Last week California Citrus Mutual held its highly anticipated Citrus Showcase and the crowd in attendance seemed to be the largest one to date! With 130 exhibitor booths, 14 Event Sponsors, 3 informative workshops, and 1 sold out luncheon, the 2019 Citrus Showcase did not disappoint. Our exhibitors continue to raise the bar with their raffle giveaways throughout the day which increases the excitement from all those in attendance. We would like to thank all those who were able to join us and continue to make the Citrus Showcase the largest citrus specific conference and trade show in California!

Another Sold Out Luncheon Program

Once again our Citrus Showcase luncheon brought together more than 800 people for a great meal and interesting updates from CCM’s President Casey Creamer and Sacramento Lobbyist Louie Brown. With changes occurring in Sacramento politics and new leadership announced within CCM, Casey took the stage first to give insight on how to sustain and enhance CCM and its leadership in both California and Washington, D.C. He focused on the importance of going back to the basics and developing relationships within the political realm and using these relationships to be included in the decision-making process.

Louie Brown then took the stage to explain some of the recent transitions in Sacramento and how Ag may not be in as bad of a position as it may seem. Louie’s observations of recent appointees by the Governor show a more optimistic picture of what Governor Newsom may do while in office for Agriculture. He focused on the importance of educating the new members on the importance of Ag in California and the changes in verbiage that could go a long way to help Ag in Sacramento. Louie believes that an entirely new legislature could mean a clean slate for Ag, and this can be used to our advantage moving forward.

The luncheon program concluded by honoring Tulare County Ag Commissioners Marilyn Wright. Marilyn is retiring at the end of April after serving 9 years. Over the course of her stint as the Ag Commissioner, she volunteered on several citrus advisory committees and was instrumental in the implementation of the ACP control programs. CCM greatly appreciates Marilyn’s dedication to Agriculture and the citrus industry and wishes her and her husband Les the best in their retirements in Nebraska.

Informative Workshops

This year’s workshop topics focused on some of the most pressing issues in citrus: Surviving SGMA, ACP and HLB updates, and Selling Citrus in 2019. The workshops were very well attended which proved the importance of each topic to the industry.

The first workshop of the day, Strategies for Surviving SGMA, included a panel of water experts comprised of Friant Water Authority’s CEO Jason Phillips, Greater Kaweah GSA General Manager Eric Osterling, 4Creeks Principal David DeGroot, CCM Water Task Force Chairman and Grower Pete Hronis, and moderated by CCM President Casey Creamer. The main takeaway from this workshop was for growers to become or stay involved in their GSAs in order to get the information they will need to survive. The workshop has been summarized in more depth here.

Following the first workshop, the Citrus Research Board sponsored the workshop titled “How citrus research informs the regulatory process and how the current regulations affect the citrus industry.” Presenters for this workshop included Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Wright, CDFA Citrus Program Manager Victoria Hornbaker, UC Riverside Director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D., Bee Sweet Citrus Vice President of Farming Keith Watkins, and moderated by CRB’s Jim Gorden. This discussion updated the crowd on the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB) regulations and how they impact citrus growers including quarantines zones, methods of fruit disinfestation (spray and move and mechanical) and citrus tarping. They also discussed the new chlorpyrifos regulations.

The third and final workshop, Selling Citrus – Its not 2018 Anymore, had a panel of marketing experts including Booth Ranches Vice President of International Sales Izak Du Toit, Wonderful Citrus Sr. Category Director for Halos Sales Adam Lazo, Sunkist Growers Managing Director of Fresh Fruit Sales Christopher Gordon, and moderated by CCM’s Joel Nelsen. The main concern for this workshop was that quality sells and initial product from California for this season was less than normal. The universal statement from the panel was uncertain if the second half of the orange/mandarin season could offset the first since it is expected that utilization will go down and the marketers need to work with retailers to bring customers back to the citrus section.

Thank You Sponsors!

Finally, CCM would like to give a big thank you to this year’s event sponsors which included: Accu-Label International; BASF; Crop Science, a Division of Bayer; Corteva AgroSciences; Farm Credit; Fruit Growers Supply; Giffin-Parker Insurance Brokers; Nielsen Insurance; Pace International; Packline Technologies; Sinclair; Suterra; Syngenta; and Valent. We would also like to thank TKI and Valley Packline Solutions for supplying the coffee and pastries, Plant Food Systems for providing the lanyards for the vendors, Actagro for sponsoring our workshop programs, and Gless Ranch Nursery and Wonderful Citrus for sponsoring our Luncheon Program. Your sponsorships are a huge reason this event is a success!