Minutes AGM 2013

Minutes of the S.W.A.G. AGM held at the Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon on 16th November 2013

Attendance: Dawn Crawford, Tim Hey, Bernard Northmore, Colin Ottery, Nigel Retallack, Keith & Heather Rushforth, Viv Walker, Diane Weymouth

Committee members: Richard Beale Di Davies Barbara Humphreys Jo McManus Mark Steele Andy Walker

Apologies: Mike & Elisabeth Brookes, Stuart Drysdale, Jean Field, Jacinta Nastali, Chas Brooke and Rachel Hebditch, Peter Roissetter

2. Minutes of the last AGM 25th November 2012: upheld

3. Matters Arising: none

4. Chairman’s Remarks (Richard Beale):

Di Davies was congratulated for organising a successful Autumn Show (that had taken place that day at the Hand) and was thanked for all her hard work. Di also acts as Treasurer and Show Organiser on the SWAG Committee. Jean field is SWAG’s fibre representative, Barbara Humphreys is the Membership Secretary, Jo McManus is the Secretary, Mark Steele writes the newsletter and Andy Walker is the Health and Welfare representative.

The Committee met four times in 2013 and Barbara Humphreys and Di Davies were thanked for hosting the meetings. It was recognised that many members have taken bio-security very seriously and invested in measures to protect their herds from TB. Their efforts are applauded. TB continues to be a serious problem for alpaca owners. Twelve new cases were reported in 2013, nine farms were currently still under restriction and a further three were awaiting culture test results. The Committee has taken the decision not to re-home alpacas due to the bio-security risk. The Camelid Forum met on the 5th November and there is a meeting planned with DEFRA in the next few weeks. There is a requirement to narrow the gap between what the alpaca industry wants with what DEFRA is able to provide. DEFRA have been very generous with their time in supporting the camelid industry and they are serious about eradicating TB. The alpaca industry continues to attract new breeders and great strides are being made in improving fleece quality. The fibre industry is growing and breeders should continue to work to make improvements and harness this growing industry.

5. Treasurers Report (Di Davies):

At the last AGM the Group had a bank balance of £5585.48.

As at 13 Nov 13 the Group had a bank balance of £5853.10.   

This figure when adjusted by debtors (£140 Bath and West Show Ad and Year Book Ad) and creditors (£93.50) – Rises to £5899.60


AGM 2012

To encourage attendance at the 2012 AGM it was agreed that the event would be subsidised from SWAG Funds.  The total subsidy amounted to £283

A raffle was held at the AGM which resulted in £48 being sent to the Royal British Legion


Annual charge for the maintenance of the SWAG website £288.


Postage of Yearbook to New members £30.28 paid out to date on postage costs for sending the Yearbook out to new member.

SWAG Autumn Show

To 13 Nov 13 bills of £1127.91 had been paid for the show and income of £175 has been received .  


Subscriptions.    Annual subscriptions of £15 per member are our major source of income for the Group raising £1340. In the past 12 months.

Fibre Day – 26 May 13

The Fibre Day hosted Karen and Dan Childerley in North Devon was attended by 18 members and resulted in an excess of income over expenditure of £17.35 ( Cost per head £10 – no fees paid to speakers)

Royal Bath and West Show 2013

Resulted in an excess of Income over expenditure £230.55 due largely to the generous sponsorship we received from Armitage Livestock Insurance and the success of the craft tables which we had in the Alpaca marquee.  The Royal Bath and West Show Society pick up the majority of costs for the Show which are in excess of £10K.


6. Shows Report (Richard Beale):

The region’s show season had been very successful and show organisers Di Davies, Peter Roissetter, Andy and Viv Walker and Jean Field were thanked for their work. All those who’ve helped with show organisation, the officials and exhibitors were also thanked. A request for more volunteers was made as more help is needed to organise shows. Many members have great organisational and communication skills and greater involvement would guarantee that future shows can take place. Di Davies is currently completing the BAS Show Organisers Handbook which acts as the template for every show. She was thanked for this work.

The judges had commented that the Autumn Show was a great improving show, especially amongst the coloured classes.

7. Membership Report (Barbara Humphreys):

  • The current membership comprises of 97 households, 132 members
  • 9 new members have joined since 1st December 2012
  • Over half of the membership lives in Devon or Somerset
  • All are able to receive newsletters and notices electronically. Since the decision was made to discontinue sending out 2012 yearbooks there have been no postage costs.
  • 6 members do not keep alpacas; 1 member only keeps llamas
  • Almost a third of owners have less than 10 alpacas
  • 4 have more than 100
  • 17 have herds of 11-20
  • 22 have herds of 21-50

8. SWAG’s new website (Richard Beale):

The website has been updated. Examples from the membership now need to be included to illustrate how the alpaca and fibre industry is developing. Contributions should be forwarded to Barbara Humphreys for inclusion on the website.

9. Programme for 2014 (Richard Beale):

Next year’s programme will concentrate on providing education and workshops to help members improve the quality and use of their fibre. The following days have been planned:

  • “Alpaca Fibre that Creates Value” – 26th January 2014 by Classical MileEnd Alpacas at Vulscombe Farm in Devon
  • 2 mill visits in late March/early April – one to Two Rivers and one to Sue Blacker’s Mill (Natural Fibre Company)

In addition, two vets days will be organised in the East and West of the region respectively. These will be timed to take place after the new TB Protocols have been released by DEFRA. It was noted that it will be very important that the new protocols are understood by owners and breeders.

10. Any Other Business:

Bernard Northmore asked when the new TB protocols will be released. Richard Beale expected that it would be in months and commented that there was lots of very satisfactory work currently being undertaken to produce them.

Tim Hey commented that the solicitors of the company that is running the Enferplex tests have advised them to stop working until DEFRA and the Small Working Group have signed an agreement. This agreement was very close to being signed and will cover TB surveillance, pre-export testing and breakdown testing. 

Richard Beale commented that the camelid industry should share responsibility with DEFRA for implementing the protocols and owners and breeders should be more open within the industry as well as with DEFRA. Costs should also be shared with DEFRA. BAS should start policing itself, for example by using movement books.

Richard Beale asked the meeting whether they wanted another autumn show. Tim Hey replied yes – preparation and attendance at the show had been more relaxed as there were no other shows at this time of year, in addition fleeces are easier to display and examine on account of them being shorter than in the spring. Diane Weymouth commented that advance notice of an autumn show would be useful so that the birthing and shearing seasons can be appropriately timed. No decision was made on whether an autumn show would be held in 2014.

Richard Beale re-iterated the need for volunteers from the membership to come forward to help with the organisation and running of shows as well as to help generally with the running of SWAG. Di Davies announced that after many years of organising shows, she would now only be able to organise the alpaca show at the Royal Bath & West.

Richard Beale announced that he will retire from the post of Chairman of SWAG in June 2014.