A year ago, Annual Meeting Chairman Gary Snyder said, “2020 has been a year like no other.” From my perspective, 2021 has felt all too much like 2020.
While it is tempting to despair at problems that seem intractable, I am optimistic. The Washington tree fruit industry has many challenges laid before us, and many seem beyond our abilities to control. While these challenges are great and numerous, I still believe we can have a bright future; we only need to survive this onslaught. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe the content we’ve put together this year for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association’s 117th Annual Meeting and NW Hort Expo will help guide you and your team toward them.
Many of these solutions are found outside formal presentations, and attending the show is a great way to see and talk with friends and associates. Unfortunately, we were unable to do that in 2020. Many of us are anxious to return to in-person meetings and I’m happy to say, as I write this in October, we expect the Annual Meeting and NW Hort Expo will be held in-person at the Yakima Convention Center and Yakima Valley SunDome. We understand that some people may not be able to attend in person; for those folks, the meetings are being recorded and made available for later viewing.
This year our keynote speaker is Peter Zeihan. Many of us have heard him speak at prior meetings, seen his videos and updates, and read his books on geopolitics. He will be speaking to us on how the last 18 months have changed the global system. I believe his macro-level view of current events will give us a peek into our fruitful future. Following Zeihan will be our Batjer Address from Mike Willett, who has decades of experience in tree fruit industry science and policy and will be able to give us insight on how we can mitigate our current challenges and make it to those smoooooth seas.
Our session managers have been hard at work lining up speakers and panelists for this year’s show. We will be discussing technology, horticulture, safety, finance and human resources topics. Also, on Monday afternoon we will be having research news flashes. These five-minute updates from the research community are often cutting-edge and stimulating.
We live in a region that is second to none in producing fine fruits that feed the world. We have a wealth of talent to overcome the challenges put in our path. I think these factors are reasons for us to be optimistic for our future. The Washington State Tree Fruit Association, North Central Washington Fieldmen’s Association, and the Yakima Pom Club thank you for attending the show. I would like to thank them, the session managers, speakers, vendors and, lastly, our sponsors. This dedicated crew will help ensure we all have the skills needed to weather current storms and make it to port.
—by Jordan Matson
Jordan Matson is the production manager at Matson Fruit of Selah and the chairman of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association’s 117thAnnual Meeting.