A report from the well-attended 48th edition of the Alberta Potato Conference and Trade Show.
The 48th annual Alberta Potato Conference and Trade Show put on by the Potato Growers of Alberta on Nov. 18 to 20 in Red Deer, Alta., attracted a record number of growers and industry participants. In addition to the value-packed technical sessions, the event featured the largest Alberta Potato Industry Associates sponsored trade show ever.
The unique relationship that we enjoy here in Alberta with the APIA was evident in the success of our entire event. We work closely with the APIA throughout the year to provide one of the largest, most successful conferences and trade shows in North America.
The trade show was sold out, with more than 50 booths on display for the growers and industry representatives to enjoy over the three days of the event.
More than 300 people had the opportunity to enjoy Dana McCauley’s keynote message on “The Evolving Consumer: How Demographics Effect the Way People Eat and Think”.
In addition, part three of the popular Late Blight Speaker Series was presented by Dr. William Kirk from Michigan State University Other sessions on new mobile app technologies, insect resistance, government programs and Extension, and current research projects were all well attended.
Kicking off the event was the annual business meeting of the Alberta seed potato growers. The following individuals were elected to the 2014-15 Seed Grower Committee:
- Jan Vermue, West Edmonton Seed Potatoes
- Tony Kirkland, Sandhills Seed Potatoes
- Gord Visser, Norbest Farms
- Bruce Chedzoy, Chedzoy Farms/Tubertech ENT.
- Jake Hoogland, Hoogland Farms
- Jeff Ekkel, Sunnycrest Seed Potatoes
- Peter Kamper, Belly River Seed Potatoes
- Ben Meyer, Meyer Seed Potatoes
During the seed growers’ meeting, Alain Boucher, national manager of potato section for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, provided an update on the potato wart situation in Prince Edward Island, and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development scientist Michele Konschuh talked about an aeroponic potato production project underway in Alberta.
One highlight of the conference was the Ladies Program, which attracted 50 participants. Among the activities was a ‘Ladies Only’ viewing of the trade show — complete with door prizes, wine and cheese, and special potato cake pops. I am not sure who enjoyed this more, the exhibitors or the ladies. This is the third year we have done the Ladies Only viewing, and it keeps getting bigger and better each year!
Planning for the 2015 Alberta Potato Conference and Trade Show and Conference is already in the works, and I’m sure it will prove to be another successful, well-attended event.