2010 AGM minutes

Minutes of the 58th Annual General Meeting of the British Agricultural History society held at the University of Durham at 6pm on Tuesday 30th March 2010

The meeting began at 6pm
Present: There were 29 members of the Society present. The Chair was taken by Dr John Broad, Chairman of the Executive Committee. Officers of the Society present were Prof J. A. Chartres (President), Dr N J Verdon (Secretary), Prof M Overton (Treasurer), Prof R W Hoyle (Editor, Agricultural History Review), Dr H French (Book Review Editor). Apologies were received from Brian Short.
530 Minutes of the 57th meeting were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
531 Matters arising from the minutes: None
532 Elections of Officers of the Executive committee
The following were elected unopposed:
President: Prof Alun Howkins
Treasurer: Prof Mark Overton
Secretary: Dr Nicola Verdon
Editor: Prof Richard Hoyle
Book Review Editor: Prof Henry French

The Chair thanked Prof John Chartres, the outgoing President, for his work on behalf of the Society.

533 Election of Ordinary members of the Executive committee
The following were elected unopposed
Dr Hilary Crowe
534 Report by Chairman of the Executive Committee
Dr Broad reported on the issue of electronic publication of back issues of the Review. He confirmed that an agreement with JSTOR had been signed, and the Review should be available on this resource by the end of the year, if not before. Negotiations were also taking place for electronic publication of more recent issues.
Dr Broad then reported on the preparations for Rural History 2010 conference, to be held at the University of Sussex in September. He also thanked Susanna Wade Martins for her continued work on Rural History Today, which continues to be very successful. Contributions from all members of the Society were encouraged.
535 Report from the Treasurer
Mark Overton reported that although the deficit on the year was £5097, the operating loss was £8796. The difference is accounted for by the rise in the value of the CAF bond and the M&G Charifund.
Income: Despite the subscription rise, income has not risen as much as we would have liked. Overall our income rose by £3379. Ordinary subscription income increased from £1694 and sales by £2724; in total £4,419. But our income from interest fell by £1697. In 2007-8 our interest income was £4271 compared with £1403 in 2009-10.

Expenditure: the supplement costs, including despatch and the leaflet came to £11,148 and if this is subtracted from expenditure our operating surplus was £2352. Given the subscription rise, this is disappointing. In 2006-7 production and despatch and leaflets for The Frontline of Freedom came to £8707. In addition, EC expenses double with the introduction of paying expenses to the Spring EC meeting. We have already spent £2181 in advance of the 2010 Rural history conference, but this is shown as an asset on the balance sheet rather than expenditure, since it will be recouped from conference income.

Membership: continues to decline. The fall in ordinary membership is a consequence of the subscription increase which prompted a number of members to resign. On the other hand, we are not gaining new members on the scale that we have done in the past. RH2010 presents a real opportunity to increase membership. The slow decline in institutional orders continues, but this demand is probably inelastic: even at £45 the Review is relatively cheap. Although the fall off in institutional sales was worrying, and may be further undermined by electronic publication, the Treasurer ended by reassuring the meeting that the general health of the Society was good, and there were opportunities for expanding membership in the future (such as Rural History 2010).

356 Report from the Editors
Professor Hoyle reported that volume 57 had contained 320 pages and the supplement ‘A common agricultural heritage?’ 576 pages, together containing 26 articles. The Review had also carried 48 book reviews. He reported that under the present financial constraints, no further supplements would be published for the time being. He reported a fluctuating supply of articles, but there was material in hand for 58 Part II and 59 Part I. Volume 58 Part I was now at the printers and Part II will appear as normal in November. Both will contain c.160 pages. Finally he also reported that a prize essay competition will take place next year to mark the 60th anniversary of the Society and more details would follow.
Professor Hoyle also added more detail about Rural History 2010. The number of proposals had been very large, around 230, and therefore the programme had been extended and an administrator employed. A conference budget had been drawn up, with approval from the Treasurer, and registration online would soon be available. It was hoped that this conference would be the first of a series, and the occasion of the launching of a federal European Rural History Society. Dr Paul Brassley has been representing BAHS interests in the discussions about the future European association. It was agreed that the Society’s email database will be used to advertise this event.
357 Any other business
The Winter conference will take place at the IHR on December 4th 2010, and will be on the theme of ‘Woods, trees and timber’.
Dr Verdon reported that a venue for the 2011 Spring conference was currently being sought in the East Anglian region with Easton College, Norwich, a good possibility. However their term dates mean that the conference would have to be shifted back a week to April 11-13, and would not follow directly after the Economic History Society conference, as is the usual practice. The meeting agreed that this would be acceptable.
538 Date of next meeting
To be confirmed