The almond industry is one of the most efficient water users in the Murray Darling Basin, utilising the latest technology in fertigation, sub-surface drip irrigation and soil water monitoring equipment. ABA chief executive Julie Haslett said the record attendance of over 200 delegates was a reflection on the quality of speakers who had committed to the conference. 2008 Almond Conference Evaluation W e ' r e B l o s s o m i n g ! 91% of respondents rated the 2008 conference as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good' •
Overview The 2008 Australian Almond Industry Conference was a hailed to be resounding success. Held at the award- winning Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, 29 th – 31 st October, the informative and entertaining conference program, impressive speaker line up and our largest ever industry exhibition attracted more than 200 delegates. The Almond Board of California’s global marketing manager Shirley Horn told conference delegates that their research indicated that the industry had “enormous” growth potential. Mrs Horn said that if Australian industry could solve its water supply problems it was perfectly placed to capitalise on significant demand growth on the horizon. She cited China, India and Europe as key markets in her global “nut of choice” plan. Mrs Horn was one of a number of guest speakers at the ABA Conference who gave timely insights into the issues facing the Australian industry. Others key speakers included water scientist Professor Mike Young, the CSRIO’s chief bee researcher Dr Denis Anderson, former Reserve Bank economist Jeff Oughton, SA Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen and SARDI’s drought irrigation project co-ordinator Mark Skewes. Key conference messages included: Pollination and water security • are the two biggest issues facing Californian and Australian industries. Australia is the only country in the • world that has not been infiltrated by the deadly mite, varroa destructor, which will wipe out the feral (wild) bee population when it arrives. The mite has already been found in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. The global financial crisis means • growers should be ‘stress testing their business’ and keeping an eye on the global economy.
provides. Feedback received from the 2008 Annual Industry Conference 'We're Blossoming!' was gained through a number of means including an interactive survey, telephone feedback and verbal interviews. Delegates were emailed an interactive form to complete after this year's conference, asking them to rate various aspects of the event. 91% of respondents rated the 2008 conference as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ overall. Broken down into two categories - 90% of delegates responded that the sessions included at the conference were ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Conference management, venue and organisation feedback indicated that 92% of delegates agreed that these aspects of the conference were ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Future choice of venue will be aimed toward ensuring adequate space is available for plenary and break-out sessions, exhibitors, social events and catering. An increase in delegate numbers it has become increasingly difficult to find regional venues that can cater for all of our conference requirements. Although the conference could be held in a capital city, it is felt that regional locations, in almond growing areas, are more suitable for delegates, and also helps to reduce costs.
“The Australian almond industry is winning widespread respect as an emerging force within the horticulture sector. Although we have several major issues to confront both individually and as an industry, we are fortunate that there is a level of co-operation and professionalism among our members that has allowed us to enhance our profile and be heard at all levels of
government.” She said. Reccommendations
The Almond Board of Australia is continually striving to improve the quality and relevance of the annual industry conference program it