Following some recent resignations and the elections during its annual general meeting, the Ponoka Agricultural Society has a new board and executive heading into 2020.
About 40 members attended the AGM, held Jan. 13 at Hudson Green, which also included reviewing the minutes of the 2018 AGM, the presentation of 2019 financial statements and some other items of business.
PAS secretary Lauraine Weir and interim president Shanon Archibald lead the meeting.
The board and executive looked a little different at the meeting with some changes since the last AGM.
Archibald responded that former president Sherry Gummow had resigned after the last board meeting on Jan. 6 for “reasons of her own,” when asked by PAS member Karen Douglass.
Following Gummow’s resignation, board member Doug Hart also handed in his resignation for “personal reasons,” says Archibald.
Former board members George Uebelhardt and Teresa Abt had resigned during the past year, for personal reasons, and for health reasons, respectively.
The evening started with six board positions open and ended with a full slate of directors, seemingly bringing a new and positive vision to the society.
The board nominations were Lyle Reid, Jolynn Pugh, Joanne Volk, Dale Olsen, Miles Crandall, Willie Klimec and Terry Flaman. All were elected except for Flaman.
Reid has been a volunteer for PAS since 2012 and is a director and president of the Black Elk Committee. He has experience in ranching and the oil industry and says he wants to help bring clarity about Black Elk Cutting to the board and help “bridge the gap” with the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS).
Pugh replaced Abt on the board last year, is part of a 100-year plus farming family and has lived in the county for 16 years.
Volk was born and raised on an acreage 10 km northwest of town and worked in finance as a collector of delinquent loans for AOC. She retired in 2007 and has been a member of PAS for 10 years.
Olsen has been on the Ponoka Stampede Association board for 25 years and was part of the grass roots group that planned and built the Calnash Ag Event Centre, and is also on the board for the JJ Collett Provincial Natural Area Foundation.
Crandall is a fifth generation in agriculture and has experience as a board member on the Alberta Cattle Feeders Board and a national director for high school rodeo for 10 years. He has travelled western Canada for 15 years with a pharmaceutical company.
He says it takes a certain amount of tenacity and being thick-skinned for ag societies to survive.
“I’m certainly not a silver bullet but I think I can help.”
Klimec says the society had a “trying year” but it’s getting better. He says PAS’s lease agreement being in jeopardy is why he joined the board and that he would enjoy staying.
The full board is now Archibald, Klimec, Doug Hosler, Pugh, Joyce Winter, Reid, Crandall and Darren Schwieger (who was absent from the meeting).
Tammy Henkelman and Doug Hosler were nominated for president and Henkelman won.
Olsen became vice president, beating out Archibald and Hosler.
Weir retained her position as Secretary by acclamation, and Volk is the treasurer by acclamation.
A portion of the meeting was open to members to ask questions and address the board with any issues they wanted to discuss.
Member Terry Jones asked the board to move forward with the Black Elk Cutting, as it’s good income that the society will need and asked them to meet with MLA Ron Orr about the Energy Efficiency Grant, to use the funds before the deadline so they won’t have to be returned to the government.
“I’d like to ask again that they make that commitment to meet with the government,” he said.
Douglass asked her question about the change in the executive, as well why there is now a need for a paid, contracted bookkeeper when there hasn’t been one before.
The PAS currently has a contracted bookkeeper, Cec Dykstra, and had an administrative assistant in 2019.
Weir answered there is now a paid bookkeeper because there is more work than a treasurer can do.
Winter says that Dykstra donated three years of bookkeeping time as a director and has just been paid for the last year, after she was no longer a director.
Dykstra was then hired by the board on a contract basis.
“It’s a hard job for someone to do on a volunteer basis,” said Winter.
Review engagement versus audit
The board received quotes from three accounting firms on the cost of a full financial audit after member Douglass questioned during the 2018 AGM when the last audit had been completed.
The cost varied between $7,000 to $9,000. The board opted to just do a review engagement due to cost and lack of need.
Margo Hatala, accountant for Rowland Parker and Associates, presented the society with its financial statements for 2019, with the year end being on Sept. 30, 2019.
Hatala says the statement looks a bit different from 2018, as it only has three months of operations of the Calnash Ag Event Centre (from Oct. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018) instead of a full year, as the PAS ended its lease of the Calnash from PAECS on Dec. 31, 2018.
Total revenue was down by nearly half, from $2,105,339 in 2018 to $1,222,601 in 2019, with the main difference being revenue from operations of the ag event centre.
The Calnash brought in $1,337, 775 for the PAS in 2018 and $325,766 in the three months in 2019 fiscal year.
Revenue from cutting events rose from $574,647 to $757,580, however there was still a $51,000 loss (there was a $43,000 loss in 2018).
The ranch rodeo lost $424 this year compared to $$640 last year. The bench show was also a loss, but a bench show is “what an ag society has to do,” said Hatala.
The working cow horse show was not held this year.
Sponsorship fell from $11,457 in 2018 to $2,976 in 2019.
PAS also donated $55,000 to the PAECS in 2019 for the completion of Phase III of its new cattle pavillion.
Appointment of accountant
A motion to appoint an accountant for 2020 passed.