Agricultural Societies Program: Information for Agricultural Society Secretaries

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General job description
The secretary is our main contact for all agricultural society correspondence. This position keeps us in touch with your organization and keeps the agricultural society aware of Alberta Agriculture information. The secretary plays a major role in the communication of the organization.

Supplies to do the job
This list is meant to be a brief outline. While not everything is essential, most items should be considered.

      • Computer access with word processing capability
      • File cabinet - at least two drawer legal size
      • Three-ring binders
      • File folders
      • Two and three hole punches
      • Loose leaf paper, pens and pencils
      • Sense of humor and a lot of patience
Checklist of important documents and files
      • Copy of the Agricultural Societies Act
      • Copy of the agricultural society by-laws (updated to include all recent amendments)
      • Original agricultural society Charter
      • Copy of any lease agreements
      • Policy manual
      • List of all members
      • List of Directors and their term of office
      • Minutes
      • Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development contacts:
      • Year end reports
      • Revenue Canada reports
      • Grant application copies
      • Committee Reports
      • Newsletter copies
      • List of workshops available for your agricultural society
What you will receive in the mail from AAFRD
The job of the secretary is to distribute or respond to mailings. The secretary does not have to write all responses but is responsible for getting the information to the appropriate person. The secretary should keep a copy of all agricultural society correspondence in the files.

Regular mail
      • Grant applications
      • Alberta Lottery grant cheques are sent to all the agricultural societies in good standing, care of the president
      • Year end report forms
      • Request for the dates of next year's fairs and activities
      • Notice of any special or regional meetings
      • Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Newsletters
Important Date: January 15
The secretary must submit the Agricultural Society grant application and year end reports to the Farm and Rural Programs Branch by January 15, including:
      • Financial Statements
      • All Year-end reports
      • Agricultural Society grant application
The secretary is responsible to ensure all information is submitted to maintain the agricultural society's good standing under the Agricultural Societies Act. This does not mean the secretary must do all the preparation, but should ensure it is completed and sent on time.

Fair information
The date and a copy of the fair booklet must be submitted to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development as early as possible.

The secretary is often the contact person for fairs and activities. If this is the case, your responsibilities include:
      • Sending in the correct dates as soon as they have been established.
      • Sending a copy of the fair booklet at least six weeks prior to the fair.
General Job Description

Official record
  • The secretary keeps all official agricultural society records. These records should be stored in a filing cabinet in the office.
  • Secretaries often need a separate office space at home. The agricultural society should try to find a suitable filing cabinet to ensure that the files are not lost.
Record, distribute and file minutes
  • The secretary is responsible for the recording and distribution of the minutes. Minutes can be mailed to all members or to only the directors. This is at the discretion of the society.
  • Annual meeting minutes should be kept in a separate section.
The minutes of regular meetings should include:
  • Date and time of meeting
  • Who chaired the meeting and those present
  • All motions with names of mover and seconder
  • Summary of discussion - exact detail is usually not necessary
  • Outline of agenda
  • Any record of business for next meeting
  • Minutes should be approved as read and signed by the president and secretary
  • It is important for the secretary to distribute information to the proper committee or person
  • The secretary does not have to respond to all letters but should direct others to provide a copy of any correspondence written or sent on behalf of the agricultural society, for your records
Agenda preparation
  • The agenda can be presented at the first of the meeting or distributed prior to the meeting
  • The secretary should ensure that any tabled motions or discussion be listed under old business
Facility operating information
  • The secretary should maintain original copies of all legal documents such as land title documents, lease agreements, operating agreements and insurance policies
  • If there is cooperative agreement to operate a facility, all current details should be maintained
  • The operating grant application should be filed annually
  • The secretary should share some of the reading and writing responsibilities with other directors, which will make for a more enjoyable volunteer position
The secretary's position requires a high commitment of time and enthusiasm. In most cases, next to the president, the secretary represents the agricultural society to others.

Ideas on writing and recording minutes
Minutes - Meeting minutes are the only record of a committee, board or organization. They should be considered the history of the group. Without accurate records, the group will not have an official record of decisions, past actions, important dates, events and policies.
  • Minutes should be a reliable reference for the President and Committee Chair. They are essential for continuity and provide information for future committees and executives
  • Encourage all directors to submit written reports which can become part of the minutes
  • Minutes should be accurate and brief; a summary of outcomes
Motions - All motions should be noted and recorded
  • Discussion on the motion does not need to be recorded; the statement "Discussion followed the motion" is enough. If major discussion points are desired, this can be requested by the group. However, it is difficult for the secretary to interpret discussion in general, therefore, it is best left out
  • All motions should be recorded along with the names of the person moving it and the seconder, an underlined notation of either motion carried or motion defeated and the names of those who opposed the motion, if they so desire
  • Following the passing of a motion, the name(s) of the person(s) responsible for the takes or action should be recorded
  • For further references, motions referring to policy and procedure or committee terms of reference should be filed in those sections
  • Motions for By-Law changes should be attached to existing by-laws and the amended by-laws updated yearly
  • Updated by-laws are to be sent to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to be kept on record

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Fred Young.
This information published to the web on November 7, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 25, 2017.