Elizabeth has taken up the Secretary's reins with gusto, has installed a new phone number — 1-877-US-FINNS — and has been very busy writing articles to numerous sheep and related magazines/papers in an effort to promote Finnsheep across the country, the result being a number of new members. On behalf of the FBA I warmly welcome the new members and hope you become enduring and active members.
The breed registry contract has now been operating over six months and is proving to be a very satisfactory arrangement. While there were some initial 'teething' problems getting all records on the new data base and some errors in registration, these have now been resolved. Karey and her staff at Associated Breeder Registries (ABR) has been extremely helpful and obliging while sorting out these initial problems. I thank them and FBA members involved with the transition for their efforts and patience in getting the contract operating smoothly.
The development of the registry contract has not been without substantial up front costs. To date the FBA has spent over $1,200 getting records up to date and on the ABR computer. This has substantially strained our cash flow. It is anticipated the setup costs will be recovered over the long run but momentarily it has caused serious restrictions on our finances.
Thanks to Elizabeth, the questionnaire, that I mentioned in my last message, is now complete and being distributed with this copy of Short Tales. Please take time to read it before you trash it!! Better still, have a serious think about some of the questions and write a response; any response is better than no response. We know you all have opinions on various matters relating to the FBA. The Board is really very interested in hearing your opinion and your ideas on how to direct the FBA for the future. Remember. this is your association and it will only work if we get your support in responding to the questionnaire.
Due to administrative oversight the Minnesota authorities thought the FBA was defunct and canceled our name from their Corporate records. We are now in the process of rectifying this situation.
The last issue of Short Tales (#39) went out to over 150 breeders/former breeders and interested parties. It is hoped to increase this circulation, so if you know of a potential breeder or someone that may be interested in receiving our newsletter please let Elizabeth, our Secretary, or the editor, Harry Koenig, know.
I now want to turn to the subject of finances. I have already mentioned the cost of the registry contract. Our other big expense is the production of Short Tales. You will appreciate the more we print the less per copy it costs, however we then have the postage costs. It costs $600 to print and post out Short Tales which will be sent out three times this year. Advertising goes some way to cover this cost but currently does not make it cost neutral. With more advertising I believe Short Tales production and circulation costs can be reduced significantly. We need your help to rally advertising for the newsletter. Likewise the web-page fee is $180/yr, paid in six monthly contracts of $90. If anyone is interested in advertising on the web-page or sponsoring a six months contract let me know.
The yearly Activity and Promotional Fee (APF) was instigated a few years back to overcome liquidity problems facing the FBA. It has eased the situation but in the last two years we have had run a negative statement of accounts. This year will be the same. We are only s urviving by eroding a small investment fund that is far from being a bottomless pit! If current trends continue the FBA will be bankrupt in three years or less!
It is my intention that this trend of deficit budgeting be arrested and I have asked our Treasurer to produce a budget for circulation before the next annual general meeting. You can help by contributing through the APF! Currently only 30 members pay the APF. If 60 breeders pay the APF our association would be financially healthy and have flexibility to develop programs that would help Finnsheep breeders. Remember the APF is a legitimate business expense and I appeal to those of you who have not paid the APF for your financial support.
In my last message, as part of our out reach program, I appealed for your support for the children's essay competition by donating a Finnsheep for the starter flock prize. The response has been dismal! I have not had one expression of interest in this proposal. Perhaps it should be dropped??
I daresay you all picked up the editorial oversight in my last message when I suggested the next National Finnsheep Sale be held at Smithfield IL? Right State, wrong place! After talking with the sale manager I can report the next National Finnsheep Sale will be held at Springfield IL June 16-18, 1999. (See details in separate article)
Before I conclude, I want to reiterate the importance of the questionnaire. Our Secretary, Elizabeth Luke has done a sterling job, spending much unpaid time, in producing the questionnaire on the future direction of the FBA. The Board hopes all members will give the questionnaire due consideration and provide positive and constructive comments. We might all know what is wrong with the FBA but we need to know how to fix the wrongs and develop into a strong enduring Association. The Board needs your support in this process.
With Spring not too far away I hope your lambing percentages are high and profitable. I would like to see some of your flock's progeny in the annual sale and get to meet you at the Annual General Meeting in June at Springfield IL.