutes & Special Meeting Minutes

6. Chair Report- Joe Garrison

7. Vice Chair Report

8. Secretary/Treasurer Report- Daniel Lanier

9. Public Relations Report

10. Old Business
a. Request missing receipts from Brett Upthagrove for 2017/2018 purchases
b. Polk County Soil Speech and Poster Contest Update

11. New Business

12. Adjourn

January 2020 Minutes

PSWCD Meeting Minutes

January 21, 2020

• Joe Garrison called the meeting together at 4:05 pm. He started the meeting by leading
the Pledge of Allegiance.

• Kyle Carlton moved to accept the minutes from the November 2019 meeting. Daniel
Lanier seconded the motion, motion passed.

• Roll was called. Joe Garrison, Kyle Carlton, Daniel Lanier and Dr. Sharon Masters was
present. Brett Upthagrove was absent.

• Kyle Carlton gave his Vice Chair Report. He discussed the upcoming Poster and Speech
contest to be held at the FFA LTC February 18 where the board will also have a
workshop. Kyle told the board that he would notify them of the location for the Polk
County Land Judging Contest to be held March 3rd. It had been discussed in the past and
the board was still in agreement to provide food and drinks to the participants.

• Daniel Lanier went over the budget and mentioned the minutes that had previously
been accepted.

• Joe Garrison discussed with the board about trying to get more cost share projects in
Polk County.

• Jeff Wilton with SWFWMD introduced himself. He talked about some of their projects.
He discussed the AGSWM group to help producers with BMP’s. Jeff agreed to do a
presentation before the board at the March meeting.

• Charlene Meeks informed the board that April 24 is the Area 3 AFCD Meeting. It is
hosted by the Lake County SWCD.

• Charlene Meeks announced that the State AFCD Meeting will be held in Ft. Walton
Beach September 9-11. The state contests will be held then.

• Kyle Carlton talked about a Winter Teacher meeting he attended. He brought up a soil
class he attended that was sponsored by FNGLA. Kyle suggested that the board look into
providing some of these test kits to the schools where students can learn the basics
about soil. He asked that we consider it and discuss it at the March meeting.

• Drew Pitts had on the agenda to discuss a water bottle filling station. He wasn’t present
at the meeting to discuss this.

• Joe Garrison motioned to adjourn the meeting. Daniel Lanier seconded the motion. The
meeting was adjourned at 4:42.

June 2020 Workshop Meeting Minutes

PSWCD Workshop Meeting Minutes

June 15, 2020

•Joe Garrison called the meeting together at 4:15.

•Joe Garrison, Kyle Carlton, Daniel Lanier and Dr. Sharon Masters was present.

•Joe Garrison asked if everyone had read the E&O Insurance policy. Dr. Sharon Masters stated that there was a lot of information and she wasn’t sure that it all pertained to our board. Jo stated what he understood from the binder.

•Kyle Carlton asked what other boards use.

•Angela stated that a lot of boards us the Florida League of Cities. She suggested we compare rates because some boards pay up to $20,000.

•Angela suggested we should have something to protect ourselves from being sued by special interest groups.

•Joe Garrison said he would reach out to the Florida League of Cities, that he didn’t realize they covered special districts. Everyone agreed to this.

•Joe Garrison introduced the new tech, Bailey Buchannon.

•Bailey Buchannon introduced herself to the board.

•Joe Garrison brought up allocating money for Bailey to purchase new shirts and business cards. He suggested the amount of $400. All agreed this was a good idea.

•Daniel Lanier made the motion for allocating $400 for Bailey Buchannon to purchase cards and shirts, Kyle Carlton seconded, motion passed.

•Dr. Sharon Masters motioned to adjourn the meeting. Kyle Carlton seconded. Kyle then asked when or if we would have another workshop meeting to discuss insurance before our next regular meeting. Joe Garrison said he would let the board know when he found out something from the League of Cities.

•Brett Upthagrove joined the meeting.

•The board brought him up to speed as to what had been discussed.

•The meeting was adjourned at 4:35.

May 2020 Minutes

PSWCD Board Meeting Minutes

May 18th, 2020

•Kyle Carlton opened the meeting at 4:04 and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

•All board members were present for the call.

•Dr. Sharon Masters motioned to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, Daniel Lanier seconded, motion passed.

•There was no Chair report.

•Kyle Carlton gave the Vice Chair report. He stated all FFA contests had been canceled due to COVID-19.

•Daniel Lanier gave the Secretary and Treasurer Report. Brett Upthagrove had a few questions concerning an overdraft from August 2019.

•Brett Upthagrove asked why he wasn’t notified of our tech Drew Pitts leaving his position. It was explained that this was something that had not been relayed due to canceling the March meeting and trying to coordinate a new meeting due to COVID-19. Dr. Sharon Masters requested that going forward when something big happens such as this the board is notified of the change.

•Joe Garrison asked if there was any old business.

•Brett Upthagrove asked why he wasn’t reminded about the speech and poster contests. Kyle Carlton reminded him that it has been discussed in meetings, minutes and reminder emails since September 2019. Brett gave his email address to the group again.

