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2010 Annual Report
Change was the theme for the NCHC in January of 2010. A new Educational Needs Survey was reviewed and plans on how to implement new programs were discussed. In general the need to promote both hands on programs and web based programs was made clear via the survey respondents. During this month the NCHC also participated in the Carolina Equine Summit and worked the South Carolina Department of Agriculture on development of equine programs. Highlights included the continued involvement of the NCHC in discussions on Soil and Water Conservation and the role of horse farms in preserving our farmlands and open space. Along with program changes, the NCHC website was redesigned and we welcomed friends on FACEBOOK!
The NCHC was actively engaged with local equestrians regarding multiple trail issues. These included a national thread of emails regarding new or existing scientific information which shows that horses are not a significant or primary source of invasive species on trails.
Water and Nutrient Regulations remained an important issue for the equestrian community. This month involved the preparation of a grant with the State Department of Water Quality and several local Division of Soil and Water Conservation Districts to study equine farm best management practices and potentially provide financial resources to equine farms to add clean water practices on their farm. Unfortunately we were not selected for funding but will try again in 2011!
The NCHC Board also developed in February a new PowerPoint presentation to help us recruit new members and answer the question: "What's in it for me?"
The month was heavily occupied by the second meeting of the NCHC Regional Caucuses. The NCHC returned to Lumberton, Williamston, Fletcher, Rockingham County and Raleigh Hunt Horse Complex to begin to develop regional plans. One exciting point at each meeting was the attendance of our new Board members! Each region discussed varies concerns and possible directions for development of the equine industry.
Star H Insurance assisted the NCHC by reviewing our insurance policies and helping us negotiate better rates. Big thanks to Butch and Lucinda Human for offering this assistance in an effort to hold down our costs in 2010!
Plans to conduct an Unwanted Horse Symposium began during this month. The intent of the symposium was to help identify the extent of the problem in NC and to help establish possible solutions.
Discussions were held with representatives of the Wake County Travel and Tourism Office and the NCHC to discuss marketing and promotion of Equine Events at the Hunt Horse Complex and surrounding Wake County. This group receives a percentage of the Hotel and Restaurant tax in Wake County. Their services are at no additional expense to our industry and they agreed to link to our events calendar.
The April NCHC Caucuses kicked off in Reidsville on April 12th. The meeting was held on the same evening as a County Board of Commissioner's meeting which limited our attendance. However, representatives from the Horse Park of the South did present an update on the Park's development along with a discussion on future funding raising efforts. Those in attendance strongly supported the continued development of this project. In addition, representatives from NC A&T were present to promote the importance of this project to their equine program. The trail community also attended to discuss unique trail ideas. The Williamston Caucus was held on April 15th and was attended by local Martin Community College Students, local horsemen and equine show promoters. Our discussions continue to center around establishing an internship between the NCHC and Martin Community College and looking at opportunities to promote the Bob Martin Agricultural Center for Equine Events. The concept of trying to establish a single source listing for all equine events in North Carolina was discussed. The Lumberton Caucus and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Multi-Purpose Facility at the Southeastern Agricultural center were held on April 20th. The groundbreaking for this facility represents a twenty plus year effort on behalf of many local equestrians who have worked diligently to provide a unique show facility for the southeastern part of our state. In attendance were the State Commissioner of Agriculture, representatives from our NCHC Caucus, local elected officials, state elected officials, members of the Board of Agriculture and other local horsemen. The NCHC Caucus was held that evening at the Lumber River Campground. Members present discussed on-going plans for the new facility as well as identifying other equine issues for the region. Watershed issues were also mentioned and a discussion on Best Management Practices for equine farms and facilities included fencing, development of buffers and proper water run-off management. Finally the group talked about trail riding safety issues and expressed a need for educating both riders and law enforcement personnel on the laws and regulations governing riding horse on or near roadways. The Western Caucus was held at the Polk County Isothermal Campus. Discussions at the Caucus centered around the many equine facilities serving the area and the need to work together on planning and funding show facilities across the state. In addition, the group discussed the Federal and State Right to Ride legislation. Many states have passed state legislation concerning the historical right to ride on state owned properties. Back Country Horsemen have been working on this for quite some time. Land conservation and preserving land to ride on was also discussed. The final issue that the group brought forth was the need to look at "recruiting" young people into the industry. Several action items were generated including brining facility managers together to discuss a statewide strategic plan, developing an equine economics "road show" to present the importance of the equine industry to growing jobs throughout the state and in the local counties, researching state right to ride legislation and forming a committee to look at strategies to bring young people into the industry.
The Jordan Lake Regulatory Committee met to develop the strategies in implementing the new rules. The committee discussed baseline calculations to be utilized in establishing district data collection. They also worked on definitions of agricultural operations pertaining to the rule. Nitrogen reduction reports were approved utilizing NLEW for cropland. Further areas of interest were pasture-based accounting and outreach to affected parties for agricultural and Fertilizer management rules. Outreach, education and BMP's are needed for horse operations with five or more horse.
