Agricultural society welcomes fresh ideas and firmer future

Stettler and District Agricultural Society has great plans for an exciting year with a new general manager, president and board of directors.

Fresh faces

Fresh faces

Stettler and District Agricultural Society has great plans for an exciting year with a new general manager, president and board of directors.

Ted Nibourg was elected president at the society’s annual general meeting Dec. 3, along with vice-president Stan Pennington, secretary Amanda Ferris and treasurer Heather Hammond.

Elected as directors were Dale Chapman, Dawn Gelech, Ralph Kirkpatrick, Bob Lomond, Wally McComish, Laurel Pole, Laura Hoge, Kent Nixon, Terri Berkshire, Michelle Rangen and Kate VerHoeven.

“We want to build on events like the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, increase the use of our facilities and add more events to attract more people to Stettler,” said Nibourg, who chaired the stampede committee last year.

“We also want to open up communication with the community.”

With a lifetime in the agricultural lifestyle, John Fraser is welcome as the society’s new business development officer.

“My main focus is to add programming and make our facilities more accessible and productive to the community and for regional and provincial events,” said Fraser, who has over 20 years experience serving in agricultural societies.

“We want to make it grow.”

Formerly a farm manager for Fairview College and manager of Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie for 15 years, and over 50 years with 4-H, he serves in the Stettler agricultural society office which is open Monday to Friday.

“We want to host and attract major events to help build the economy of the Stettler area,” said Fraser.

“If people have an idea about an event they want to bring to Stettler, let us know.”

Fraser also serves as a liaison with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development as a key component of the position in order to take advantage of agricultural extension activities in the province.

With about 200 members, the society recently upgraded its website to help draw major events.

“We think this will help us get big provincial events,” said Nibourg.

“We want to build strong relationships with the community and create spinoffs for businesses.”

The agricultural society has already been scheduled to host a bluegrass country concert with Ben Beveridge and Maria Danvers on Jan. 21 and a landowner information session on oil and gas development on March 3.

Further on the calendar, the society plans to host a horse expo in June 2010 with a trade fair, demonstrations, seminars and clinics.

Annually, the agricultural society hosts the Roughstock Rodeo in March and Bullarama in November.

While building community support, the society also plans to enhance and upgrade its facilities.

“We want to improve our outdoor facility and maintain our indoor facilities to keep them viable for many years to come,” said Nibourg.

When the baseball diamonds are ready at Stettler Sports Park, the diamonds at the exhibition grounds will be leveled to make way for more space.

The new cattle-handling system is portable and will be able to accommodate both the indoor and outdoor facility.

Originally established in 1907, Stettler and District Agricultural Society has a renewed vision for the future to rebuild the community’s involvement in the agricultural way of life, states the society’s business plan for 2009 to 2012.

“The key to our future is the youth in our community,” states the plan.

“We need to educate and involved our youth in the richness and rewarding way of rural life.”

“By involving youth and community groups in events and programs that are designed around agricultural activities, we can preserve the rural way of living and agricultural groups in our community,” the plan stresses.

“We want to bring a feeling of community spirit and leadership to our organization.”

The society’s mission statement is “to increase awareness of the incredible facility we have and bring back the community support while increasing the talent we already have in our community by utilizing the incredible resources our rural community.”

The board of directors is a very unique group of people with a large spectrum of values and beliefs to the organization.

“We strive to do everything with passion, dedication and excellence….striving to make a difference and see our agricultural society sustain itself for years to come.”

For agricultural society information, phone 403-742-6288.