Ag society executive happy about 2014, excited for 2015

There was a small crowd of people that attended the Ponoka Agricultural Society (PAS) annual general meeting

There was a small crowd of people that attended the Ponoka Agricultural Society (PAS) annual general meeting Monday, Jan. 5 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

Taking the position of president for a second year will be Lauraine Weir, who said she is pleased with the many events the association organized in 2014.

One of the most exciting moments for her was meeting with Victor Moisan, of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit in 2014. With guidance from Moisan, members of PAS looked at all the work they had done over the years.

“The number of things that we did in 2014, which in some ways were more than we had done in previous years,” said Weir.

Small events such as promoting Winter Walk at the ag event centre barn with Family and Community Support Services and helping out with the Empty Bowls fundraiser helped promote rural and farm living, a mandate of PAS.

“We had big things like our women’s conference. It was really well received, it was really well done,” said Weir. “It was the first one in a long time.”

The ATV Safety course was another exciting event for PAS that sold out relatively quick. Forty youths attended with others being waitlisted, wishing they had signed up sooner. Each attendee received a new ATV helmet, said Weir.

“We used grant money and we threw money at it as well,” said Weir.

The society gives out two academic scholarships to any Grade 12 student going into an agriculture related field. Weir says they only handed out one of two scholarships in 2014 and she encourages graduating students looking for help with their education to apply.

One new executive director for PAS

Executives for the association are Lauraine Weir as president, Linc Drynan as vice-president, Cecilia Dykstra as treasurer and Leslie Pohl as secretary. Directors are Dan Dixon, Ken and Verna Pohl, Sherry Gummow, Dennis Ecklund, Inger Laing, Trish Friis and recent appointee to the board, Joyce Winter.

Weir suggests anyone interesting in learning more about being a board member could find some reward in the position. “That sense of giving back to your community and making a difference” is how she describes the promised reward.

“Just doing the little things that make things work in the community,” she added.

She says even taking a little time to help out with a project or an event benefits the society’s long-term goals.

“When you go to conventions, you’re always hearing rural Alberta is dying,” said Weir.

By putting in efforts to work with groups like the agricultural society, small rural communities see growth and renewal. “It gets you out. You get to see different things.”

For 2015 Weir is excited that PAS will host another women’s conference and she is considering the potential of another ATV safety course. “We had 10 or 15 kids in the waiting list. The interest is there and the demand is there.”

Other events such as the ag fair and the Home, Hobby and Horticultural Show saw growth in entries. While some of the attendance may be down for the horticultural show, entries in 2014 increased by 30 per cent over 2013. Both events are expected to continue into 2015.

“We are probably by far the best in the province,” said Weir of the horticultural show.

She says sponsors are always excited by what they see at that show.