A new NC Animal Ag Coalition or Animal Welfare Coalition was formed. The NC Farm Bureau held a Strategic Planning meeting on April 16th to develop the structure for the Coalition. Those in attendance included the NCHC, Pork Council, Beef Council, Poultry Federation, Egg Council, The Grange, Corn, Soybean and Cotton Commodity Leaders, North Carolina State, Dr. Todd See, North Carolina A&T representative and representatives from the NCAD&CS. Mr. Charlie Arnot from the Center for Food Integrity with funding from the United Soybean Board facilitated the meeting. The short term objectives for the group will be to build internal support for the existence of the Coalition, develop a communication plan, conduct a "coming out Party" and reach out to other allied groups. In addition, we need to inventory the public's attitude on Animal Welfare and develop a consistent message
The Jordan Lake Regulatory Committee met this month to continue discussions of how we are going to implement the new rules. The following is a brief outline of what we have discussed.
1. Soil and Water Conservation District Assistance Update
The NCHC was invited to exhibit at two major equine events during May, the Regional Quarter Horse Show at the Hunt Horse Complex and the Tanglewood Steeplechase. These events were successful in promoting awareness of the council.
This year's American Horse Council's National Issues Forum focused on infectious equine diseases and the impact those diseases have on our horses' welfare and our industry's health. The annual meeting was held from June 20 to 23 and also included a Trails Forum, the annual Congressional Ride-In, AHC committee meetings, and a Congressional Reception.
The State Horse Council Committee met for one full day during the AHC Annual meeting. During that time, the state horse councils once again discussed the need to establish an identity and recruit other horse councils to join our efforts. Towards that end, a name change was suggested to allow us to build a unique identity. The name of "Coalition of State Horse Councils" was presented to the AHC Board of Directors and approved by the Board. This is a positive step forward to bring all state horse council together for furthering our industry. Several new committees were identified within this structure including: Structure and Organization, Marketing, Mentoring and Membership and Financial.
The NCHC participated for the first time in a Livestock Appreciation Day at our State Legislature. The day included a breakfast hosted by the Pork Council and a lunch hosted by the Cattleman's association. There was also a milk chugging contest! It was a welcome site to be included in this day's activities as the Horse is Livestock and we need every opportunity to let our legislators understand our industry.
Legislatively June and July were very busy. We once again were unable to pass our specialty License Plate Bill as this issue continues to be discussed by our legislators. We were successful in addressing a proposed 3% leasing fee added to all of the State run Agricultural Facilities. These fees were proposed to help fund legislated ethics rules. The issue of this being unfair to the agricultural population influenced our state legislators to go back to the drawing board. Finally, we were successful in turning back the decision to remove $1,000,000 from the State Fair Surplus Fund. Dollars from this account are being used to help us update and improve our State run Equine Facilities!
The month began with a special meeting held at the North Carolina Rural Development Center. This meeting was to present The Family Farm Innovation Fund to the agricultural community. This is good news for the equine community as we are eligible to apply for these dollars. Five state and federal programs are partnering to make$18.4 million in assistance available to NC farmers over the next year. These programs are to help farmers...yes even equine farmers:
The Farm Bureau Policy Development Day reviewed all of the existing policies regarding equine. These policies include supporting the education of the public concerning proper care and management of equine to policies addressing statewide and national issues such as land preservation for trail use and a statewide right to ride bill. Also included in our discussions at the Farm Bureau was the need for all farmers to contact their congressmen and senator and encourage them to put forth reform of the Estate Tax, better known as the Death Tax. Without a new bill in January of 2011, this tax will revert back to a one million dollar exemption and a 55% tax on the remaining estate. This will be devastating to many of our North Carolina Farmers including Equine Farms!
The Horse Council submitted possible solutions to this issue to be used as discussion leading questions during the meeting. These included the following ideas:
1. Number of Equine Neglect and Cruelty Cases
1. Organization of Resources
The North Carolina Agribusiness council conducted a new two day conference in conjunctions with their annual leadership banquet. This meeting afforded the Horse Council access to all of our congressional candidates and a unique opportunity to ask each candidate their views on issues important to the equine community.
During the summer months of 2010 many towns and municipalities have been considering ordinances which impact the equine industry and horse owners within those communities. A letter was drafted and sent to all county managers describing to them the role of the North Carolina Horse Council and how we can help them in determining what is appropriate and fair to the equine industry.
September began with the preparation of materials for our annual financial review. We meet with representatives from Madison and Caison to go over financial documents and materials to complete the review process.
By-law revisions were prepared and discussed during September. They were prepared during this month to be disseminated and brought to a vote at the November Board of Directors Meeting.
The Mountain State Fair was a huge success this year. The booth was staffed by members of the Pisgah Trailblazers and the NC Back County Horsemen as well as NCHC staff. This year's display was centered on trail issues and the need for a "State Right to Ride" bill. Jackson's Western Store donated "Arthur", a life size mule, on which we were able to display a working pack. This was a show stopper!
