Wally Heuser has never missed an annual meeting in the entire history of the International Fruit Tree Association, and will be in Tasmania, Australia, in February for its 50th anniversary celebration. He’ll be accompanied by his wife, daughter, and his entire staff at Summit Sales/International Plant Management, Inc., based in Hartford, Michigan. Three staff members will bring their spouses, making a party of eight.

“We’re really taking the plunge,” said Heuser, who was president of the association for its first three years and has served on the board for more than 25 years. “I thought, ‘I’ve traveled over there, but most of the rest of the people haven’t been to Australia and New Zealand, so we’re just going to do this.’”

Paul Rood of South Haven, Michigan, a board member for 27 years, also plans to be there. Rood has been on more than a dozen of the association’s international study tours and has been to Australia three times before.
Rood said he’s glad he invested the money to travel the world because it gave him better insights into horticulture and what the rest of the world was doing.

Susan Pheasant, executive director of the IFTA, is expecting between 300 and 500 people from around the world to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for February 4-7 in Hobart, Tasmania.

The program includes tours of orchards, packing houses, and research trials, and educational sessions on rootstocks, new variety development, water management, orchard protection, and the evolution of intensive orchard systems.

For information, check the Web site at www.ifruittree.org.