Ideas for A OK. 2016-forward (these are not minutes but items for thoughtful consideration by membership to help determine direction for the year to come)
From January membership meeting, following are thoughts for consideration by the members and the A OK board. All A OK members are encouraged to review, prioritize, discuss, choose your cause to champion with and for Alpacas of Oklahoma.
All: Please Review and Send your thoughts to the board via e-mail: ( Answer the following and/or pick one of the ideas to champion.
I want to see ____________________________________ done this year. I want to be a part of _______________ this year.
A-OK Board helps coordinate all committees of the chosen paths for 2016. Show committee continue to do what you do and tweak an already, really good show.

The board needs your input on what is important to you in 2016 and beyond. Here are some thoughts to get the creative wheels turning.
No particular order or priority but things to consider:
All communicate ways to get the word out and reward participation in A OK. Think of ways to add voting or non-voting members.
TV and radio and newspaper advertising push to draw the crowds to A OK sponsored events: coordinate with other state groups for joint events. Think: Benefits, Benefits, Benefits.
Someone (board member or member) to lead the charge for each activity as selected from your recommendations. Following is food for thought:
1. Potential Education and promotion events: (some may be with show emphasis, some will be with membership/education/benefit/fleece/animal emphasis:
a. Show committee and board coordinate the search for a less expensive but still desirable location for our 2017 show. Terry Bradford submitted a starting place. At February (board and show committee) meeting, we can establish a deadline for completion of the search. Member input desired. What do you see? Help!
b. A OK members: participate in the fiber show: grow the number of fleeces. Promo: advertise why this is important to your ranch/farm and the industry.
i. Fiber events during year: What do you want to see? What will help you?
ii. Fiber and AFCNA – show is to be a collection point for fiber in 2016. How to leverage to our advantage and our member’s advantage. We collected over 500 lbs, last year. Good start.
c. Camelid dynamics: handling your animals without stress
i. How to observe – seeing medical or management issues before health or behavior crisis.
ii. Defining the difference between crisis care by a vet and preventative care on the ranch
d. KOA, RV campground events: public relations, hands on with the public (we did it years ago…good results.) Use a good clinician.
e. How to make our show the most desirable show in the S.W. We have to grow. New ideas for marketing to regional and national ranches: check draw area, who came, why, analyze target markets for 2016, let show committee grow the show.
f. Marketing your ranch and A OK awareness through education events using-social media-facebook, linked-in, etc. How do we do this?
g. Using OSU vet school to best advantage – OSU resource. Meeting place, seminars, etc.
h. AOA registry – pros and cons – how we can support AOA and the benefits to our membership. Understand how registry protects value of animals.
i. Publication awareness and exposure: define and use “national sustainable living and organic living magazines.” Learn how to submit information, promote alpacas, our show and organization.
j. Finding and co-branding Oklahoma Sustainable living organizations with A OK Alpacas
k. Agritourism: Oklahoma State Agency coordination. Use their lists and members to co-promote and perhaps they will rent booths at our 2016 show. More people more money in the door, more exposure to rural Oklahoma.
l. Made in Oklahoma: Oklahoma State Agency coordination. Same potential benefits as with agritourism.
m. State of Oklahoma Dept of Agriculture; joint events, grants, follow the money; Talk to the Dept. of Agriculture director.
n. Wings sponsorship events and others like Wings. Perhaps team with Pumpkin patch events in fall. All expansive thoughts welcome.
o. Student Design competition: completing the circle. How to make alpaca fiber product from sponsorships of student design competition.
p. Mother Earth News: seminar participation with national publication/seminars on off grid and sustainable living in Oklahoma, rural Oklahoma appeal.
q. American Farmer and Rancher: how to leverage our advertising dollar-get more back!
r. FFA, FHA, 4H programs-see TXOLAN grant from state of TX; Amy Pomerantz to lead any program thoughts. Mike and Kathy Fleming, Elaine Christensen may want to lead a look at rural Oklahoma opportunities, Data collecting. Event ideas. County fairs, etc.
s. Business development grants: state, regional, national. Availability, and how to write proposals.
t. Private business partnerships; someone to sell alpaca products made on A OK ranches? How much can be supplied? Fiber is the business of alpacas. Outlets: on farm/ranch, :
u. Myriad Garden type promotional events
v. State Fairground: Oklahoma Youth Expo. Sheila Robinson leading this investigation.
w. State Fair of Oklahoma: Mike and Kathy Fleming are involved. Can we help? booth, promo coop ads with participating ranches
x. Knitting, weaving, fiber arts guilds: across the state. Do individual or group sponsored events.
y. At ranch meetings: friendly regional coopetition. See what others are doing: expansion and sharing ideas: 4 meetings per year for A OK.
i. First is strictly business: show review, budget review, ideas for coming year, elect officers, de-brief – pros and cons – of past year.
ii. Second is progress reports on chosen projects. (this is usually around shearing time – very busy season), Show committee progress report; possible education event at this meeting.
iii. Third is usually summer/early fall event: chosen projects for year committee progress reports, possible education.
iv. Fourth is usually very busy show focused meeting. Volunteers, marketing, vendor acquisition, getting more and more animals and fleeces to show.
z. Did you know: there are Mustang grants for larger ranches. Are there grants for rescue ranches: alpaca, horses, etc.
aa. AOA coordination for long range projects – president of A OK participates in AOA affiliate roundtables each year.
bb. Add to the list of making the small alpaca ranch profitable:
i. Beef and alpacas, sheep and alpacas,
ii. More active members from non AOA alpaca owners
iii. Communicate benefits of belonging to A OK
iv. County fairs: Rural America outreach.
v. Contact Zena ranch in NE Oklahoma FFA, 4 H outreach strategies
vi. Facebook member communication and friending: shoot for thousands of friends that follow A OK member activities. Invite to show and public events. Build our audience!! Our customer base!!
vii. Karla Moore: Summer camp and alpacas. How to do?
viii. Neo-natal care clinic
ix. Birthing clinic: what is right and what might go wrong. Separate fact from fiction.
x. Show ring etiquette
xi. More fiber events: sorting, grading, making products for sale, expand AFCNA exposure,
xii. Grandparents will pay to have grandchildren show their animals in a non-judged or banner only – how to implement this. Put in the hands of the show committee.
xiii. Events and education done in the past that may bear repeating:
1. Ranch management seminars. Grass and Pasture: type of grass, best pasture management for better grass (fertilizers to use and what not to use), timing, mowing height. Pasture rotation.
2. Uses of paca poo, bartering poo for vegetables,
3. better ranch layouts for convenience and optimum use of land/grass,
4. money making ideas from alpacas, business plans,
5. Alpaca 101 for new comers (using AOA publications)
6. breeding for better fiber, genetics 101
7. tracking herd progress using alpaca ease or like software.
8. Tax and business documentation-things not to say to the IRS.
9. When to call the vet. Identifying parasites and bad stuff in the herd.
You can see there are plenty of ideas. Our job is to choose the most exciting and viable, volunteer to lead the information gathering, then plan, schedule, gather the group interested in participating, have an event. Tell the world. Animal Prices are more reasonable, more people are interested. Sustainability and organic living are more main stream. Alpacas fit. New people always welcome. 2016 here we come!