The Unwanted Horse Symposium was held in Iredell County. The symposium not only discussed the perceived level of the problem, but also provided data from our NCDA&CS staff. The data was principally derived from our registered horse auctions conducted across the state. Several veterinarians also shared information from their practices which tend to show trends of potential unwanted horses. Animal control officers expressed their frustration in not having enough resources to attend to animal cruelty and neglect reports. Finally, a representative from the NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine presented information on donated horses. All of this information was discussed during the afternoon sessions in order to begin to develop possible solutions to the problem of Unwanted Horses.
An initial draft 2011 budget was prepared for review by the Executive Committee. Taking into account the trends of the past two years and declining referendum dollars, a bare bones budget looking at "staying the course" and developing secondary revenue streams was considered. Developing Memorandum of Agreements with multiple trail and equine associations was an initial strategy to increase revenue and influence. Two large trail associations were approached during October to initiate this process.
The grant program was also reviewed during this month. Looking at trends and who have received dollars from the NCHC, a new paradigm may need to be addressed.
A sub-committee from the NCSU Equine Husbandry Committee met to discuss strategies to lobby for increased support of the Equine Educational Unit. The following is a synopsis of that meeting.
The Western Caucus was held this month. A review of past meetings and a general discussion of legislative efforts for 2011 were debated. Overall the Caucus members support as a top priority the passage of a "State Right to Ride Bill". Several Caucus members volunteered to place significant effort for this bill. Education and involvement of our youth was also a topic of discussion. The need to provide more unique and "hands on" or lab type experiences was generally agreed upon. The Unwanted Horse Issue was addressed by the Caucus arriving at a general agreement that the need for networking among rescue groups was critical.
The month began with a public meeting on the proposed Yadkin River Greenway. The new proposal would include equestrian trails on the South side of the river. It was suggested that the planning group also consider adding a trailer head on the Lewisburg end of the greenway and that additional trails be added on the North side of the river. Unlike some other trail issues equestrian use has been considered from the beginning of this process.
Concerned equestrians' in Warren County contacted the Horse Council about potential zoning issues in their county and an upcoming public meeting. Warren County remains one of the few NC counties without county wide zoning. The discussion was an opportunity for citizens to weigh-in on the potential for zoning and the meaning of several new categories. Concern remains that land once zoned as residential/agricultural would become lakeside residential or just residential and exclude livestock. Several horse farms would be impacted by this decision.
The Southern Horse Festival was held in Williamston, NC again this year. Thanks to many volunteers and a lot of wonderful participants, the show was a great success! Bob Keen and Laura Montross served as excellent judges along with Pat Benton who served as our ring steward on Saturday. The Halifax County Horse Council hosted the new Trail Horse Challenge and Barb Oslund assisted as the scribe. The show grew this year and the new open show class list appears to have added more horses in each class. We also had increased corporate sponsorship and individual class sponsors.
Two Caucuses were held during November. The Williamston Caucus was held prior to the Southern Horse Festival at the Bob Martin Agricultural Center. What a great turn-out, as over 30 Martin Community College Students attended the Caucus. A lively discussion followed on how to develop the equine industry and have jobs available for these wonderful students. The use and preservation of our wonderful state owned equine facilities was a topic of major concern. Some caucus members present felt that certain aspects of our equine industry were not being considered when open horse shows were held. This included some of our working cow and other gaming aspects of the industry. The students have been challenged to submit the best two day show schedule to include all aspects of the industry and to submit these to the NCHC office for consideration at next year's Southern Horse Festival.
The Rockingham County Caucus met at the NC Ag-extension Office. The discussion included the need to address agricultural present use value for equine farmers. In addition, the issue of zoning and regulating the number of horses or other livestock someone can house within certain zoned areas was of equal concern to the caucus members present. Further discussion on equine facilities and the need for managers of all such facilities to come together to discuss utilization and growth of shows was identified as a priority.
The final narrative for the new North Carolina Horse Council Foundation was submitted this month. It is anticipated that our IRS request will take from 3 weeks at the earliest to 6 months at the worst. However, once the official paperwork has been filed with the NC Secretary of State, we can begin operating as a 501 c 3 and must complete the final IRS process within 27 months.
The first Memorandum of Understanding was negotiated with the BCHNC. More MOU are currently being discussed with other equine associations.
Great things are happening within the Equine Industry. As we continue to grow our $1.9 Billion NC Industry, several local trainers and business stepped up to help in November. Pat and Trent Benton are now offering to all of their new clients a free membership to the NCHC. Also offering a free NCHC membership to all of their new clients is Equine IR Carolina.
After several years of discussion and development, the North Carolina Horse Council Foundation finally becomes a reality! The Foundation was formed to allow us to benefit the Equine Industry by allowing individuals and corporations to make a tax deductible gift to a 501 c 3 organization. The NCHC can remain a 501 c 5 agricultural organization and continue our policy, regulation, and lobbying efforts. Working together we can improve the equine community for all of us. We are currently in the process of creating materials to begin our development campaign for the Foundation.
Barb Oslund and the Trail Committee identified a potential grant source to work on creating educational programs for the equine community regarding nutrient management and water quality farms. The grant proposes to work within The Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Catawba, and Cape Fear River Basins; Goose Creek Basin, Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, and Randleman Lake watersheds. A pre-proposal was submitted and we are now waiting to see if we are selected for the next step.
