This will be a quick message to bring everyone up to date on a few topics. Please take the time to read this message to see the news.
** The NACS-FSA Board will be going to Washington DC on April 23-26 to meet with National Office staff. We want to know what topics you would like discussed. Please let me or any Board member know what is on your mind.
** Each year NACS-FSA awards the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award to a member who has or is making significant contributions to the association on either a state or national level or both. If you would like to nominate someone, please contact me and we can talk about the nomination process. We would like to have worthy members nominated by May 1, 2019.
** Be sure to submit resolutions to be reviewed at the convention. We know there are lots of great ideas out there on ways to better serve our customers and improve our programs. You can submit them either through the website or a Board member.
** I want to encourage members to go to the NACS-FSA website to sign up to receive emails. I recommend you use your home email address so you can receive news even if you are away from work.
** Nathan Adams, Zone C Representative, has put together a great newsletter with highlights from the Zone C/D Meeting in Tennessee. it has been posted to the website. Please go there and read it.
** A challenge has been made..... At the Zone C/D Meeting, members there contributed $155 for the Wunder Fund. Because the other zone meetings were cancelled, the challenge has been put out there to see if Zone A or Zone B can beat this amount. Are you up for the challenge, members from A and B? Contact NACS Treasurer, Ray Bartholomew, and he will let you know how to make a contribution.
March Madness....... Well, this is true in 2019 for lots of reasons. NCAA basketball tournament time. Continued recovery from the extended furlough. Mother Nature being extremely unkind in her weather patterns. As many of you may have seen on the news, Nebraska is currently overwhelmed with flooding, even turning deadly in some cases. While this certainly hits very close to home here, please join with me in keeping our members, their families, ranchers, and producers all over this great country in your thougths and prayers in this difficult time.
Let me touch on a few subjects briefly.
~Currently, we have two people who have announced their intentions to run for NACS-FSA Board positions. LeAnn Gibbs, current Vice President, has thrown her hat into the ring for the office of President. Ray Bartholomew, current Treasurer, has made known that he will be running for re-election to the Treasurer position. Please let me know if you wish to run for any offices and I will announce it here.
~Save the date for the National Convention in New Orleans on June 22-27, 2019. The plans are being finalized and the registration information will be posted to the website soon.
~State treasurers are reminded that your 3rd quarter dues should be sent to the NACS Treasurer, if you have not already done so.
~The final committee reports with National Offices responses andNACS responses will be found on the website soon also.
~The NACS-FSA Board has received an invite to come into the National Office this spring to visit about topics and concerns that are important to you. Please let any of the Board members know what issues you would like us to bring forth.
~At the National Convention in June, it is my intention to present a motion to amend our constitution and by-laws to change the definition of a "regular" member. This proposed change will be posted to the website within the next 30 days. Please go and take a look at it. We want to have good discussion on this proposed change at the convention.
It is still not too late to register to attend the Zone C/D Meeting to be held in Chattanooga, TN on March 7-9, 2019. The registration information can be found on the NACS-FSA website.
Since we were not able to hold the Zone A meeting and Zone B meeting, this would be excellent opportunity for members to attend a meeting and hear from important National Office speakers. Each state president (or their representative) can receive some reimbursement for their costs to attend and participate in the Zone C/D Meeting, regardless of whether your state is actually located in Zone C or Zone D.
To be eligible to receive the reimbursement, your state must be current on their payment of dues to the national treasurer, Ray Bartholomew. Plus, if at all possible, we would like each state president or their representative to attend the State Presidents Meeting on Thursday night, March 7th in at the Zone C/D Meeting.
Also, if you have any questions you would like to have addressed to the National Office speakers, please forward them to me or Nathan Adams, Zone C Representative, or Matthew Christian, Zone D Representative.
I know the folks in Zone C and D are working hard to put on a great meeting for us. I would love to see lots of you there.
Please be in touch! Spring, you can come to my house any time you want!!!
It is not too early to begin making plans and mark your calendars to attend the 2019 National Convention.
June 22-27, 2019
Astor Crowne Plaza
New Orleans, Louisiana
The convention committee is putting together an event that will be great. There will be loads of interesting speakers and events that will definitely make it worth your time to attend.
Preliminary discussion is being done to determine if there would be an interest in organizing wellness sessions for members and guests in attendance. This would be in the format of fitness sessions that could include yoga, pilates, kickboxing, etc. If we have members interested in something like this, we would need to know a few things:
~ If you are interested, what is type of wellness would you most like to have offered?
~ Would you like the offering to be before the meetings start, i.e. at 6:00 a.m. - 6:45 a.m., or in the later afternoon, i.e. 30 minutes after the meetings end?
~ Do you have the skills to and willingness to lead one of the classes?
~ In lieu of an exercise type event, is there some other type of wellness session you would like, such as a nutrition specialist or registered dietitian?
Please respond to me or the NASE President, Beth Perkins
Usually by January 30th of each year, members would be busy making plans for travel to zone meetings. To say the least, 2019 has been different, unique, crazy, unpredictable. As I have told many, many members, we are traveling in uncharted waters.
During the time we were off for the shutdown, the NACS-FSA Board has been continually communicating with each other. We have thrown around several ideas and discussed each of them. We have asked members for their input.
