Washington’s Tri-Cities is the venue for 2017’s Summer NOA Convention, with the Red Lion Richland Hanford House serving as the primary venue for the July 19-22 event.
The convention kicks off Wednesday, July 19, with a registration reception from 6-8:30 p.m. at the hotel, and registration continues on Thursday from 8 a.m. until noon. Breakfast buffet will run from 7-8:30 a.m., and committee meetings will take place from 8:30-10 a.m.
Trustees will meet from 10:15-11:30, followed by lunch noon- 1p.m. General sessions will run from 1:15-4 p.m. and will “key on industry current events and pertinent topics,” the NOA convention brochure says.
Kim Reddin, director of public and industry relations at the NOA, told OnionBusiness, “Notably, the Tri-Cities area is central to one of the most progressive onion growing areas in the country. Registrations are at 150-plus, with more coming in each day.”
Kim said the Summer Convention represents “every member’s distinct opportunity to explore what’s new in crop research and protection and to see the latest advancement in packing and shipping technology.”
And, she said, the 2017 speaker line-up is “dynamic, and I am confident the networking, tours, and auction will be enjoyable and fun.”
During the speakers’ sessions, trends, opportunities, challenges and public relations will be highlighted, along with issues such as national highway, rail and ocean freight along with crop insurance, consumer purchasing, crop research and the new administration’s ambitions and policies.
Speakers this year include Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), who has a key role in developing U.S. and International transportation policy. During his presentation, Friedmann will give NOA members an in-depth look at the state of the transportation industry, including new and pending legislation that affect transportation and trade.
Ben Thiel, director of the Spokane Regional Office for the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, will also give a presentation. A 15-year veteran of the USDA, Ben will address whole farm revenue protection, “a new and dynamic form of crop insurance and changes within the insurance industry that will impact agriculture producers.”
Lindsey du Toit, Ph.D., professor and extension plant pathologist at the Washington State University Mount Vernon Research & Extension Center, is also on the speakers’ roster. Dr. du Toit directs a research, extension, and teaching program focused on diseases of vegetable and vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest, and she will discuss strategies being used in the Columbia Basin for diagnosing, testing, and treating various onion diseases.
And Tim Waters, Ph.D., regional vegetable specialist with Washington State University Extension, will speak as well. For the past 11 years he has specialized in integrated pest management in vegetable crops of the Lower Columbia Basin, including onions and potatoes. He will share recent findings and explain how the program started, how his extension and research efforts have improved the profitability and sustainability of area producers and what comes next.
A very special “Relaxing in Richland” time is slated for 6:30-9 p.m. on Thursday at the hotel. Attendees will be treated to views of the Columbia River over “farm to fork” food and beverages. The brochure notes the fare “features the bounty of the Northwest,” with surf and turf, regional fruit and veggies, breads and nuts – as well as wines and juices.
Meet up with your friends and friendly competitors during this time, and take part in the Summer Auction, a live event held during the Thursday evening soiree.
Friday’s activities include a 7:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Columbia Basin ag tour, starting at the WSU Commercial Vegetable Research Farm in Pasco and then on to Horse Heaven farms, where there will be up close and personal looks at an onion packing shed and fields irrigated by center pivot with water pumped up from the Columbia through several miles of pipes and booster stations.
The brochure says, “Irrigation began here four decades ago with river water moved up to the farms via a system of pumps, pipelines and booster stations. Five independent families grow and pack thousands of acres of onions. These operations are connected to each other through a shared irrigation system.”
Following lunch the tour will cross into Oregon and visit another onion packing facility.
Friday evening will include a peer-to-peer reception, followed by the banquet reception and the banquet that starts at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday has a closing breakfast meeting with crop reports from 8-10 a.m.
The spouse/friend program on Thursday includes a visit to the Country Mercantile in the Tri-Cities area, followed by a winery/glass studio tour. Great food prepared by chefs will be served at the Barnard Griffin Winery, and then there’s a scenic tour through the Red Mountain American Viticulture Area.
It all adds up to a terrific conference, thanks to our friends at NOA. For more info, call 970-353-5895 or visit the NOA online at https://www.onions-usa.org.
See you there!