The North Carolina Animal Welfare Coalition continued to meet to discuss how to present our position on livestock welfare and how best to get our message out to the legislators and the general public. A meeting at the NC Farm Bureau to discuss creating marketing messages, how to create behavior change and potential funding models for the Coalition were discussed. The NCHC will need to consider a financial commitment in 2011.
Synopsis of Lumberton Caucus
The following is a brief synopsis of the meeting discussion.
Critical Equine Issues were presented by Sue Gray, Executive Director of the NCHC. These issues in their entirety can be located on the NCHC website at: www.nchorsecouncil .com
o Agri-Tourism in Robison County and surrounding areas
If anyone has any additional information to post to the Caucus, please submit them to the NCHC Office and they will be distributed to the group.
Meeting called to order at 6:30 PM
Past Meeting Review
Major Equine Issues
Marketing/Growth of Equine Industry
Western Region Priorities
Minutes submitted by Nancy Z. Wilson, 2/26/10
January - The year began with presentations to the Carolina Equine Summit in Camden, S.C. and the North Carolina Arabian Horse Association Annual Meeting. The NCHC was invited to speak with the Orange and Durham County Soil and Water Conservation meeting to discuss horse farming for the future. This allowed the equine industry to relate to other agricultural leaders the role that horse farms take in preserving our farmland and open space. Quarterly meetings began with our two trail consultants as we continue to be faced by multiple trail issues. The Consultants and Executive Director worked to complete a trails survey to be implemented in 2010. Trail issues included a proposal to the Durham Committee on Open Space and Trail Development to include equestrian use of the American Tobacco Trail from the county line to Massey Chapel Road. Finally, we successfully recruited our Education Grants and enrolled three Bronze Sponsors.
February - The NCHC participated in the "Barnyard" legislative chat sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Both State and National issues were discussed including the issue of equine slaughter. Perhaps one of the most important outcomes of this meeting was the support generated from our sister commodity groups regarding equine legislative issues. In addition issues of euthanasia were discussed and consensus generated that livestock owners desired to be free to make their own choices. The need to stay vigilante on legislation that might impact livestock was stressed at the meeting. A brief discussion of present use value, land use and ETJ issues were also discussed.
The American Tobacco Trail issues were on-going in February and with the help of Leslie Kennedy and other Durham County trail users plans were made to discuss our concerns with the Durham City Council. The Trail Grants were also posted during this month.
Several speaking engagements occurred during February including the Orange County Agricultural Summit and the Agri-business Council Forum with the Council of State members. The month closed out with a meeting in our West Region One. The meeting was intended to begin to identify interested NCHC membership within the Region.
March - This month was heavily occupied by legislative and trail issues. A new Legislative Committee was convened for the first time by the new Chairperson, Curtis Potter. The NCHC also participated in the Farmers Briefing hosted by Representative David Price. This meeting afforded us an opportunity to further equine issues with both our state and federal legislators. Another key issue was brought to our attention this month regarding the existing state building code and its impact on the equine industry. The NCHC requested and held meetings with State Representative Brubaker and our State Insurance Commissioner Goodwin to begin the legislative process to address this issue. Work began to develop a bill to correct the problem.
Trail issues included the American Tobacco Trail and speaking with the Durham City Council to make sure that the Durham portions of the trail remained open to equine use. The Durham County Farmland Protection Board was contacted and agreed to prepare a resolution to support equine farming and the use of the ATT.
New reporting forms for membership were developed and the month ended with a presentation from members of the NCSU Equine Unit and explanations of their needs.
April - April saw the continuing development of our Western Region. Several Board members assisted in identifying potential key individuals in an effort to build our membership. Statewide membership renewals reminders were also sent out during this month.
Legislative issues were highlighted once again as the NCHC worked to support the building code reform and to promote the passage of our specialty license plate. The NCHC participated in the Agri-Business Council Legislative Committee and identified common concerns with other agricultural commodity groups. Nationally the Equine Slaughter issue was in the forefront of our concerns. Sue Wallis, Representative from Wyoming, initiated a national effort in opposing the existing legislation on the transportation of horses for human consumption (commonly referred to as the Slaughter Bill). We endorsed her efforts and participated in the national effort by writing letters to our state representatives as well as the national delegation and President Obama.
The Education Committee was reconvened this month and began setting new priorities for the NCHC education efforts. Lengthy discussions were held on trying to identify new or alternative methods of providing or linking our membership to existing educational programs.
Trail Grants were awarded during this month. Fifteen Grants were received with a possible maximum funding of $1500. What a difficult task for the committee with all of the worthwhile grants that were submitted! Plans for the Trail School were firmed up during this month with the receipt of Uwharrie's pledge of cooperation and the dates of September 24-27 confirmed.
May - Dianne Lesher, from Equisure Insurance, came to Raleigh during May to discuss our member insurance benefits. Dianne was very informative regarding our liability insurance and clarified that if any of our members hold an additional policy that the NCHC policy will "stack" providing a total of $2 million in coverage. She also shared information on a new "Trainer's Policy".
