13th Australian Almond Conference 26th - 28th October 2011 Unlocking The Future
The ABA’s Annual General Meeting commenced proceedings on the Thursday with Ross Skinner and Brendan Sidhu reporting on the ABA’s activities and finances in 2010/11. HAL’s Annual Levy Payers’ Meeting followed the AGM with presentations from Greg Buchanan on the Almond R&D program for the year, Warwick Scherf reported on developments impacting on rural R&D whilst Mark Downey advised on the role of DPI Victoria as the lead research agency for almonds. The Conference proper’s afternoon session commenced with presentations from Steve Radeski from ANZ Banking Corporation, Richard Waycott the President of the Almond Board of California and Nut Producers Australia’s Nigel Carey. Both Richard’s and Nigel’s presentations highlighting the global position of almonds from both an Australian and an international perspective, emerging world markets and the future outlook for almonds worldwide. The marketing session also included ‘What Retailers are looking for from almonds’ from Category Business Manager Stavroula Drakos. The research presentations that followed included Food Safety Supply Chain issues from David Madge of VIC DPI and a presentation on Post Harvest Systems from Assoc. Professor John Fielke to round out the day’s proceedings. The presentation of the 2011 Phil Watters Award was made to Dean Dinicola as part of the proceedings for this year’s conference. Neale Bennett, ABA Deputy Chairman, presented the Award to Dean who was honoured to have received the Award, and plans to use the prize to fund a study tour to California to research storage and drying of high moisture content nuts, among other things. More on Dean’s achievements follow on p 10. The Annual Conference Dinner, sponsored by Elders was a great end to the first day’s proceedings. Australian Almond Industry Hall of Fame was launched at the dinner by Brendan Sidhu, and four
pioneers of the Australian Almond Industry - Mr Fredrick Keane, Mr Eric Lacey, Mr Ross Martin and Mr John Parkinson were inducted. Each of these men’s contributions were noted in an audio visual presentation, followed by the unveiling of framed portraits outlining their achievements which will hang on the walls of the ABA’s office and copies of the framed portraits were presented to the inductee’s family. Friday not only presented the conference with a perfect day but with some enthusiastic and entertaining speakers. A highlight was the presentation by Gavin McMahon the CEO of Central Irrigation Trust who offered a glimpse into the impact and severity of the drought and the new Murray Darling Basin Plan and what the future may hold for irrigators along the Murray Darling. Following Gavin delegates heard from Mark O’Connell on using water wisely, and then Brett Rosenzweig and Ben Brown from the ABA gave insightful presentations on Lessons learnt from the 2010/11 season and Key findings from the CT Trial respectively. Rounding out the morning sessions of the second day of proceedings Bob Curtis, Associate Director of Agricultural Affairs of the Almond Board of California’s presentation was summarised the work being undertaken in California on a range of issues. The ABA would like to thank Horticulture Australia for its co-funding, sponsors and presenters for making this year’s event a showcase which the Australian almond industry can be proud of. By any measure the 2011 conference was a success. It is our premier forum for sharing information that benefits our industry and its participants and promotes us to the broader horticultural community. Many thanks to everyone for their never ending enthusiasm and support and for making the conference a great success. The ABA is investigating some interesting concepts for the next Australian Almond Conference to be held in 2012. Further venue and event details will be available in the new year.
The Almond Board of Australia once again held an extremely successful conference at the beautiful McCracken Country Club from Wednesday October 26th to Friday October 28th. This year’s conference was attended by over 200 registrants and it is wonderful to see that despite the difficult seasons the Australian almond industry Conference is still a well supported event. This year’s theme “Unlocking the Future” enabled the program of speakers to address new developments across the supply chain and future initiatives. International and domestic keynote speakers were invited to present the latest information and the interaction between audience and presenters drew out much valuable information and opinion. The trade display with 20 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and innovations stimulated great interest. The size and quality of exhibits was a first for both the ABA and the Conference venue, with a number of new suppliers joining us this year. It was good to hear that stands were busy throughout the event with a steady stream of interested visitors. Wednesday started with the New Holland golf day, with our largest ever line up for the tee off. A gorgeous sunny day provided ideal conditions for the competition and the major prizes supplied by the golf day sponsor were hotly contested. This social and enjoyable day was followed by a relaxing evening at the JackRabbit sponsored welcome reception providing a great opportunity to catch up with others overlooking the beautiful grounds of the golf course. Brendan Sidhu, ABA Chairman and Trevor Dennis, Managing Director of Platinum Sponsor, HAIFA Australia jointly opened proceedings on Thursday morning. The two-day conference program included over 25 presentations covering many aspects of almond growing and key industry issues such as: water and irrigation management; almond breeding; domestic and international marketing activities and pest and disease updates.
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