We are the most rapidly increasing breed in the UK – and that’s official in the recent E.B.L.E.X report on the state of British sheep breeds based on a survey of over 10,000 sheep farmers and published roughly every 10 years. The ‘Easy Care’ have risen from 13,000 in 2003 when the society was formed to 119,000 in 2013 and increase of over 80% annually. I’m sure if all the grading up numbers were shown it would be significantly more – Congratulations!

The sales were considerably better this year with Worcester leading the way with a far better trade. The ‘new’ sale at Exeter created a lot of local interest with buyers showing caution as is the pattern with any new sale. Gaerwen, Carlisle and Thirsk are now attracting regular commercial buyers which all goes to prove that it takes four years to establish a new outlet. Where should we look to starting a new sale, North, Scotland, Ireland? They are certainly exciting times.

Our open day and AGM this year is where it all began 50 years ago at my home farm Trefri, Bodorgan, Anglesey LL62 5LT. Now farmed by my son Richard and family, will be on Saturday 20th June 2015. If you have never been to Anglesey then your education is seriously lacking so put it in your diary now!

We have booked room at ‘Carreg Bran Hotel’, Llanfair PG, Anglesey LL61 5YH Telephone 01248 714224 www.carregbranhotel.co.uk. Double or twin rooms are a discounted price of £80 per room B&B with the annual dinner on the Saturday night @ £25 each. Please book early, so as not to be disappointed, with the Hotel quoting ‘Easy Care Sheep group’.

As I mentioned at the last AGM and in the previous newsletter, I intend to ‘fade away’ after this year from the running of the Easy Care Society. Having reared it to a healthy and robust 12 years old and to allow you the members to carry on to take us forward to what I am certain is a very bright future. I would ask you to think hard about what format to take bearing in mind that we are an association of breeders as opposed to the traditional breed society with its flock book, council and strict breed standards. Do you wish to continue with a dictator or should we adopt this newfangled idea of democracy?

Developing, promoting and organizing the breed has you know been my life vocation. Briefly my duties have been to think, eat and sleep ‘Easy Care Sheep’ 24 hours a day:-

  • To answer the phone all hours of the day and night to discuss all sort of sheep matters with mostly very nice people from all parts of the world.
  • To be constantly prepared to take advantage of any opportunity to promote the breed through writing articles, giving talks to societies, letters to the editors and hosting visits from groups or individuals.
  • Organise advertising – when to advertise / how often / which papers / what to say / how much to spend.
  • To decide where and when to arrange our hugely successful open day and AGM. To arrange with our host the timetable, chose a hotel and obtain the best terms.
  • To book a stand at the various NSA events. Design the stand, prepare the stock, transport them, setting up and manning the stand etc.
  • To decide where we shall hold our society sales. Discuss terms and dates with the various auctioneers and send out entry forms.
  • To write and post newsletters (approximately 3 per year)
  • Send out membership notices and collect the money (not a nice job!)
  • Negotiate terms with the tag manufacturers – make sure the members get what they have ordered and recoup the payments.
  • Prepare the website and keeping it up to date.

To summarise we are in an awkward position of not having enough funds to employ someone full time. There is no doubt that we could do a lot better especially on marketing online and obtaining sponsorship.

I would like to thank our sponsors RUMENCO for their invaluable help with the printing it has been an enormous help. Compared to other societies we are a very cheap club to belong to.

A lot of the above duties I have mentioned could be delegated but care must be taken that each department must perform efficiently and have their objectives set out and not duplicated. If we had a person in charge of each department should they be accountable to a single person or a committee? Could it be split up on a regional basis such as Scotland, North of England, Wales, Midlands and South of England?

As I said at the beginning could you give it a thought and please write, not email I’m too old! and keep it fairly short and to the point (Easy Care philosophy) and I could circulate the views before the next AGM.