Nut growers meeting offers broad perspective

By Geoff Parks

For the Capital Press

The Nut Growers Society's annual meeting will be a major part of the Northwest Ag Show again this year.

The 99th Annual Meeting of the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington & British Columbia at the NW Ag Expo on Jan. 29 is looking to go global with its information offerings.

According to Oregon Hazelnut Industry executive director Polly Owen, the meeting will pull together information “from a world perspective as well as locally.”

The meeting will open with trade show registration, the annual NGS business meeting and a brief message from its president — Sean Denfield — before the keynote speech.

“We will begin (the conference) with a bigger, wider outlook,” Owen said, a reference to the keynote speaker’s presentation.

Michael Waring of Australia, the director of the International Nut Council, will speak on “World Hazelnut Production — An International Nut Council Perspective” from 9:10 to 9:40 a.m. in Hall A of the Portland Expo Center.

“After that, the focus will narrow a bit” to more regional and local issues, Owen said.

An “Oregon Hazelnuts in China” handler panel from 9:40 to 10:20 a.m., moderated by Denfield, will feature Jeff Fox of the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon; Michael Severeid of Willamette Hazelnut Growers; Larry George of George Packing Co.; and Troy Johnson of Laurel Nut/MWT Foods. The panel will be “giving input on what’s happening in China as it relates to the nut industry,” Owen said.

What she called “overarching research” on food safety issues in the industry will be addressed from 10:20 to 10:40 a.m., and the Grower of the Year and Oregon Hazelnut Commission Awards follow. A presentation by Shawn Mehlenbacher of Oregon State University on new variety releases will wraps up the opening sessions.

Mid-morning and afternoon sessions include presentations on “Reporting Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Sightings” by Vaughn Walton of OSU from 11:55 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.; “Status of EFB in ‘Jeffersons’” by Jay Pscheidt of OSU from 12:05 to 12:15 p.m.; and a Grower Panel — “First Harvest for ‘Jeffersons’ 2013” from 12:15 to 1 p.m., that will feature moderator Tim Aman and panel members Lowell Kropf, Dick Buyserie, Vince Wolf and Ben Mitchell.

Denfield will pass the president’s gavel to Joan Firestone at 1 p.m. and vendor door prize announcements close the seminar by 1:30 p.m.


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