The 2008 Australian Almond Industry Conferencewas a hailed to be resounding success. Held at the award-winning Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, 29 th – 31 st October, the informative andentertaining conference program, impressive speaker line up and our largest ever industry exhibition attracted more than 200 delegates. Day one of the program included a social golf day on the prestigious Tanunda Pines Golf course, sponsored by Select Harvests.Delegatesenjoyedamemorable (although sometimes frustrating) chance to network with fellow industry members and partners. The ambrose style day was well attended and competition was fierce with some avid golfers among the group. Overall winners for the day, 2 strokes under the card at 70 were Brendan Sidhu, Michael Costa, Geoff Ablett and William Snell, closely followed by John Gallard, Sholto Douglas, Matt Lloyd, Sam Tidhar and Andrew Meurant with a score of 73. Other winners on the day were 'Nearest the Pin' and 'Longest Drive' won by Michael Ward and Craig Wooldridge respectively. The JackRabbit Welcome Function on Wednesday night provided a good chance for all to compare scores and discuss golfing techniques at a relaxing evening, preceding theofficial conference opening. The 2008 conference was officially opened by theHonourable RoryMcEwen, Minister for Agriculture SA. Thursday morning’s program then commenced with the Annual Levy Payer’s Meeting and HAL update followed by results from the Almond Optimisation Trial and the latest findings from Almond Prune Rust and Breeding research. The afternoon sessions focussed on irrigation research and pollination issues. Delegates were able to participate in an interactive panel session with pollination experts Dr Denis Anderson, Dr Mark Godwin, Dr Doug Sommerville and Trevor Monson (see page 8). The Annual Almond Conference Dinner, sponsored by Netafim, on Thursday night
provided another chance for delegates to socialise with their industry peers. Dinner included the announcement of the Phil Watters Memorial Award (see page 13 for details) and a chance for all to enjoy some fine food and wine. The surprise entertainment was a light hearted and engaging performance by the amazing operatic voices of “The Three Waiters”. Audience participation was fantastic to see, as everyone sang along and waived their napkins in the air! The final day’s program began with a comprehensive look at water and climate change, headed by the University of Adelaide's Professor Mike Young and Dr Penny Whetton from CISRO. This was followed by an Australian Perspective session with ABA CEO, Julie Haslett and Joseph Ebbage, ABA’s Marketing Program Manager. ABA’s Annual General meeting was the final presentation before lunch, including discussion and adoption of a new ABA Constitution and appointment of new Board members (see page 4). Jeff Oughton, Head of National Australia Bank's Economics division provided a light hearted look at the global economy, explaining the significance and recent volatility of financial markets. The final presentation to round out the conference was from Shirley Horn, Global Marketing Manager of the Almond Board of California. Her presentation gave delegates a closer look at California’s current marketing strategies. Shirley also provided an interesting look at almond news clippings worldwide on her 'Sizzle Reel' DVD. A special thank you to all who participated, attended, or played a part in ensuring the success of this important industry event. Copies of presentations from this year's conference are available for download from the Industry section of the Almond Board of Australia website: www.australianalmonds.com.au.
Wayne Carroll, Anthony Wachtel, Julie Haslett and Dale O'Connell enjoy a round of golf.
The Annual Conference Dinner was a night to sing about - fine food, wine and entertainment.
Delegates were given a comprehensive look into Pollination issues in New Zealand by HortResearch's Dr Mark Goodwin.
In A Nutshell—November 2008 7 'Charmed I'm Sure' - Shirley Horn of the Almond Board of California being wooed by the entertainment whilst Julie Haslett looks on.