Minutes of the S.W.A.G. Committee Meeting held at Homers Farm, Hartgrove nr. Shaftesbury on Thursday 3rd April 2013
Committee Members present were:
Richard Beale (RB) – Chairman, Marketing & Media
Di Davies (DD) – Treasurer; Shows
Jean Field (JF) – Fibre/Fleece
Barbara Humphreys (BH) – Membership Secretary
Andy Walker (AW) – Health & Welfare
Chairman welcomed members present and thanked BH for hosting the meeting
2. Apologies received from:
Jo McManus (JM) – Secretary, Mark Steele (MS) – Newsletter, Training & Education, Tim Hey (TH)
3. Minutes of the last meeting (10th Jan 2013): approved
4. Matters arising: carried forward in agenda
5. Treasurers report:
Today’s bank balance £6290.41
Outstanding debtors – one member has still to pay for lunches booked at AGM 2012
No outstanding creditors
6. Committee members reports:
· From the Chairman
Asked if Alpaca 2013 magazine was useful, all agreed it was. DD said she would collect some boxes for distribution at shows and SWAG days.
· Shows for 2013
· The Futurity took place 15-16th March, The Futurity. Several members of the committee went to the show. Overall impression was that it was the best yet. The concept of live alpacas and product go very well together and every encouragement should be given to members to attend the National RB.
· Devon County 15-18 May; judge – Jay Holland; organisers – Gary Sanders & Peter Roissetter
· North Somerset 6 May; judge – Dominic Lane; organiser – John Glover
· Melplash Show 29 August; interested in running a fleece show, DD to discuss with the show organisers the possibility of a show under BAS rules in 2014. DD
· SWAG Autumn Show November 15 & 17; DD presented her proposal which was accepted by the committee. Initial reaction from breeders at the Futurity was favourable. Needs publicity. VAT issues resolved. Judges to be announced. New plan developed for clear up which was a problem in 2012 – which will reduce amount that breeders have to do. JF agreed to write a list of fibre buyers, mini mills & mills. A big effort will be made to get as many fibre buyers there along with breeders who add value with craft, yarn etc. Show committee DD, MS, AW, JF and Fred Ellis. All committee members to help with raising sponsorship DD.
· National Show 11 & 12 May; the Regional Group Competition with some tidying up, there appeared not to be a reason why the final score and declaration of the winner could not be made at the end of the show so the winning group could be acknowledged DD. SWAG members to be encouraged to go MS. Closing date for halter entries Sunday 14th April – incorrectly shown in SWAG Newsletter of 22nd April.
· Ellingham and Ringwood show 10 August; has been BAS approved and organisation well under way. Organisers – Viv Walker & Rosemary Aylett. Will need disinfectant mats (DD to deliver SWAG mats as she has a trade stand at the show) AW.
· Royal Bath & West 29 May – 1st June; judges – Mary Jo Smith & Dominic Lane Organiser DD. Too late to change back to interspersing the suri classes throughout the four days for this year. The separate Suri Day was at the request of the suri exhibiters. DD
· Royal Three Counties 14 – 16 June will include alpacas; judge – Nick Harrington Smith; organiser – Roger Mount; judging on 15th & demonstrations on 16th June. DD
· Honiton 1st August; judge – Cathy Lloyd, organisers – Jean Field and Lynsey Skinner
· North Devon August 7; judge – Nick Harrington Smith, organisers – Jean Field and Richard Gubb
c. Programme for 2013:
Fleece and Fibre Days:
· 26 May – Daniel and Karen Childerley to host; list of speakers (to be confirmed): Karen Childerley – Felting, Jo McManus experiences as a small breeder & adding value to fibre, Jean Field – Spinning, Daniel Childerley talk and demonstration of shearing, Rachel Hebditch and Chas Brooke – breeding for fleece. Catering organised by BH.
· 23, 24 & 25 May – Tim Hey has kindly suggested that as he will be shearing this would make a good demonstration of the process from shearing to the fleece in the bag. Details to be advised.
d. Membership & Communications
Update given by BH: Communications newsletter – MS Holder of the SWAG list BH.
e. Marketing, media and website
BH will speak to Karen regarding website updates. MS to be asked to write a short snappy front page RB.
Marketing by breeders: the basic rule is you have to go out to customers they just do not drop out of the sky. Each breeder makes his own wave. There is a need for a BAS marketing umbrella under which breeders can develop their own strategies. Image is an important part as well as consistency neither of which is very good at the moment.
d. Health & Welfare
Disappointment was expressed that BAS had not addressed the current problems and widespread losses being experienced by breeders due to disease, wet weather, and poor quality forage. Exception being the note on liver fluke. Noted that sales to Farmers of guard animals had all but dried up owing to fear of TB on the part of farmers.
The Committee were updated on current cases. BAS Board have confirmed that they do not comment on planning applications. The growing number of welfare issues will be raised at the Regional Group meeting.
Noted there is a shortage of good quality fibre especially white as breeders have changed to breeding coloureds which have better sales appeal.
Background paper for Regional Group Meeting was discussed and with minor amendments approved, recommended it should be sent to Chairman RCB
MS was congratulated on his first newsletter. In an effort to make the news letter more comprehensive it was agreed that the newsletter could carry all events organised by breeders whether they were free or for payment. This needs to be in the cover note to the next newsletter MS.
SWAG should endeavour to write something for the Regional Group round-up for the Alpaca Magazine, can be as short or long as the case may be with a photo if possible. The autumn show is an example.
8. Date of next meeting: 24 July by invitation of DD (Woodstock, Mapperton Lane, Melplash, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3UF – Tel 01308 488661) and 9 October by invitation of BH (Homers Farm, SP7 0JY) AGM Saturday 16 November.