•Brett Upthagrove announced Commissioner Nikki Fried called in to the Kiwanis Club that he is a member of and discussed her school kid meal program. He asked that these links be added to our website as a PSA. This was mutually agreed on as a good idea.

•After some discussion on the E&O policy it was tabled for further clarification on what it exactly covers.

•Next meeting is a tentative Zoom meeting for July 21st at 4:00 pm.

•Raven Mundy clarified that this was a free Zoom call.

•The meeting was adjourned at 4:32 pm

July 2020 Minutes

PSWCD Board Meeting Minutes

July 21st, 2020

• The meeting was called to order at 4:06 pm via Zoom.

• Joe Garrison led the Pledge of Allegiance.

• Joe Garrison, Daniel Lanier, Dr. Sharon Masters and Brett Upthagrove were present at the time of roll call. Kyle Carlton was absent.

• Dr. Sharon Masters motioned to approve the minutes, Daniel Lanier seconded. The motion passed.

• Joe Garrison gave the Chair’s Report. Joe has spoken with the League of Cities. There are supposed to get back with him with a quote after verifying Bailey        Buchannon’s coverage through FDACS.

• Daniel Lanier gave the Treasurer’s Report.

• Dr. Sharon Masters and Brett Upthagrove had no comments.

• Matt Warren talked about some cost share projects and where the funding was coming from. It seems as most funding is going to Northern Everglades and BMAP areas.

• Bailey Buchannon is working on reaching out to producers and enrolling them into BMAP programs currently.

• Joe Garrison asked if there was any old business. There was none.

• Joe Garrison asked if there was any new business.

• Brett Upthagrove asked for bank statements from closing an old account and opening a new account. Joe Garrison stated that no accounts had been changed at all.

• Brett Upthagrove suggested that we change the line item from “dues” to DOE to “assessment”.

• There was some discussion about the insurance policy.

• Joe clarified that Bailey Buchannon is Polk’s employee through a payroll service.

• Brett Upthagrove asked if she had all of the state benefits. Angela Weeks- Somonie joined the meeting at this point. Brett then asked Angela if Bailey was offered benefits. Angela explained that Bailey had all of the benefits due to her position that she chooses. Angela then stated that Raven Mundy
will become the project manager for payroll and we will be seeing some contract changes soon. Then Angela gave an in depth explanation concerning payroll and benefits. • Raven Mundy purchased more time for the meeting to continue past the free 45 minutes from Zoom.

• Angela Weeks- Samonie then asked Raven Mundy to compile an email with questions concerning Bailey Buchannon’s employment package.

• Kyle Carlton joined the meeting and gave his Vice Chair Report. He stated that he has spoken with Jessica Anderson and there are no dates for the FFA/ 4-H contests yet due to COVID-19.

• Daniel Lanier asked Chad Allison if he had anything he would like to add.

• Chad Allison is working on funding for REPPI. He invited the board to visit the website and join in the upcoming webinar on the 29th.

• Daniel Lanier motioned to adjourn the meeting. Kyle Carlton seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 pm.

September 2020 Minutes

PSWCD Board Meeting Minutes

September 22, 2020

  •  Joe Garrison called the meeting to order at 4:09 pm.

  •  Joe Garrison called role. Kyle Carlton, Daniel Lanier, Brett Upthagrove were present. Chad Allison and Matt Warren were present as well.

  • Daniel Lanier motioned to approve the July minutes. Brett Upthagrove seconded, motion passed.

  •  Joe Garrison gave the Chair Report. He is still working on insurance for the board. They are to be in contact with Angela. The tech job description was updated. Applicants are to be in contact with Matt Warren.

  •  Kyle Carlton gave the Vice Chair Report. February 23rd from 3:00- 8:00 is the county speech and poster contest. The soil judging contest will be held in March, date and location TBD. Kyle will try to help line up judges for the speech and poster contest.

  •  Daniel Lanier gave the Secretary/ Treasurer Report. Finances look as they should.

  •  No Public Relations Report.

  •  No Old Business.

  •  No New Business.

  •  Daniel Lanier motioned to adjourn. Kyle Carlton seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 4:16.

November 2020 Minutes

PSWCD Board Meeting Minutes

November 17th, 2020


Members present: Joe Garrison, Dr. Sharon Masters, Kyle Carlton Absent: Brett Upthagrove, Daniel Lanier

  • Called meeting to order (Kyle), at Joe’s request 4:00 p.m.

  • Unanimously approved September’s minutes and treasurer’s reports.

  • Chair Report- Joe and Raven attended annual AFCD meeting. Met with NRCS Chair and introduced our county’s ag to him with hopes of bringing opportunities to our county’s producers. Still trying to hire an employee.

  • Old Business- One of the board members may need to obtain a substitute judge for the speech and poster contest which is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the LTC. Joe is still on the executive board of AFCD.

  • Next meeting is 1/19/2021

  • Meeting adjourned at approximately 4:20

Submitted by Kyle Carlton