With the Legislature in session, this month was very busy with the continuation of our legislative agenda. The Equine Specialty Plate was proceeding as planned and the Building Code Bill passed the House 99-0. We remained watchful on the new Equine Industry Board Bill which was brought forward with the release of the new Equine Economic Impact Study which was also released during this month. Several special requests for legislative support were sent to our membership with a very positive response. The NCHC continued our work with the Agri-Business Council on related issues including immigrant labor programs.
During this month the new Equine Economic Impact Study was released.
The Trail Consultants and NCHC staff continued to meet working on trail initiatives and our organizational strategic plan. The Eastern Trails committee held monthly meetings and the Western Trails Committee accepted the resignation of Bev Duvall and began the search for a new committee chair. The Kentucky Horse Council published a new trail guide and the NCHC negotiated a reduce cost of the guide for NCHC members. The booklet is sold to the general public at $8 but is offered to our membership for $6.
Worked continued through May on the Southern Horse Festival as the new dates were confirmed for November 7-8, 2009 and sponsorship requests were mailed out.
June/July - The summer months remained very busy for the NCHC. Trail work dominated the months. The NCHC supported an Eno River Benefit Concert and continued work on the Trail School. We successfully negotiated for a waiver of the use fee at the Uwharrie Forrest. We also posted a notice to our members regarding a new national database which will be collecting information on closure of trails on national public lands. Other discussions with Orange County Representatives and Durham County Representatives on possible equestrian trails in Little River Regional Park were conducted.
Legislative issues remained active over these summer months. An agri-business legislative luncheon with our state agricultural legislators was held. We continued to push for our specialty license plate and HB 780 Building Code/Exempt Equestrian Arenas was signed into law! We continued to watch a bill to study the impact of property tax exemptions and the potential of recreational taxes. The Sunday Hunting bill did not make the cross over and so was off the table for 2009. We continued to monitor the Equine Industry Board bill.
The US Department of Agriculture held public listening sessions on the National Animal Identification System program and multiple meetings were held to discuss animal rendering and processing issues. And finally during this month we began the planning of five regional meetings to disseminate the Findings and Recommendations of the Equine Industry Study.
August - The NC Rural Development Center contracted with the NCHC to organize and conduct five regional meetings on the Equine Study. Five sites were identified: These were: the Western Agricultural Center, Reidsville Community College, Hunt Horse Complex, Southeastern Agricultural Center and the Martin Agricultural Center. The NCHC also participated in the annual Farm Bureau Policy Day. The Farm Bureau's Equine Committee joins with us in many legislative goals including: land conservation issues, building code regulations and other policies impacting our industry.
Meetings with our Auditor began this month in preparation for the annual audit. We implemented new reporting procedures.
A highlight of this month was the NC Agri-business tour with our congressional Staff members. This three day tour gave us the opportunity to visit with the congressional staff members and shore our view point on critical industry issues. While no equine farms were on the tour this year a promise was made to add one on next year's tour.
September - Lots of planning occurred during September as we continued our work on the regional meetings and actually held our first three meetings during the end of the month. The meetings were well attended and all agreed to follow-up NCHC Caucuses. This was also our third year participating in the Mountain State Fair. This year we kicked off our new membership campaign at the Fair, with the Campaign: Win a Thousand Pounds of Horse Feed. Finally we successfully held our Trail Master Certification School with 12 students of a maximum 15 in attendance.
As a result of participating on the Congressional Bus Tour, the NCHC was asked to serve on a sub-committee on Agriculture addressing the new rules on nutrient levels and the river basins. We are finally at the table.
October - The Regional meetings were concluded during October. And all five sites were unanimous in agreeing to follow-up NCHC Caucuses. Final planning was held for the Southern Horse Festival and successful recruitment of class sponsors and award sponsors. Three major breed associations, The North Carolina Arabian Horse Association, The North Carolina Quarter Horse Association and the North Carolina Hunter Jumper Association provided major sponsorships for the SHF. In addition Star H Insurance and the NC Farm Bureau were major sponsors. Several Board Members and Southern States sponsored several of our classes. Our goal for 2010 will be to have all of our Board members participate!
Notice for public comment on the NC Division of Parks and Recreation 2009 System-wide Plan for NC State Parks was posted and an NC HC response was prepared.
Our audit began this month and due to great pre planning all went smoothly and quickly in an effort to hold down our costs. We drafted the new 2010 budget for review during this month.
National work on the development of standards and rules for the National State Horse Council Committee were drafted and reviewed during this month.
The Council maintained visibility via an on-site display during the State Fair and the booth remained at the Hunt Horse Complex throughout the month. Other initiatives included a preliminary meeting with the NC Agri-Medicine Institute to discuss how the livestock commodity groups might become more involved.
November - November was highlighted by an interview on National Public Radio regarding the results of the Equine Economic Impact Study. We successfully conducted the Southern Horse Festival with over a 400% increase in profits! And we successfully conducted the five regional caucuses. The primary purpose of these meetings was to:
Finally, we began discussion with the Pisgah Trailblazers regarding co-sponsoring a trail safety school in the spring of 2010.
