THE 21st Annual General Meeting of the Ollardale Society was held on March 25 at 8pm via Zoom. Ollardale is a co-operative buying group of local farmers that work together under the direction of a board of directors to obtain competitive bulk buying prices for members and which annually donates to local charities.
Chairman Johnny Coleman welcomed and thanked those in attendance, expressing special thanks to his fellow directors, to the special guest speaker Steven Thompson, representing the Motor Neurone Disease Association (NI), to the society secretary Heather Patterson, assistant secretary Naomi McLean, and James Gage, an accountant with Johnston Kennedy, for his accountancy work on behalf of the society.
Wives and children of members were also thanked for their assistance with technology to enable members to have access to the Zoom meetings.
Society secretary Heather Patterson gave a power point presentation updating the society members on activity throughout the year and outlined the accounts for the year ended 2020 in which £3,267,000 of goods were purchased by the 97 members. Another successful year of trading was detailed with members benefitting from purchasing discounts, loyalty rewards and substantial bonuses. The main products purchased were animal feed, fertiliser, dosing stuff, dairy chemicals and fuel.
Heather emphasised the importance of members supporting the society and had some future orientated and thought-provoking questions as to how the society can evolve to further assist the local farmer member to increase his or her revenue.
She asked if it may be an option to share skills, assets, equipment, hiring machinery, farm labour schemes, tender for outside contracts, pool resources, market products more effectively and look for niche markets to fulfil to add value.
Three of the directors retiring by rotation were re-elected for a further three years, namely Denis Boyd, George Robson and Stephen Weatherup.
Five hundred pounds was presented to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (NI) and £500 was presented to Macmillan Cancer Support. A letter of thanks was read from Macmillan and members had the privilege of hearing Steven Thompson speak passionately and informatively about the Motor Neurone Society and how it seeks to assist individuals living in Northern Ireland who face the daily challenge of having a Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis.