The Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting will inform growers about a wide range of issues and innovations that are driving change in the tree fruit industry both in the United States and abroad.
The meeting is scheduled for December 5–7 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.
West Mathison, retiring Hort Association president, said producers must be prepared for change by planning for the most likely outcomes, rather than be pushed where they don’t want to go.
Michael Swanson, chief agricultural economist with Wells Fargo Bank in Minnesota, will speak about agribusiness risks and opportunities in the current economy when he gives the Batjer Memorial Address on the first day of the meeting on December 5.
Dr. Joan Bonany, horticulturist with the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology in Barcelona, Spain, will give the European perspective on several issues, including new variety releases and why they might fail. He will also talk about new varieties and rootstocks during the Spanish language session on December 6.
In a session on pest control, growers will learn about new strategies for enhancing biological control. Dr. Jay Brunner, director of Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, who co-chaired the meeting planning committee, said a major multistate research project that began three years ago is generating new technologies for monitoring natural enemies of pests and a better understanding of how pesticides affect them.
Dr. Tracy Leskey, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kearneysville, West Virginia, will deliver a wake-up call regarding potential damage that can be caused by the brown marmorated stinkbug, which has plagued eastern U.S. orchards in recent years. Dr. Peter Shearer, entomologist with Oregon State University in Hood River, will report on the pest’s activity in the West.
Other sessions will cover produce marketing, food safety, new product development, postharvest issues, pears, cherries, and new technology.
A short tour to two packing houses is scheduled on December 7. Participants will see pears being packed at Blue Star Growers in Cashmere and apples at Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee. Advance registration is required as the tour is limited to 20 people.
The full program and registration material can be found online at www.wahort.org. For more information, call the Hort Association at (509) 665-9641 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.