December - During December the NCHC was heavily involved with nutrient management and watershed issues. As a member of the agriculture sub-committee we are still working on the Falls Lake Plan. The NCHC was appointed to the The Jordan Lake Committee to begin to develop plans on how to enforce the new rules. The Durham County Soil and Water Conservation district representatives and the USDA representatives invited the NCHC to participate in discussions to determine the Durham and Wake County funding priorities.
Representative from the Agri-Supply Company met with us to discuss the needs of the equine industry and how their company might become more involved. It was a very positive discussion with a commitment from them to work with the NCHC.
While our web statistics remained high throughout the year a new "look" was developed for 2010. The new design will pose a question of the week, highlight the store and a store item and create a more interactive page. In addition, a NCHC Facebook page was developed which will assist us in our marketing efforts and allow us to push out information to select target groups.
Discussions continued through December for the formation of a new national state horse council organization.
SUMMARY and HIGHLIGHTS
This was a year of several major accomplishments. The contract with the NC Rural Development Center provided not only increased revenue but also increased visibility. This effort and the resulting NCHC Regional Caucuses place us in the lead as we negotiate for the economic future of the equine industry. In addition we saw a 400% increase in our revenue from the Southern Horse Festival as this event continues to grow in the Eastern part of our State.
Trail issues once again dominated the year, specifically the negotiations with the City of Durham and issues facing the American Tobacco Trail. We saw increased membership within several trail organizations. Looking towards the future the new coalition of trail advocate and user groups formed in 2009 continued to pursue joint legislative efforts which will benefit us all. A Grant funded a trail schools for 2009 and we successfully completed the school in September.
We were successful in building our relationships with multiple state agencies as we became involved with legislative and budgetary issues connected to our state equine facilities and management of those facilities. We continued to carefully monitor Tax assessment and revenue issues this year. We were not successful in passing the necessary legislation for our NC Horse Council License Plate but are hopeful once again for 2010. The year was rounded out by the successfully passing of our new exemption from the building code of equestrian arenas/facilities.
Technologically we have continued to advance our web presence. We grew the Equine Directory and improved our electronic communication to our membership as evidenced in our many legislative requests that were responded to by our members. To date we continue to change our webpage every Monday and continue to show increased traffic to our site.
I would like to personally thank ALL of the NCHC Board members who have helped to make this year a success. I would also like to highlight in this year-end report the outstanding work of four members of our Board. These members provided outstanding service to the Council. Sammy Jenkins for his wonderful leadership and dedication to the Southern Horse Festival, Lucinda Human, as a new board member, for her participation at the SHF and creative marketing ideas , Bob Sanford for his leadership in assisting in the development of new marketing and membership campaigns and last but not least, Clare Reece Glore for her support and attention to the financial issues facing the NCHC . Please welcome in the New Year by taking the time to thank Sammy, Lucinda, Bob and Clare for a job well done!
Western Region Organization
The month began with a trip to West Region One. We continue to develop the region and identify district representatives. I had the opportunity to visit with Bill and Billy Parton.
We have several active legislative initiatives. Glenn Jernigan and I continue to work with legislators and our membership to support these interests. Currently HB 780 has moved through the House Agriculture Committee to the House Committee on State Government and Personnel. We continue to seek active support from our membership in support of this legislation. In addition, the NCHC Specialty License Plate remains viable. Glenn Jernigan has clarified that the cost will be $48 renewable annually. We are still checking on the weighted plate issue but Glenn has reported that the plate should apply.
Membership renewal notices have been sent out to those past members who have not yet re-joined. In addition, we have sent out a letter to existing Equine Associations who have not joined us in the past and encouraged them to consider becoming part of us. All Agri-business sponsors have now received their plaques.
The Education Committee meet on April 13th to set priorities and discuss new or alternative methods of providing or linking our membership to existing educational programs. The minutes will be posted on the website.
The Trail Grant Review committee had a difficult task in reviewing all of the trail and community grants. 15 Grants were received with a possible maximum funding of $1500. Things are firming up for the trail course, we have Uwharrie's pledge of cooperation, dates of September 24 - 27 have been confirmed.
The new Executive Director of the Cattleman's Association requested information on establishing a commodity referendum. I have shared our materials with them and continue to support a sister commodity group.
Finally, the Agri-Business Council's Legislative Committee met at the NCDA&CS to discuss current legislative efforts. All those in attendance were looking to support each other and find common ground.
The month ended with attendance at the NCSU Equine Husbandry Committee meeting. Among other agenda items, Lawson Walston and Dr. Paul Siciliano explained the Equine Units programs and needs as well as the Research Barn needs. Two immediate issues emerged including: a new scale for the research barn and a new fence charger.
The month of February began with the opportunity to participate in legislative and regulatory discussions with sister commodity groups, NC Farm Bureau and the NC Department of Agriculture. Each group expressed their legislative interests. Both State and National issues were discussed. Regarding the issue of Equine Slaughter, the NC Cattleman's association voiced their support for our position and encouraged other attendees to do so as well. In addition issues of euthanasia were discussed and the opinion that livestock owners desired to be free to make their own choices. The platform of HUSUS and PETA were discussed and our need to stay vigilant on legislation that might impact livestock. Commissioner Troxler asked if anyone wanted him to bring up an issue at the National Conference of State Agricultural Leaders. He stated that he would voice our opposition to the Slaughter Bill. Land use and ETJ issues were mentioned.
