May 28th 2018

Alpacas of Oklahoma 2018 First Half Activity Report Summary

To: Alpacas of Oklahoma Membership (sorry this is so long but a lot is happening!!)

From: John Robinson (1), President and A-OK 2018 Board.

Note: A very busy first 5+ months in 2018 for A OK!! Reports from members say individual farms/ranches were out educating the public selling alpaca products and promoting our industry every free weekend. Agritourism and Made in Oklahoma at its finest. Good work. Come to our next membership meeting, June 23rd and let’s share some innovative ideas being implemented by members of Alpacas of Oklahoma.

Our 2018 year to date, in review:

January A-OK meeting in Newcastle adult center with education event led by Liz Mitchko. Subject: Proven ideas for increasing sales in your alpaca store. Very well received by attending members with rave reviews. Coordinators for the event: Greg Summers, assisted by Janice Robinson, Sheila Robinson and Kerry Bates. Thanks to all who helped and all who attended. We were able to keep the cost for attendees low (in the $25-$35 per person range) and the final cost to A OK was less than $200.

No Activities scheduled during February. However, several A OK members attended the TXOLAN show gleaning new ideas which will be shared at upcoming A OK meetings…. Walking fleece, anyone? Hear more about this at the June 23rd, 2018 membership/education meeting. (Register for June 23rd, Contact Terri Bates, Tbates.mbr@gmail.com.)

March saw A OK at the Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE) in Oklahoma City. This is the largest junior livestock show in the United States. A-OK had a double booth this year and all members of A-OK were invited to have an “alpaca product selling presence”. Several took advantage of the opportunity. The primary purpose of participation in OYE is to help fulfil A-OK’s goal “the education and ethical promotion of all things Alpaca.” A secondary benefit to members was the ability to display and sell the alpaca products available on the individual ranch stores. Organizers included: Gail Stymerski, Sheila Robinson, Janice Robinson, Terri Bates. Farm Ranch participants: Land Run Alpacas, Just Right Alpacas, Awesome Acres Pacas and Pyrs, Bowtie Ranch, Answered Prayers Alpacas, Magnolia Blossom Alpacas.

Manning the booths (one week of long operating hours and back to back days): Al Boyce, Terri Bates, Kerry Bates, Sheila Robinson, Gail Stymerski, Janice Robinson, John Robinson (1), John Robinson (2), Kamryn Doyle, Brooks DeMunbrun, Sherry Alpert, Patty Maness. All those that attended as vendors/volunteers were promoting Alpacas of Oklahoma and reported excellent sales of their alpaca products. Overall, the cost to A-OK was approximately $270 after participation fees and 5% of sales came back to the organization. In short, a complex, time-consuming but very successful educational and promotional event. Thanks to all!!

April was designated as shearing month for most of the alpaca owners in our Alpacas of Oklahoma organization. Yes, it was a cold month. (Many of our fine fiber friends did some shivering but I have heard of no other ill effects from shearing.) Onward to summer!

Maywill be fiber prep month for many and for some, birthing season. A-OK news: During the first week of May, John and Janice Robinson received a call from the Journal Record Newspaper asking about the current state of the alpaca industry in Oklahoma. The caller had found us through the Alpacas of Oklahoma website. After giving the reporter a rundown on the history of our A OK organization, 2018 alpaca show and state membership roster, the Robinson’s referred the journalist to Mike and Kathy Fleming who have an excellent alpaca store, Mustang Creek Alpaca Company, 1401 S. Agnew Ave, Oklahoma City… in the Stockyard’s District of Oklahoma City. According to a recent conversation with Kathy, the journalist did a great job. In fact, the Journal Record article featuring Mike and Kathy (and alpacas in Oklahoma) was so good it was picked up by the associated Press. Congratulations to Mike and Kathy. Also, this reflects still another benefit of membership in our Alpacas of Oklahoma. Keep promoting our industry!

