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Later this month, one of our industry’s most important organizations returns to Washington. The International Fruit Tree Association holds its 60th annual conference in Wenatchee Feb. 19-23, featuring two days of educational sessions and two days of tours.

iftalogoIFTA tours have long been recognized as extremely helpful to growers. Good Fruit Grower has covered many of their events. But we need to do more.

In recent years, the editors at Good Fruit Grower have worked with the association’s staff and board members on ways our magazine can increase coverage in print and online, with words, photos and videos, to deliver useful information to readers. Our website serves as a searchable repository of our coverage of IFTA events, for example.

We’ve had excellent conversations with IFTA, especially with Karen Lewis, of Washington State University Extension and an IFTA board member; with Rod Farrow, a grower in New York and IFTA vice president; and with Matt Grayson, IFTA executive director.

Like this magazine, IFTA is a nonprofit guided by a mission of providing educational information to growers and of building community among tree fruit professionals.

One result from these talks was our widely praised coverage of last summer’s IFTA tour in New York. No other publication matched the breadth and depth of our reporting, which can be found at goodfruit.com or via our app for mobile devices.

We’re bringing that same comprehensiveness to the Wenatchee event and to future events, including IFTA’s tour in New Zealand next year.

Strengthening industry partnerships has been one of my goals since becoming managing editor of Good Fruit Grower in 2013.

We want to assist the multitude of grower organizations to see us as serving their missions. We want them to look to this magazine as an added communications channel and as a valued partner. I see our success as tied to their success.

The IFTA meeting this month, called “From Bud to Bin,” is shaping up to be an excellent event. As I write this, I’m told the event is almost fully booked.

That’s a testament to IFTA’s strong reputation. Attendees will network with growers, researchers and representatives of nurseries during two days of field tours of innovative apple orchards.

They also will get educational sessions on starting an apple orchard, tree architecture, grafting, trellis and nutrition, cropload management, harvest management and more. Complete details can be found at ifruittree.org.

One added feature this year is the first IFTA’s Women’s Network gathering, an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women to tree fruit growing and hear about challenges and success of some of the most recognized leaders in the industry. Good Fruit Grower’s Shannon Dininny will moderate a program of speakers on women in the industry.

Speakers include Deborah Moore, vice president of the Washington Ag Forestry Leadership Program based in Spokane, Washington; Dena Perleberg Ybarra, retired owner of the now-closed Columbia Basin Nursery in Quincy, Washington, and commissioner for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission; and Lisa Jenereaux, an IFTA board member and an owner of Spurr Bros. Farms Ltd. of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.

This is much deserved recognition of the role women play in the tree fruit industry. We’ll be there.

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Congratulations to Shannon Dininny, who in December was appointed editor of Good Fruit Grower. Shannon has served as senior editor since her hiring in 2015.

She assumes the title held by her longtime predecessor, Geraldine Warner. You can contact Shannon at shannon@goodfruit.com.

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Waiting for your free iPad? Thanks to the hundreds of readers at shows in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York who submitted a form for a drawing of the iPad.

We’ll announce the winner at goodfruit.com and on our Facebook page in late February. Have I mentioned that the device is a great way to read our magazine using our customized app?

Get the iOS app at the Apple store or the Android app at Google Play.

O. Casey Corr is managing editor of Good Fruit Grower.
– by O. Casey Corr