Karen McAdams invited me to speak at the Orange County Agricultural Summit. The meeting was very well attended and I was able to speak with several local and state legislators. The issue of "Equine Farming" and land use were discussed.
The Agri-business Council held a forum with several members of the Council of State. I had the opportunity to discuss the formation of an affiliated 501 c-3 with the Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall. I was also able to speak to the two lobbyists for the Agri Business Council regarding mutual issues of concern including Euthanasia issues, Sunday Hunting and land us.
Trail issues remain center stage. Leslie Kennedy and discussed strategies to promote the Durham portion of the American Tobacco Trail. She and I scheduled a work meeting with members of the Durham City Council for mid March. Trail grants were posted on the web.
I was invited to attend a review of the Economic Impact Study presented by the three University's charged with its completion. The Study and its recommendations were discussed. Billy Ray Hall asked we not discuss the findings of the study until the official documents were presented to the Legislature latter in March. However the study results are positive showing an increase in our equine population and economic impact to the state. A recommendation to place several blank bills with the legislature was made to hold a place for putting forth recommendations from the study.
Jon Jachen, Regional Manager for the West Region One held an organizational meeting in Pisgah Forest. I was able to speak with several interested individuals about district representation and how to organize the region. Jon was assigned an inventory of our NCHC Store materials for sale in the Region as a pilot market.
Finally we made several improvements to our website activating our committee buttons and posting meeting minutes.
Our Legislative agenda included the development of a potential legislators' survey to determine equine knowledge and interest. A list of legislators by district was also prepared so that we can begin to identify potential Equine Industry Board Members.
The development of new Agri-business sponsors is imperative to the future of the NCHC. Towards that end we have welcomed on board two new Bronze sponsors this month and the renewal of one past sponsor.
Multiple presentations were made this month. The Carolina Equine Summit in Camden S.C. was attended by over 40 people. The S. C Horse Council and the SC Dept of Agriculture expressed a desire to hold a joint meeting this year. Discussions are on-going. In addition, the Horse Council was asked to speak at the Orange County Soils and Water Conservation meeting to present Horse Farming for the Future. The role of horse farms as they relate to preserving our farmland and open space was discussed. The Durham Committee on Open Space and Trail development submitted a proposal after the NCHC presentation to included equestrian use of the American Tobacco Trail from the county line to Massey Chapel Road. Finally, the NC Arabian Horse Association conducted their annual meeting which included a presentation on the state of the Horse Council.
2008: The Year in Review
January - The year began with presentations to the National Equine Facilities Conference and the North Carolina Arabian Horse Association Annual Meeting. Quarterly meetings were also started with our two trail consultants as we continue to be faced by multiple trail issues. The Council moved forward with the newly funded Equine Study by sending out requests to all Equine Associations requesting endorsements for the Study Brochure. In addition, we continued work on the feed referendum by submitting all appropriate materials to NCSU Officials for distribution. A new regional managers training manual was completed as well as conducting our first training meeting for the newly identified managers. Finally, we successfully reviewed our Education Grants.
February - Work continued through February on the Referendum, the Equine Economic Impact Study and Grant reviews. In addition several speaking engagements including the American Saddlebred Association Convention and an open Equestrian interest meeting in Chowan County occurred. We prepared a new agribusiness incentive program. Discussions were held with the city of Raleigh to clarify water use at the Hunt Horse Complex which was placed under Stage 2 restrictions. Continued improvements were made to our Webpage.
March - The Education Grants were awarded during March and our Trail Grants were posted. Several meetings were attended including: the NCSU Department of Animal Science Equine Advisory Committee Meeting and the NCHC Education Committee Meeting. We also meet with the NCSU Equestrian Club to discuss the possibilities of being joint sponsors of a new Raleigh Benefit Horse Show. Trails activity included the second meeting of the trails consultants and plans for a new Trail Grid. In addition work continued with the newly formed Friends of Hill Forest. A new format for an Equine Directory was put into place. And to conclude the month, the Referendum was successfully passed.
April - New activities in April included speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony at the Martin Center in Williamston. Two new barns are being built. Meetings with the Equine Extravaganza Sponsor and regional mangers also occurred during this month. Trail issues continued to be addressed as the NCHC assisted the Friends of Hill Forest in their efforts. Several discussions were held with the NC Department of Agriculture on the ten year plans for the State's Equine Facilities. A new Southern Horse Festival budget was prepared and reviewed. Work continued on the Economic Study and the review of the State Equine Facilities. Finally a grant was prepared and submitted to the State Parks for an NCHC sponsored Trail School
May - In May, the NCHC was recognized for our work during the drought regarding hay relief. Trail Grants were awarded and the quarterly meeting with the trail consultants was held. Continued discussions were held with the Friends of Hill Forest. Work on the RMI Benefit Horse Show and the Southern Horse Festival was on-going during May. A new membership flyer was prepared and distributed. The webpage was changed to add the new equine directory and the Sponsors page was updated. The NCHC submitted an application to the American Horse Council for the Van-Ness Award. Legislative activity was prominent during this month as we worked on the new horse council license plate.
