This year’s Showcase event brought 134 booths and over 1,500 growers and industry members to the Visalia Convention Center. The Tradeshow had more booths than ever before, giving attendees more opportunities to visit with past, current, and even potential future vendors. We saw an increase in giveaways from the booths this year, which made the overall event more exciting for everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend. CCM would like to thank all of the vendors for participating in this year’s event and helping us make it the biggest Showcase to date!
A Sold Out Luncheon Program
The Citrus Showcase Luncheon Program brought over 800 people together to listen to four CEOs from some of the industry’s largest marketing firms. The panelists included BeeSweet President Jim Marderosian, The Wonderful Company CEI David Krause, Sunkist President Russ Hanlin, and Sun Pacific CEO Berne Evans.
CCM President Joel Nelsen moderated the conversation and made sure the eager crowd was not disappointed when it came to the topics covered and the information given from the panelists. Increasing labor costs, increased foreign competition, and the threat of HLB have many growers concerned about the future of the citrus industry in California. The four CEOs made sure to give complete honesty in their discussion and showed that even with these challenges, they are still very optimistic of the future of the industry.
One thing the entire panel agreed on was the fact that a great quality product will always have a high demand in the marketplace. To be and/or stay successful in the citrus industry, it is their belief that you must first start with a great tasting product, and in turn, their marketing teams will make sure the consumer keeps coming back for more. On top of keeping the quality of the fruit good, it is important to keep the entire industry balanced and avoid overflowing the market. By working together, the industry can stay balanced and keep profits high.
The topic of HLB was brought up with concerns about the huge impact this disease has had on other citrus industries around the world. Although this could be extremely detrimental, the issue of water in California remained the highest priority for these four panelists. They believe more pressure needs to be put on state and federal legislatures to help solve this problem because without water, there will not be a citrus industry.
CCM would once again like to thank Jim Marderosian, David Krause, Russ Hanlin, and Berne Evans for participating in this panel and for giving the industry honest opinions on some of the biggest issues facing the industry. We would also like to thank our lunch sponsors, CalCom Solar and TreeSource, for helping us make this Luncheon Program so successful.
Great Response to Showcase Workshops
Our workshops covered some of the most talked about topics going on in the citrus industry today including California’s Groundwater Maze, Genome Targeting Technology, Coordinated Area Wide Programs, Invasive Pests, and Industry Efforts to Stop HLB. All of the workshops were well attended and from the feedback received, very informative and beneficial.
Citrus Mutual’s Director of Government Affairs, Laura Brown, kicked off the morning workshops with a very convincing argument on why the drinking water quality issue was not just a nitrate issue and not just the result of farming practices. Nevertheless, Ag is being singled out and CCM will continue to be at the forefront of identifying and implementing solutions that don’t place a disproportionate burden on growers. Westside grower and water attorney, David Cory provided a historical overview of the Central Valley Salinity Coalitions work on CV-SALTS and why CV-SALTS is going to be important in the shaping of groundwater quality policy in the near and long-term future. Growers also heard from Kaweah Basin Water Quality Association Executive Director, Donald Ikemiya on what they need to do to be in compliance with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program requirements.
Later in the morning over 130 growers listened as Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell and CCM Chairman, Curt Holmes presented a detailed overview of the proposed coordinated area wide spray program; why it will be essential in controlling ACP populations and slowing the spread of HLB. Curt talked about his experience as a team captain in his psyllid management area (PMA) and encouraged growers to step up to captain a PMA when needed.
The afternoon workshop attendees were treated to an outstanding demonstration of an automated tarping system that allows the operator to stay on the ground while tarping his citrus load. Spencer Walse, USDA-ARS, and Dave Sorenson of Fruit Growers Supply demonstrated a fogging system that utilizes Evergreen to kill ACP in loaded bins in field before they move to the packinghouse. This system is envisioned to be an alternative to wet washing.
PAC Raffle Brought Even More Prizes
The big PAC Raffle drawing gave everyone 4 chances to go home with a prize with this year. The first winner, John Moore, won the 2 or 4-day course training donated by the elite Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Nevada. The second raffle winner, John Woolf, went home with the CZ-USA 12 guage over/under shotgun. The third winner, CCM Board Member John Crowe, took home the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm handgun. To everyone’s surprise, Front Sight also donated a second 2 or 4-day course training at their facilities, which made it possible for our last winner, Jeff Pilegard, to also leave as a winner!
Thank you to everyone who supported the CCM PAC Raffle and congratulations to our four lucky winners!
A Big Thank You to our Sponsors
CCM would like to thank this year’s event sponsors which included: 2,4-D Research Task Force, Accu-Label, BASF, Crop Science a Division of Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Farm Credit, Fruit Growers Supply, PACE International, Sinclair Systems, Syngenta, and Valent. We would also like to thank Valley Packline Solutions for suppling the coffee and pastries, Sunworks, Inc. for providing the lanyards for all of the vendors, Willowood USA for sponsoring our workshop programs, and CalCom Solar and TreeSource for sponsoring our Luncheon Program. Your sponsorships are a huge reason this event was another success!