It is with an extremely heavy heart that we need to announce that we will be cancelling the Zone A meeting planned for Las Cruces, NM and the Zone B meeting planned for Wichita, KS. With the timing and workload overflow from the just ended furlough and the uncertainty of another furlough possibly looming, along with the input from our members, it was decided that this one time action is necessary. Members will be receiving refunds of the registration funds they may have submitted for the meetings.
With every cloud comes a silver lining, right? There is good news that comes with this sad turn of events. First, we are planning on this being a one time only cancellation of these very important meetings. Second, each of the host states was able to have positive discussions with the host hotels and will bear no financial hardship because of the cancellation. Third, each of the host states - New Mexico and Kansas - are very willing and planning to host the zone meeting in 2020! This is so awesome! As always, we want members to address concerns to their Zone Representatives and to submit resolutions through the NACS-FSA website.
We want to encourage members to attend the combined Zone C and D meeting in Chattanooga, TN on March 7-9, 2019. At this time, we fully plan to have this meeting. So send in your registrations soon. Stay tuned and any updates will be posted to the NACS-FSA website.
Additionally, please mark your calendar now and plan to attend our national convention in New Orleans, LA on June 22-27, 2019. Since we won't see many faces at zone meetings, we definitely want to see you at the convention. Very soon we plan to post information about the convention on the website. Be sure to check it often!
Please know that the entire NACS-FSA Board did everything within its power to have the Zone A and B meetings. Doing this one time cancellation just made the most sense. If you have any questions, please contact any of us.
Based upon news reports, it appears that the President and Congress have reached an agreement to pass legislation that will re-open the government and keep agencies funded through February 15. While this is not a full appropriations measure, the Continuing Resolution is certainly good news for furloughed Federal employees.
In the Rose Garden address, the President said that Federal employees who have been without pay will be paid "quickly or very soon". This is also great news. Mr. Trump praised employees for their dedication. Please know that NACS-FSA will continue to watch this situation.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Have a great weekend.
The Presidents and Vice Presidents of the employee organizations (NACS-FSA, NADD, NASE, NAOFEC, and NASCOE) were on a conference call with the Administrator and his staff from the National Office late this afternoon (January 22, 2019). We were updated on the call back of FSA employees to provide program services to our customers.
We were told that FSA employees were changed from a "non-excepted" status to "excepted on call" status under the guidance of OMB to provide available program funding to our customer. This work was determined to be necessary to avoid an impact to the producers and maintain the integrity of the program while protecting government assets and property. For those employees who have chosen to seek unemployment compensation during this period, the National Office is having more calls tomorrow to see how this call back may or may not affect this benefit.
The news release has been issued by the Secretary's Office to notify producers that our offices will be open to provide greater, yet still limited, services. We were told that support services would be available to us through the Business Center, National Finance Office, and KCMO. However, the services of OCIO/CTS were a bit uncertain.
I specifically commented that FSA employees are dedicated to providing service to our customer but this call back to work without pay was creating an undue hardship on many of our employees in the form of commuting costs, day care, and routine work related costs. I truly believe that Mr. Fordyce recognizes the strain this is creating and the sacrifice employees are making and he is directing state offices to provide guidance to local managers to be as flexible as possible during this period. He stated that, while employees are needed at work to provide coverage in the offices, no employees can be charged to take leave during this furlough period if they have appointments or schedule conflicts that will cause them to be away from the office.
As I have said before, I fully recognize and appreciate your hard work and dedication. LeAnn and I voiced our concerns and will always be your advocate. This is not great for anyone and know that we are in your corner. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Let me begin by giving each of you a HUGE thank you!!!! Your willingness to come in for the past couple of days and into next week is such a testament to your commitment to rural America. You should all be very proud of yourselves and your staff. I know that I am very proud to be a part of this selfless group of employees.
OK - so what do we know? At this point, not much more than you can read in the paper or see on TV or the internet. We are entering week 5 of shutdown and the best news that we have is that legislation has been signed that will provide us with back pay when we do return to work. If there is other news coming from USDA sources, we have not been included in the correspondence.
Please be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page. Our media group is keeping it as updated as possible with the latest reliable information when we know it. While we want to provide as much as we can, we are going to be absolutely sure it is reliable, certain, and truthful before we post it. .
Be assured also that our Legislative Committee has their ear to the ground on this and will post information as soon as they know it or can confirm it.
Thanks again for all that you do. As always, please reach out to me with any thoughts or questions.
Patience. Patience. Patience.
As we enter into the start of the third week of the government shutdown, we have all had patience in one form or another. Let us hope that the Democratic process plays out quickly so we can get back to the business of serving America's farmers and ranchers.
Business Item #1
Get registered to attend a zone meeting. If the meeting in your area does not fit your schedule, consider a new adventure and attend elsewhere. I will be at all three meetings and look forward to see lots of faces - new and old.
Business Item #2
If your state is not current on your dues, please submit them to the Treasurer. Each state president or their representative is eligible for some reimbursement to attend the zone meeting but your state must be current on dues to receive it.
Business Item #3
Submit resolutions. Simple. Let's work to make our programs better.
As always, please reach out to me with any thoughts or questions. It continues to be my honor to serve you.
We are beginning to gear up for the full swing of loan season which we know will probably be busier and more challenging than last year. Add the holidays and the end of year use or lose annual leave time off and we know everyone will be going full gear.
Denise is a Farm Loan Manager from Nebraska. She was elected NACS President at the June 2018 Convention.