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MACD President’s Mid-Year Letter

Montana Association of Conservation Districts Letterhead. We're Growing Montana's Future.

July 13, 2020

Dear District Administrators and Supervisors,

The State of your Montana Association of Conservation Districts is strong, in large part because of the involvement of Supervisors, Associates and Administrators from across the State, SWCDM Staff stepping up and going the extra mile and DNRC’s and NRCS’s high level of interest in keeping Conservation Districts and MACD up and running. Yes, it is true MACD is without an executive director, yes it is true we have experienced many bumps in the road because of COVID-19 and yes it is true we have more unknowns that will need to be worked through before the year is out. At the August Board meeting, a decision will be made regarding virtual area meetings and the November convention.

Following is a list of MACD related activities for the first 6 months of this unusual year. On the last page is a list of individuals, by team or activity and their Conservation Districts.

  1. The District Operations standing committee was assigned the task of revising and updating the resolution process which has been approved by the MACD Board. This revision includes pushing back area meetings to late September and early October. See the MACD web site for these dates.
  2. The Education standing committee was assigned and has been working to bring leadership training to area meetings. In addition, the education committee is reminding us about the 10 minute training modules that have been developed by DNRC, managing the award of our annual MACD scholarship, creating a public relations outreach program for CD’s to use in their districts and creating a schedule of educational opportunities for 2020.
  3. The Water Resources standing committee was assigned and has responded to a request from the Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) regarding their study of the future of the Water Court. In addition, the Water Policy committee has taken a lead role in the State, advocating for proactive repairs of the St. Mary’s diversion/Milk River irrigation project. Both MACD positions were approved by your MACD Board. See the MACD web site for a copy of both documents.
  4. The Soil Resource and Land use standing committee has not received assignments at this time, but has indicated a high level of interest in work on a project, especially as we move into the fall.
  5. A “Merger” study ad hoc team was formed in January and has completed their work. Your MACD Board has approved their recommendations and will be working towards a decision to be made by 58 conservations districts at convention. See the MACD web site for the final report.
  6. MACD representatives attended the NACD convention and lobbied to have NACD adopt resolutions that were passed at the 2019 convention. Resolutions are posted on the MACD web site.
  7. An ad hoc search team was formed in February to begin the process of screening Executive Director applicants and forwarding viable candidates to the MACD Board for consideration.
  8. A Bylaws revision ad hoc team was formed in February to update the current bylaws in preparation for the possibility of a merged set of new bylaws for a single organization, all to be reviewed and decided by 58 conservation districts at convention.
  9. A Legislative committee ad hoc team was formed in March and a lobbying contract with Jeff Tiberi, a retired and repurposed MACD executive director was signed in June.
  10. Conservation Districts did not have representation at NRCS State Technical Advisory meetings. Full representation is now in place. 
  11. A personnel committee was formed in January to set goals and objectives for key staff, to monitor performance and to act as a confidential place to go for grievances.
  12. Two new ad hoc committees were formed at the June Board meeting in Helena. The Strategic Framework ad hoc committee will create a merged set of bylaws and the Merger Plan ad hoc committee will identify the steps required to bring the two entities together. Committee members have volunteered, but the door is not closed. If anyone would like to get involved, please contact Jim Simpson or Stephanie Adams.

We have many other supervisors and Administrators representing their CD’s and areas at the river basin level, at CMR management meetings, at American Prairie Reserve meetings, managing AIS check stations and, well the list is long, and the work that CD’s are doing at the local level for conservation is very long.

The state or your association is strong because of your involvement, and without your involvement and financial support, your association would not exist. 

Thank you,


Jim Simpson

MACD President


  1. District Operations – Pat Anderson (Phillips CD) Chair, Steve Hertel (Fergus CD), Judi Knapp (Treasure CD),  Dean Rogge (Garfield CD), and Pete Woll (Flathead CD)
  2. Education – Elisha Dempsey (Toole CD) Chair, Bill Naegeli (Green Mountain CD), Rick VanDyken (Broadwater CD), Bob Peterman (Wibaux CD), Pam Ligget (Lower Musselshell CD), Tony Barone (Richland CD), Greg Jergeson ( Blaine CD), Chris Evans (Lewis & Clark CD), Katie Mumford (Broadwater CD), Laurie Zeller (DNRC), Melissa Downing (MACD).
  3. Water Resources – Pat Riley (Lower Musselshell CD) Chair, Gary Giem (Ruby Valley CD), Curt Rosman (Lake CD), John Anderson (Ruby Valley CD), Dan Young (Richland CD, Dean Sirucek (Flathead CD), Steve Schanaman (Big Horn CD), Willie Bernard (Daniels CD), Shirley Parrot (Lower Musselshell CD), Jeff Wivholm (Sheridan CD).
  4. Soil Resources and Land Use – Steve Tyrell (Lower Musselshell CD) Chair, Steve Hedstrom (Judith Basin CD), Mike Hansen (Gallatin CD), Herb Argabright (Broadwater CD), Roddy Rost (Little Beaver CD).
  5. Merger Study ad hoc – Gayla Wortman Oehmcke (Cascade CD) Chair, Bob Peterman (Wibaux CD), Gary Giem (Ruby CD), Roger Hybner (Carbon CD), John Anderson (Ruby Valley CD), Dean Rogge (Garfield CD), Mark Suta (Glacier CD).
  6. NACD Representation– Steve Hedstrom (Judith Basin CD), Dean Rogge (Garfield CD)
  7. Search Team – Jim Simpson (Lake CD), Gayla Wortman Oehmcke (Cascade CD), Dean Rogge (Garfield CD), Laurie Zeller (DNRC), Tom Watson (NRCS)
  8. Bylaws – Jeff Tiberi (team leader), Mike Hansen (Gallatin CD), Steve Hedstrom (Judith Basin CD), Hal DeBoer (Phillips CD), Doug Hitch (Judith Basin CD), Pete Heryford (Cascade), Dan Young (Richland CD).
  9. Legislative – Jeff Tiberi (lobbyist/team leader), Greg Jergeson(Blaine CD), Dean Rogge (Garfield), Pat Riley (Lower Mussellshell CD), Steve Schanaman (Big Horn CD), Bob Peterman (Wibaux CD), Jim Simpson (Lake CD), Jeff Pattison (Valley CD)
  10. MACD Reps to NACD State Tech advisory – Dean Rogge (Garfield), Willie Bernard (Daniels CD), Mike Hansen (Gallatin CD)
  11. Personnel committee – Jim Simpson (Lake CD), Roddy Rost (Little Beaver CD), Dean Rogge (Garfield CD)
  12. Your MACD Board – Jim Simpson (Lake CD) President, Dean Rogge (Garfield CD) Vice President,  Gary Giem (Ruby Valley CD) Treasurer, Willie Bernard (Daniels CD) Jeff Wivholm (Sheridan CD), Tony Barone (Richland CD), Roddy Rost (Little Beaver CD), Bob Peterman (Wibaux CD), Steve Hertel (Fergus CD), Gayla Wortman Oehmcke (Cascade CD), Mark Suta (Glacier CD), Don Youngbauer (Rosebud CD), Judie Knapp (Treasur CD), Steve Schanaman (Big Horn CD), Bill Nageli (Green Mountain CD), Mike Hansen (Gallatin CD), Rick Vandyken (Broadwater CD), 


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