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Ag society feeling the economic pinch

Ponoka Agricultural Society host annual meeting, declares small deficit

For years, there have been some generous surpluses at the Ponoka Agricultural Society.

However, with the downturn in Alberta’s economy, the society has also taken a hit to the tune of $24,000.

That deficit, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, was presented at the society’s annual general meeting held Dec. 5 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

Members in attendance also heard that, overall, the society had actually generated a $148,000 surplus. However, the decision earlier this year to provide financial support of $250,000 to the Ag Event Centre’s third phase expansion project saw that evaporate. The majority of the support has been turned over, while $50,000 remains with the society as a GIC and will be handed over when the project breaks ground.

Society president Linc Drynan explained much of the deficit was a result of a rather surprisingly unsuccessful Gold Buckle Rodeo.

“There was some trouble with getting things for that event, and while we hoped it would work out, it just didn’t pan out,” he said in a brief interview following the meeting.

“We’ve decided now that we won’t be holding that event next year, but are hoping to attract the FCA (Foothills Cowboy Association) Rodeo finals for that same time of year.”

The Gold Buckle lost $26,000, while revenue overall was down slightly by about $6,000 expenses were also down from the previous fiscal year by around $14,000. The differences, and the deficit, come from the payments made to the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society, which is a separate entity that operates the Calnash Ag Event Centre and is run by a board made up of members from the ag society, the Ponoka Stampede board and both the town and county of Ponoka.

“The society and the ag event centre continue to do extremely well, considering the present economy. We are lucky that we are not solely relying on sponsors, because that has dropped 30 to 40 per cent,” Drynan stated.

“If the Festival of Trees can do what they have done, we know Ponoka will come through. Friends always help friends when the going gets tough and we know that support will be there.

“The Ponoka Ag Society depends completely on the volunteers that share freely of their time and it’s because of them that we are able to hold as many events as we do.”

Drynan thanked the board for their patience and help as him and a new administrative assistant had to learn on the fly after filling in following some resignations late in 2015.

New board

While Drynan remains as president, three new people were acclaimed as board members. Lori Fairbrother, Kerry Stevens and Carmen Dutka join the board with Fairbrother joining the executive as the new secretary. Doug Hosler was also named vice-president with Joyce Winter taking on the role of treasurer. The rest of the board consists of Cec Dykstra, Trevor Hook, Nathan Stone, Dennis Ecklund and Ken Pohl.

However, the society is still searching to fill one spot on the board. If anyone is interested, they can contact the society via email at pas@ponokaagsociety.ca.