Covering a broad swath of the produce industry as a whole and the onion industry more specifically, this year’s National Onion Association Summer Convention speakers will share individual insights at the July 13-16 event in Niagara Falls, NY.
The spectacular venue for this event is The Sheraton at the Falls, where receptions, general sessions and meetings as well as the Friday night banquet will be held. Lodging is discounted for NOA attendees, and early booking is strongly recommended as Niagara Falls draws 12 millions visitors each year – and July is one of the busiest times.
NOA Director of Public and Industry Relations Kim Reddin told OnionBusiness.com the speaker line-up this year features Don Goodwin, owner of Minnetrista, MN-based Golden Sun Marketing; Brian Nault, associate professor at Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY; John Stenderup, senior sales executive for C.H. Robinson in Eden Prairie, MN; and Maureen Torrey, vice president of Torrey Farms in Elba, NY.
Goodwin, Nault and Stenderup will speak during the convention’s business and educational sessions, and Torrey will deliver the address at the Friday night banquet.
Goodwin has been recognized as one of the “Top 25 Leaders of Influence” by The Packer, and his experience in procurement, wholesale, marketing, and merchandising lends him a unique perspective of issues that span the fresh produce supply chain.
Another vantage point will be shared by Nault, whose position in the Department of Entomology at Cornell gives him detailed understanding of the biology and ecology of insects that attack and/or spread viruses. Brian is also familiar with insects that are beneficial to specialty crops, and he comes ready to share “the latest local/regional and national findings about the friends and foes of onion plants,” the NOA says.
At C.H. Robinson, John Stenderup has his finger on the pulse of transportation and will discuss how truck transportation might change in the next five to 15 years. “From mild to wild, future logistic possibilities and present day realities will be on tap Thursday afternoon,” the NOA program promises.
And at the banquet on Thursday night, Maureen Torrey, who is known as a vegetable producer/distributor and ag advocate from an 11-generation farming family – try to top that! – and she’s optimistic about what the farming future holds for the new vegetable producers set to come on board. Her extensive resume includes dealing in specialty crops as well as advocating for the shaping of government policy, and she and brothers John and Mark are preparing to turn the reins of the family farm, which has been going since the 1600s, over to the 12th generation.
View a NOA video including comments from Maureen Torrey.
Remember that registration for the convention closes on June 20 if you register on line at https://www.onions-usa.org/members/noaconventions. Mailed registration forms must be received prior to June 20, should you choose that method. General registration is $475 per person and includes seven meals, three receptions, speakers, tours and more.
Also, remember to bring a current U.S. passport if you intend to cross into Canada during your stay.
In addition to receptions and business meetings/sessions, the convention will give attendees the chance to take a walking tour Thursday to Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park and then board boats for the “Maid of the Mist” tour on river below American and Canadian Falls. There’s also a special “food tour” set in the Atrium of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, where food stations will feature students’ “Epicurean Arts.”
Friday brings a combined Agriculture/Attractions Tour, with buses leaving at 7 a.m. and breakfast served in Elba, NY. A family business focused on onion harvesting and packing equipment will be visited, followed by a trip to a packing facility preparing early transplant onions for market. Then the tour moves to an onion farm in the famed New York muck lands, with a lunch break at the Erie Canal in Gasport where an onion sorting and packaging equipment company is headquartered.
Extracurricular activities include either a white water jet boat experience through Devil’s Hole Class V rapids and the Whirlpool or a tour of Old Fort Niagara, an interactive site that shows life during the country’s founding in the 1700s.
For additional information, contact the National Onion Association, 970-353-5895.