Ag society finances assessed stable during AGM

Volunteers of the Ponoka Agricultural Society were all smiles after being treated to a thank you dinner

Volunteers of the Ponoka Agricultural Society were all smiles after being treated to a thank you dinner during the association’s annual general meeting (AGM), where the management received a pat in the back.

President Sherry Gummow feels the volunteers are what make hosting events possible and the Nov. 25 AGM was one of the ways the society showed its appreciation. This also gave directors a chance to let people know of plans for the Ag Fair.

Splitting the Home, Hobby and Horticulture Show and the Ag Fair locations this year proved to be something event organizers received positive feedback on. The bench show was hosted at the Legion and the fair at the Calnash Ag Event Centre to allow more space for exhibits. Directors on the ag society board have decided to continue with that trend by separating the dates as well; the horticulture show is set for Aug. 22 and the Ag Fair for Sept. 6.

“I guess we’ve tried to increase attendance. We’ve added events, we’ve decreased events. I guess we’ve done a whole bunch of different things,” explained Gummow.

“We’re working on that to see if we can get more people out to it,” she added.

Hosting the fair after the Labour Day long weekend might mean more people are in town and the ag society wants to capitalize on that for the Ag Fair.

“It’s been a huge expense so we’re trying to use our dollars better,” said Gummow.

The AGM is also a time to present the society’s finances

While the current cash flow sits at $65,565, there is accounts receivable of $65,408, explained treasurer Cec Dykstra, after hosting an event Sept. 29. “So we haven’t got the payment from that event we hosted.”

The ag society was paid a week later after the financial statements were reviewed, she added.

Revenues from Black Elk cutting events and cattle penning are the largest earners at $207,690 and $104,822 respectively. However, expenses for the two events are also high at $203,370 for Black Elk cutting and $101,914 for cattle penning.

The ag society also received $57,871 from government grants for hosting events.

A review of the society’s finances was conducted by Rowland, Parker and Associates and the agency stated that “nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that these financial statements are not, in all material aspects, in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations.”

The Ponoka Agricultural Society has added some expenses this year with the need for office space and supplies and the 2014 budget has reflected the change, said Gummow.

She presented the proposed income of $407,500, with the cutting event bringing in almost half the amount at $200,000, but expenses are forecast at $195,000 for the event.

The ag society forecast $376,500 in expenses leaving them with $31,000 net profit. Gummow feels it is better to set a goal to either break even or have a little left over.

“If someone wins a $1 million and gives it to us, things will be looking a whole lot better,” she joked.

A capital purchase of $15,000 is going to pay for a sorting chute that the society uses during penning and cutting events at the ag event centre. Gummow says not only does the piece of equipment make marking cattle faster but also safer for those marking the animals.

One member was recognized for many years of service: Marion Hoar received a lifetime membership to the ag society after providing more than 35 years of service. Because of her effort and dedication, Hoar never has to pay for an ag society membership.

“There comes a point in time where you don’t have to pay $5,” stated Gummow.

Changes in directors

After six years as a director with the society, Greg Bowie has stepped down to focus on his consultancy work. He is also on the executive of the Alberta Beef Producers, Bowie said in his last report. “It has been my pleasure to be on the board and to work with a group as committed to the agriculture sector.”

Bowie was also a member of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS) as part of being a director. The society will be nominating a new director from the Ponoka Agricultural Society to take his place.