June/July - Trail and Communities Grants were funded during this time period. Health Grants were posted. Meetings were held with Legislative and Agricultural leaders, the Economic Development Officer of Martin County, members of the Travel and Tourism Department of Martin County and researchers from Western Carolina University regarding the Economic Impact Study. Representatives of the NCHC attended the American Horse Council's National Issues Forum in Washington, DC. In addition, I participated as a judge for the State 4-H contest. Several issues regarding Equine Disaster Planning were also discussed during this month. The NCHC increased our presence in the Equine Community by participating in the NC Equine Extravaganza. Recruitment for new Regional Managers was on-going.
August - A Western Regional Meeting was conducted. In addition, the NCHC attended a news conference in Fletcher regarding the role out of the new ten year plan and the improvements for equine events at this facility. A newly formed legislative committee meeting was held during this month and a new legislative agenda was identified. Staff attended the Farm Bureau Policy review day and several meetings in Columbus County which resulted in increased membership. Our last round of grants, the Health Grants, was awarded.
September - Once again, the NCHC staffed a booth at the Mountain State Fair during September. The Council was asked to participate in the review and interviews for the new Hunt Horse Complex Manager. Several trail meetings occurred including meetings with the Pisgah Trailblazers and the NC Back Country Horsemen. The Trail consultants and staff continued work on the new Trail Grid. Trail work this month included meeting with Dean Brown of NCSU to negotiate a compromise on the use of Hill Forest. SHF and RMI planning continued.
October - A new trail opportunity was discussed with Chatham County. A meeting between Friends of Hill Forest and NCSU was established. Meetings were held with a new coalition of trail user groups to establish joint legislative agendas. Financial reviews were begun with the auditor and a first draft of the 2009 budget was constructed. The council participated in the NC State Fair, identified a new West Region One Manager and held a meeting to discuss the NCHC role in assisting with the development and support of the NCSU Equine Unit.
November - November was highlighted by the successful completion of the Raleigh Benefit Horse Show. Representatives attended the State Horse Council Meeting in Minnesota. Several follow-up meetings occurred after the State Horse Council meeting to begin the development of a potential new national organization of State Councils. Trail work saw the completion of the meeting with NCSU and a positive outcome for future talks. In addition, discussions with the federal representative of the Overland Victory Trail were positive in the possibility of including Equine trails. Meetings were held with the Etowah Riding Club and other members of the West Region to discuss possible organization and improving communications in the West Region. Financial issues were addressed including negotiating a reduced insurance rate for 2009. A new Educational Program was identified and plans have been made to hold the first seminar in 2009.
December - The year was completed by holding a strategic planning meeting. Discussions are on-going for the formation of a new national state horse council organization. The Southern Horse Festival was conducted in Williamston with lots of positive response. The new Hunt Horse Complex manager was welcomed to the Council. Our new 2009 Budget was completed and approved.
This was a year of several major accomplishments. The Council was operating under a newly constructed budgetary process. Two new equine events, the Raleigh Benefit Horse Show and the Southern Horse Festival were successful. The development of additional equine educational seminars began this year and two new course concepts were identified: the good, the bad and the ugly of hoof care and legal issues 101 for equine owners.
Trail issues dominated the year, specifically the negotiations with NC State University and the Friends of Hill Forest. However, multiple new trail friends and allies were achieved this year. We saw increased membership within several trail organizations. Looking towards the future a new coalition of trail advocate and user groups has been formed and we continue to pursue joint legislative efforts which will benefit us all. A new trail grid identifying trails in North Carolina is another major highlight for this year. A Grant funded two trail schools for 2008. Both schools were well attended with a request to hold more!
We were successful in building our relationships with multiple state agencies as we became involved with legislative and budgetary issues connected to our state equine facilities and management of those facilities. The Council actively participated in the development of the new Equine Disaster Plan. Tax assessment and revenue issues were also highlighted this year as we gained a positive legal outcome on the interpretation of GS 105 and GS 106 which favored equine owners and farmers. We were not successful in passing the necessary legislation for our NC Horse Council License Plate but are hopeful for 2009. The year was rounded out by the beginning identification of an equine friendly legislative caucus.
Technologically we have continued to advance our web presence. We successfully launched a new Equine Directory and improved our electronic communication to our membership. To date we receive over 140,000 visits to our webpage per month.
I would like to personally thank all of the NCHC Board members who have helped to make this year a success. I would also like to highlight in this year-end report the outstanding work of two new members of our Board. These new members provided outstanding service to the Council: Sue Grayson for her wonderful leadership and dedication in making the Raleigh Benefit Horse Show an outstanding success and Curtis Potter for his leadership in assisting in the development of the Western Region, legal advice to the Friends of Hill Forest and his active participation on the newly formed Legislative Committee. Please welcome in the New Year by taking the time to thank Sue and Curtis for a job well done!