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Association for Temperate Agroforestry (AFTA) Board of Directors Meeting

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Conference Call from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm Central Time


Board Members Present: Diomy Zamora (President), Mike Jacobson (Past-President), David Smith, Badege Bishaw, Maren Oelbermann (Secretary), Tyler Carlson, , Raju Soolanayakanahally, Rich Straight (Treasurer), Dean Current


Regrets: Deborah Hill, Lisa Zabek, Ranjith Udawatta, Dirk Freese, John Munsell, John Kort (retired board member; Temperate Agroforester Editor), Gary Wyatt


Invited Guests: Bruce White (National Agroforestry Center), Jeri Neal (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)


EURAF Representative:  Dirk Freese


Web Assistant: Kyle Kovach


Recording Secretary:  Maren Oelbermann


1.     Call to Order:  Diomy Zamora called the meeting to order at 2:03 pm and asked for approval of the agenda for today’s meeting. Maren Oelbermann moved the approval of the agenda, which was seconded by Badege Bishaw, and approved by the entire board of directors.


2.     Approval of Previous Minutes: 

·             Maren Oelbermann presented the minutes of the last Board of Directors meeting held via conference call on April 14h, 2014. Richard Straight motioned to approve these minutes, Raju Soolanayakanahally seconded the motion.  The motion was carried. 


3.     Treasurer’s Report:  Was presented Rich Straight













·             Maren Oelbermann motioned to accept the budget of the treasurer’s report. Raju Soolanayakanahally seconded the motion. The motion was carried.


4.     AFTA 2015 Meeting Update

·             Bruce White and Jeri Neal provided an update from the AFTA 2015 organizing committee.

·             The meeting will be held May 31st to June 3rd, 2015 in Ames Iowa.

·             The venue will be at the Holiday Inn Conference Centre in addition to other hotel options nearby the Holiday Inn.

·             Information for transportation and meal costs are still being determined but so far it looks like the registration cost would be ~$200/person. The organizing committee is looking for sponsors to reduce the cost of registration. The cost of the hotel will be ~$100/person/night.

·             A call for papers/abstract will be issued in September 2014 and will close in December 2014 or late January 2015 for poster and oral presentations.

·             Abstract acceptance is expected to occur in mid-March 2015 at which time online registration will be available.  However, the organizing committee suggested that online registration could be available as soon as all cost details have been worked out.

·             The planning committee is looking for Plenary Speakers. The board also suggested to have a Canadian Plenary Speaker. Raju Soolanayakanahally will look into this.

·             The theme of the conference is “Beyond the Horizon – Agoforestry in the Midwest

·             There was a lengthy discussion on the organization of the conference with respect to themes to focus on in addition to the 5 themes of agroforestry (riparian forest buffers, alley cropping, silvopasture, windbreaks and forest farming). Bruce suggested that there may be an interest in water quality (under the riparian buffer theme) as this plays a large and important role in Iowa.

·             Raju Soolanayakanahally suggested that agroforestry and climate change should be considered as an additional theme

·             Bruce White suggested that the organizing committee is thinking of exchanging the pre-conference tour with an advanced training workshop on agroforestry. There would be two to three different training themes.

·             Dean Current suggested that adoption of agroforestry seems to be a continual issue and a working group could be established or this could be one of the advanced training workshops.

o   This could be followed-up with or based on a land owner panel which is scheduled for the Wednesday morning of the conference

o   Bruce suggested that this could be turned into an adoption forum to which prominent land owners would be invited. The landowners would be compensated for their travel costs and time.

·             Concern was raised that there is not a lot of cross-reference between the groups at the AFTA conferences e.g. the riparian researchers does not interact/connect with the silvopastoral researchers

·             Raju Soolanayakanahally suggested that the conference should take place in the form of a panel discussion rather than presenters answering questions from the audience after each presentation.

o   Mike Jacobson suggested to reduce the presentation time to 10 minutes which would allow more oral presentations to be accepted.

o   Mike Jacobson also suggested that clear guidelines and specifics for abstract submission should be available.

o   He also suggested another format for presentations may be a possibility, pointing to Raju Soolanayakanahally idea of the panel discussion.

·              Rich Straight will be the liaison between the AFTA board and the conference organizing committee. The entire board agreed to this.

·             The question was raised if AFTA could financially support the conference. This would help for the deposits for reservations etc.

o   Mike Jacobson pointed out that or the 2013 PEI conference the board agreed to provide $2,000 which was not needed in the end because the conference was in surplus whereas the 2011 conference in Georgia had a shortfall and the AFTA board provided $2,500.

o   Dean Current motioned that the AFTA board could provide $2000 in advance for the conference organization committee and that this fund will be returned to the AFTA board after the conference. This motioned was seconded by Raju Soolanayakanahally. The entire board was in favour of this motion.

5.     Membership and Website

·             We currently have a total of 215 members of which 109 members are active and 106 expired memberships. Some board members have not yet renewed their membership.

·             David Smith reported that the new website is up-and-running. All information was transferred to the new website including members.  All members were informed of this move.

·             An announcement about membership, membership renewal, changes to membership and new website will be announced in the next Temperate Agroforester.

·             Members will receive an email 15 and 2 days prior to the expiration of their membership reminding them to renew.


  1. EURAF

·                 Dirk Freese was not able to attend today’s meeting.

·                 There were a total of 4 AFTA members present at the EURAF conference.

·                 The EURAF conference was attended by almost all European countries with a total of 150 participants.

·                 EURAF is trying to keep moving forward; they have a variety of members working on different aspects including collaboration with researchers from various European countries.

·                 Rosa Mario from Spain is the new President of EURAF.


7.     AFTA Logo

·             Dave Smith reported that the existing AFTA logo is outdated.

·             The logo was last updated in 1999/2000

·             The website committee would like to update the logo via a graphic designer. The committee will look into how much this would cost and then report back to the board.


  1. Adjournment of Meeting

·             Raju Soolanayakanahally motioned to adjourn this board meeting. This motion was seconded by Maren Oelbermann. The motion was carried.


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