Board of Directors Meeting, July 25, 2010

Board Meeting

St. Paul, Minn.

July 25, 2010


Board:  Karen Simon, Steve Fairchild, Angela Jamison, Holly Spangler, Linda Smith, Steve Werblow, Greg Horstmeier, Holly Martin, Jamie Cole

Incoming board members:  Jodie Wehrspann

Committee Chairs/Other:  Jack Pitzer, Marilyn Cummins, Gregg Hillyer, Larry Dreiling

Staff:  Den Gardner, Kenna Rathai

Board Members Not Attending: Mark Moore

Karen Simon called the meeting to order at 8:01 a.m.

Minutes from the March 2010 board meeting were presented. Greg Horstmeier moved to approve the minutes; Fairchild seconded. Motion carried.


Den Gardner reviewed the provided report including financial report, 2010 budget and 2011 estimated budget.

Financials are in excellent shape, AAEA has nearly $100,000 in reserves, some in a money market so it is available to be used for special projects.

Ag Media Summit, LLC, has fully funded its reserve, so we aren’t required to put additional dollars into the reserve from the profits of AMS this year in St. Paul.

In the 2011 budget, corporate sponsorships have increased due to the directory ads and because we estimate existing sponsors will continue. The IFAJ travel budget for the AAEA president increased so we can send Holly Martin to Canada, Sept 2011. She was unable to attend in 2010 because of a death in the family.

Fairchild moved to approve the 2011 budget. Linda Smith seconded. Motion carried.


Karen Simon reported that everything is in order. Karen and Steve Fairchild are now getting the investment reports, which will now be handed to Steve and Greg Horstmeier.


Den reported based on provided report. We are just short of reaching 400 paid members. The new ACT program will bring us to 410 – ACT national officers and student chapter presidents, will automatically be student members of AAEA.

The goal for our 100th anniversary is to reach 500 members, we won’t have an annual goal each year leading up to this. Previously, the board had approved an increase in dues for 2011plus to continue the opt-out $10 PIF contribution.


Steve Fairchild reported and provided the new 5-year strategic plan. Next steps on the plan are:

  • Obtain board approval
  • Set timing goals for tactics - due by the fall board conference call
  • Greg Horstmeier to work with advisory council to assign committee responsibilities, etc.
  • Greg as president-elect to be steward of strategic plan and report progress to board at each board meeting


Holly Martin moved to approve the strategic plan, Jamie Cole seconded.

Discussion:  AAEA needs a brand, which is discussed in the marketing plan development portion of the strategic plan. A potential name change will not be taken lightly. We struggle with re-engaging past board members and committee chairs.

Vote was taken, motion carried.


Angela Bendorf Jamison reported and provided copies of the 13 ethics case studies completed by Anna Ziegler, a graduate of the University of Illinois. The case studies outline hypothetical situations and include discussion guides. These will benefit both actives and affiliates and brings our code of ethics to life.

Discussion followed about how we can promote this so it doesn’t just sit on the website – through IFAJ members, personal notes to non-members, ByLine articles, program at 2011 AMS, etc.

Cynthia Clanton is nominated as new affiliate rep on the AAEA board; Heidi Nelson new member on the committee


Kenna reported, encouraged everyone to submit ideas and articles for the new social media series. The ByLine will have a new format once the website is up and running, but the content will be consistent.


Gil Gullickson reported that PIF is healthy and has available funds to use, help spread the word they are available. New trustees confirmed. See business meeting notes for further info.


Mindy Williamson provided a report. Scholarship application process to move to fall. Committee to discuss raising the amount of the scholarship. This committee will now handle the Alltech Young Leaders Award application process on behalf of AAEA.


Gregg Hillyer reported that 11 out of 15 AAEA members scheduled, actually made it to IFAJ Congress in Belgium. Mike Wilson was re-elected for a second, 2-year term as president. The IFAJ website will be upgraded with enhancements and IFAJ will soon start a farm safety initiative.

The stipend application process to attend IFAJ will be enhanced to include not just an essay, but also involvement in AAEA and if they’ve attended in the past. Seven stipends will be approved for Canada. Future dates include Sweden 2012 and Argentina 2013.


Linda Smith reported and provided a report. The two Webinars this year were successful. Farm Journal has agreed to continue to host them for no charge and provide on-staff assistance. Linda to ask for analytics on how many people have downloaded the archived Webinars.


Marilyn Cummins reported. Online payments were accepted this year – discussion followed on accepting American Express (haven’t done so because of the high surcharge). Steve Werblow moved to expand our services to members and accept AmEx as a payment option (for membership and awards). Jamie Cole seconded. Motion carried.

Committees working on audio/visual, online categories for photo, writing. There should be a sub-committee to review awards cross-category. Steve Fairchild moved to charge the advisory council with creating a sub-committee of awards chairs and others to give us quick direction on new media for the 2011 awards program. Greg Horstmeier seconded. Motion carried. Agreement, rules and procedures to be in place by fall conference call.

The group agreed that $5 per entry is too low for photography contest. However, it was decided to leave fees as-is for now since we are increasing dues and this is a decision for the Photo Awards Committee regarding any recommendation for an increase.

Work on photography code of ethics will continue after AMS.


Larry Dreiling reported and provided a report. Group is finalizing paperwork to catalog and move items. We may ask for an additional PIF grant for travel expenses to shepherd that process. Larry encouraged presidents to keep copies of things that happen during their presidency. Group to develop morgue of ByLines. Larry to continue to chair the committee.


Holly reported and reviewed the slate of nominations:  Greg Horstmeier for president-elect; Laurie Potter to replace him on the board. Jeanne Bernick and Jodie Wehrspann to be nominated for the board.

Discussion followed that the affiliate rep should fall under the nominating committee’s responsibilities, with search assistance from current rep. Angela moved that starting after this year the affiliate board position is selected by the nominating committee with the counsel of the current affiliate board member. Holly Martin seconded. Motion carried.


Greg Horstmeier reported, and will work to get an ethics topic on AMS 2011 program.


We met sponsorship goals, received $176,000 in cash and in-kind. We surpassed registration revenue goals. Willie Vogt to be new sponsorship chair. Holly Martin reviewed goals for the AAEA booth in InfoExpo.


All sponsors have returned from last year. It will be discussed on how to incorporate sponsors into a new ByLine format, other ideas for website.


Jamie Cole reported on the digital task force, new website showcased in InfoExpo. Staff training on Aug. 9.


  • Spring board meeting – location and timing was discussed. We may return to holding this prior to the spring NAMA conference to support NAMA and make it convenient for cross-over members. Board dinner would be April 11, board meeting would be morning of April 12, AMS committee afternoon of April 12.
  • AMS meetings policy – It was brought up that some non-exhibitors were scheduling meetings with editors during InfoExpo or other AMS times. We will review our policies at the fall AMS meeting, promote the professional way of doing business at AMS, have personal conversations with repeat “offenders”, consider opening up media room sponsorship to companies who don’t or can’t afford to exhibit, give talking points to managing editors to disseminate to staff, affiliate articles, etc. Is there a way to consolidate the sponsor e-blasts?
  • Quorum – Den Gardner to write up an amendment for the AAEA Constitution and send to board for approval.
  • Management bonus – Greg Horstmeier motioned to accept the recommendation of providing an 8 percent management team bonus. Linda Smith seconded. Motion approved.


Steve Fairchild made motion to adjourn, Holly Spangler seconded. Motion carried and meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

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