May 20th. Show committee and board meeting for post card “lick-em stick-em” a manual labor of love. Discussion on making show website live by June 1st. Thanks to the volunteers who gave their time and talents to get this vital communication to over 1,000 potential show attendees.

June 23 is the next scheduled education event for A-OK members. Dr. Patti Maness DVM, will lead a workshop titled: Alpaca Repro 101/102 “Alpaca Reproduction, Birthing and Cria Care”. This will be held at Dr. Maness’s new alpaca/conference facility on highway 37 in Newcastle: The Barn at Country Club, 1675 Hwy 37 and N. Country Club, 1 mile west of I-44 on Hiwy 37. Terri and Kerry Bates are education event coordinators. Many Thanks to Terri and Kerry!! Come one, come all. $25 per person if a member of A-OK. $35 per person if not a member of A OK. Pot luck working lunch. To register, contact Terri Bates, Tbates.mbr@gmail.com.

Partial Business meeting agenda for our June 23rd working lunch: Many thanks to the board who met May 20th to finalize and give recommendations to membership:

1. Financial position report from John (2). All,come hear some good financial news.

2. The board has recommended October 13 as the next full A OK membership meeting. Pot luck and education at Land Run Alpacas, Agra, OK. Thanks to Sheila and John (2) Robinson for volunteering your ranch. This October 13 meeting will be the final membership meeting before set up and execution of the November 8-9-10-11 Alpaca show and holiday shopping blast off. Come join the fun.

3. The board has recommended and approved an education program for the October 13 membership meeting.

a. Education topic: Workshop for each participant to make a personal “micron/sorting” workbook.

i. Cost of workshop: $20 per member. $30 per non-member. (A OK covers cost of materials)

ii. Workshop activity: Each member/participant will build a personal “micron identification book.” Each participant will leave the meeting, after this hands-on book building class, with a new solid reference booklet as well as a working knowledge of grading your fiber.

iii. A-OK will provide the printed materials. Fiber will be provided by leader and individual volunteer ranches. The printed booklet will contain grading definitions/criteria as well as sample pages for showing examples of grades 1 through 6 fiber.

iv. Objective: by the end of the meeting, each participant will have common definitions of each grade of fiber and an example in their personal book for future reference.

4. WINGS discussion: The A-OK board recommends that the organization NOT participate in this event in 2018. Individual members may decide to participate at their own discretion. Sheila Robinson will have additional information to share at the June 23rd meeting.

5. Terri Bates 2018 show coordinator will update 2018 show preparation progress. The October 13th membership meeting will be the final meeting before Alpaca Show and Holiday Shopping Blastoff (November 8-11, 2018). Final details for the show will be presented at this meeting as well as finalizing our volunteer rosters for the show. We always need more volunteers!!!

6. Terri Bates and John (2) have worked out a very effective method for education coordinator to monitor and control communications, billings and attendance rosters for education event participants. Excellent behind the scenes work. End result: take a little of the financial monitoring off of the treasurer, allow better communication/control for the coordinator and maintain privacy of membership finances. Good work Terri and John (2).

7. Board recommendations for balance of 2018 and into 2019:

Board recommends as primary goal: Keep member education costs as low as possible.

i. Example, $25/member and $35 for non-members. (may need to raise the non-member fee)

ii. Second goal is to maintain a cash reserve to cover expenses incurred by organization for cancelled events or unforeseen issues.

iii. Board recommends we maintain a cash reserve to insure we can pay the upfront costs of show and education events. (before collection and reimbursement by participant’s fees.)

iv. Continue to encourage sponsorships and benefactor donations to A OK.

Thanks to all who make this organization work. It takes a team, it takes creativity, it takes cooperation, it takes willingness and it takes amazing volunteers like YOU.

2018 Board Members:

John (1) Robinson, President Sheila Robinson, Vice-President

Al Boyce, Secretary John (2) Robinson, Treasurer

Kerry Bates, education, events and show Karla Moore, show and events

Greg Summers, education, events and show