Jeff & I had planned for a nice weekend getaway in the Atlanta area, centered around the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association national show & sale and annual general meeting at the Coweta Co. Fairgrounds on Sept. 17-18. I have been troubled by the problems & conflict among the organization’s leadership that have become evident over the last several months, and was extremely disappointed to find out that the AGM was suffering because of those issues. It was scaled back to a few simple demonstrations, a seminar by a guest speaker, and a small classification clinic….no show, no sale….but every non-profit organization is required to have an annual meeting, so that was definitely still on. We decided to go anyway, because we wanted to find out first-hand what is going on, and if the Association can survive it.
We arrived Friday, to see 3 vehicles in the parking lot & a small cluster of people talking outside the barn, so we joined them. The fairgrounds was absolutely beautiful, with very well-kept facilities. Over the course of the weekend, there were about 20-some people that came at various times. It was disappointing that so few came, but we met some wonderful people who really care about the Dexter breed. We once again got to see Gabriella Nanci, from whom we bought Rousseau, and spend some time getting to know her better. And she brought along Nutmeg (Rousseau’s momma) and Pink (one of his daughters), which was a real treat, too.
Friday’s activities included a grooming demonstration by Stefani Millman and a hand-milking demonstration by Ginny Miles. Stefani showed us how to bathe, dry, groom & clip to prepare an animal for the showring. This was very informative for those of us who have never shown cattle before. She demonstrated on Frank & Ginny Miles’ bull, Ryder, then they brought out their cow Urna for others to practice on. I jumped in with the clippers to get a better feel for how to get that part of the job done. Ginny hasn’t normally clipped her cows’ udders (I usually do), so I clipped Urna’s so it would be nice for her milking demonstration. I think she was pleased with the result. She commented that it had to be less painful for Urna since there was no hair there to pull. Afterwards, a bunch of us went out to dinner together and had a great time getting better acquainted.
Saturday morning we gathered again to listen to a wonderful presentation by Tom Trantham about his “12 Aprils” grazing program. We came away with some helpful new ideas for pasture management. Then the classifier explained how the classification system works, and after a lunch break, we all went to the barn to watch him classify animals for Miles’ and Gabriella. He explained what he was looking at as he went, and there was a good bit of discussion among the group, so this also was very informative, and I came away with a much better understanding of what to look for in good Dexter conformation.
Then it was time for the anticipated & dreaded business meeting. It appeared that John Colhoun, Richard Stimpson, Frank Miles, Gabriella Nanci & Stefani Millman were the only ones from leadership that found the meeting important enough to show up. We saw nothing of the rest of the leadership, so apparently they didn’t feel it was necessary to fulfill that part of their duties. Not only that, but they seem to be trying to block any progress in the organization. I feel the PDCA is in dire trouble, but that it does have something to offer that is worth fighting for.
I was horrified to learn that there has NEVER been an election for new officers or the board of directors….these same people have been in power since the inception of the organization, and that the Treasurer has NEVER, in all these years, presented to the board a real, accurate, complete financial statement or a bank statement for the Association! This is ridiculous and must change! Major change is the only thing that will save the PDCA. I know that most of us just want to enjoy our lovely, little cattle, but somebody has got to run this thing & run it well. We need people who want to see the Dexter breed improved & promoted to get involved, instead of those who just want to maintain their power & little good-ol’-boy club. If you’re a member of PDCA, I beg you to get involved and help get new people elected. How many of us are willing to fight to keep this organization alive? Without you, there may not be enough.