Minutes of the 65th Annual General Meeting of the British Agricultural History Society held at Plumpton College, Sussex on Monday 3rd April
The meeting began at 4.15pm
Present: There were 24 members of the Society present. The Chair was taken by Prof Henry French. Officers of the Society present were Dr Nicola Verdon (Secretary), Prof Richard Hoyle (Editor, Agricultural History Review), and Dr Bill Shannon (Treasurer). Apologies were received from Briony McDonagh, Alan Hunter, and Nigel Sidaway.
594 Minutes of the 64th meeting were approved as an accurate record of the meeting subject to minor amendment
595 Matters arising from the minutes: None
596 Elections of Officers of the Executive committee
The current Secretary Dr Nicola Verdon, will stand down at this AGM. Nominations were sought for Treasurer, Secretary, and Editors.
The following nominations have been received:
Treasurer: Dr William (Bill) Shannon
Secretary: Dr Barbara Linsley
Editor: Prof Richard Hoyle
Book Reviews Editor: Dr Briony McDonagh
All were approved by the AGM. The Treasurer, Secretary and Editors to serve for one year.
597 Election of Ordinary members of the Executive committee
Two ordinary members of the EC, Prof Alun Howkins and Prof Paul Warde, are due to retire and are not eligible for re-election. Paul Warde will however be co-opted onto the EC as he will stay on as Winter Conference organizer. One member of the EC, Dr Carl Griffin, has served on four-year term, and has agreed to serve an additional term.
There is one seat free from last year.
The Secretary, Dr Verdon, is due a fallow year and will not sit on the EC next year.
There are therefore three seats free. The following nominations have been received: Dr. Alan Wadsworth; Dr. Sarah Holland and Prof John Martin. All were agreed by the AGM and will serve a four-year term in the first instance.
Profs Howkins and Warde were thanked for their years of service on the EC.
598 Report by Chair of the Executive Committee
The Chair reported that at the Officers meeting in 2016, and agreed by the EC in September, it has been decided to create an investments committee. He asked that if any member of the Society at the AGM feels they have suitable experience and would like to serve on this committee, please make themselves known to the Treasurer after this meeting.
The Chair then reported on progress for a David Hey commemoration. Discussions between the BAHS, the Marc Fitch Fund and the Yorks Archaeological Society to hold a joint event have proved unproductive. Instead, the Officers will discuss what the BAHS could do to commemorate David, and put their suggestions to the EC in the autumn.
The Chair thanked the Secretary for her 8 years of service and the AGM showed appreciation in a round of applause.
599 Report from the Treasurer
The AGM were presented with the Society’s balance sheet, income and expenditure account, and membership figures, all for the year ending 31st January 2017. The Society made a surplus of £11,890 (compared to £4893 the year before). The Society has made a surplus over the last 6 years of £45k. At the last AGM notice was served of a possible subscription rise; this has now been deferred for a year.
The Society holds £40,355 in its current bank account. We invested 20k in a COIF Investment Account in November, but as the level of current assets is still too high, the investment committee will be asked to seek another investment opportunity for 20k. We have a level of expenditure of c.28k. The main aim is to try and ensure the subscription/journal income matches the costs of producing our publications; this is currently mismatched. Income on our reserves last year was not high (£800) but we did not give any grants. One of our public benefits is as a grant giving society and we will advertise this opportunity better over the coming year.
Membership: Institutional membership has been decreasing year on year; individual membership has held to just over 400 and we would like to stabilise this as far as possible. The Society did not receive much last year in royalties but since the year end we have received a cheque for £2k from JSTOR.
Members of the Society at the AGM raised questions about why no grants had been funded last year. It was reported that there were few applications received and these were not of sufficiently quality to fund. The Society will now find better ways to advertise this. We should bring in c2k in our investments and we should be looking to spend that on grants.
One minor spelling error was pointed out (PapPal instead of PayPal).
The accounts were formally approved.
The independent examiner Zoe Crumbie was reappointed.
600 Report from the Editors
Two issues of the Review, volume 64, appeared last year, with Part II being late. 65 Part I is in the hands of the typesetters and will probably be out in June rather than May. The Editor reported that the flow of submission was adequate but there was still a dearth of articles on English agricultural/rural history. Articles from other parts of the British Isles, and mainland Europe have been more forthcoming. Part II will contain articles on international institutions in agriculture in the interwar years, so will be an extended volume.
The Editor thanked Catherine Glover for copy editing, the Book Reviews editor, Carnegie publishers and all those who have acted as referees for the Review this year.
He then went on to report that enormous progress has been made on LIBRAL in the last six months. The aim is to produce an online library of agricultural/rural literature, mainly from England, Scotland and Wales but also Ireland and parts of Europe. This will be a valuable public resource. A short presentation will be shown at the end of tomorrow morning’s session of the conference to highlight the project.
SWM reported that as Editor of RHT she is always looking for articles for this publication. The deadline for next issue is June 30th. She reported to the AGM that this will most likely be her final edition and the Society should seek a new editor for RHT for the January 2018 edition.
The Chair thanked SWM for editing RHT for 12 years and for making such a success of this publication, which reaches a different audience than the Review. If anyone would like to volunteer for the role as editor they should approach the Chair.
Carl Griffin, the local conference organiser, announced some amendments to the conference programme. At the end of the session before lunch tomorrow there will be a short introduction to LIBRAL. The second speaker tomorrow morning, Prof Louise Curth is unwell; in her place CG will present a paper on human-animal relations in Georgian England.
601 Any other business
One member of the Society asked what had happened to the Society’s publicity drive, promised at the AGM in 2014. The Chair confirmed that a new leaflet was made and distributed. There are copies of this available for further distribution if members require it.
602 Date of next meeting
TBC, but most likely 26th March 2018 in Somerset.