FLATHEAD LAKE CHERRY GROWERS, INC.
MINUTES – REGULAR MEETING OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 – 7 p.m.
Directors present: Mike Bonner, Bruce Johnson, Rod McRae, John Nasgovitz, Mark St. Sauver
Absent: Henry Hooker, Mitch Jones, Ward Marshall, Brian Peterson
Guest: Brian Campbell
Meeting recorded by Barbara Hammons
Meeting held at Hammons’ residence
Rod called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Minutes for the meeting held July 20, 2022, were approved.
Checking account balance as of 9/21/22: $57,036.43
(Of this balance, $12,785.75 is culls payment from TT and will be distributed to members.)
Actual balance available to FLCG: $44,250.68
WFCU balances: Regular account $5,643.33
TT security deposit $5,270.76
Budget update Jan–Aug 2022 distributed.
Payment for culls from three other buyers will be coming as soon as trucking costs, if any, are forwarded from Monson.
Brian C. – crop review. Brian commented that it turned out better than expected, and that it was an uneventful year with no complaints. Two violators of the 80% rule were discussed but since both have a significant number of Lamberts, no action will be taken as growers are not required to deliver Lamberts. A question came up with one orchard who was on the schedule to pick but couldn’t because pickers were on loan to another orchard who was not scheduled to pick for the co-op.
Brian explained that trucks are closely scheduled to immediately return with a full load to avoid the expense of having a trucker spend the night. Directors agreed the importance of truck scheduling will be a subject for the next preharvest meeting to be sure growers understand why they must pick as scheduled. Brian noted that 110 bins equal a truck load. Rod will talk to the growers involved.
Rod – Mission Valley Power Charge – billing is higher due to a reactive power charge now being assessed. Rod will discuss the charge with MVP.
Bruce – Drone demonstration review. Bruce reported that the drying demonstration was accomplished by Bill Webster thoroughly wetting down a portion of his orchard. The drone dried one-half acre on one battery in 8 minutes. The demo truck had two generators and 8 batteries charged or charging. So, 4 acres could be dried in one hour using the 8 batteries. For drying, the drone tank is weighted down half-full for control. The drone has a camera and slows down when it perceives a barrier. The extent of the actual drying was comparable to what the helicopter did. The drone cost is around $35,000; the additional items (generators, batteries, etc.) would bring the total cost to $50-60,000. Discussion followed on ways the drone might or might not work in its present configuration for drying and spraying cherry orchards, taking into account the tall trees and canopies. Full coverage is questionable, as is the practicality and cost of the unit. Directors suggested there is a potential for the drone use, especially for some crops and certain pruning systems, but in its present form it doesn’t appear a good fit overall for cherry orchards. Desirae had been invited to visit the board again when she had more information and will be welcome to do so.
Mark – FSMA audit – Mark reported on a FSMA audit during picking. Their main issue seemed to be the dirty bins, buckets or boxes.
Rod – Fruit Fly Orchards – Rod reported that he turned in two orchards (non-members) with fruit fly problems that are not being addressed.
Bruce – Bears shot in orchard – Bruce explained who and what happened in a neighbor’s orchard. The incident took place in the Pinkerman orchard; not a co-op member. The co-op received four complaints from the public erroneously blaming FLCG for the incident.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40.
Next meeting October 19, 2022.