One of the longest-standing traditions in the Oregon hazelnut community will look a little different this year. Set for January 21, the 106th Annual Winter Meeting will be all-digital for the first time in history.
Held annually each January, the Winter Meeting is the seminal event on the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia (NGS) calendar. The one-day conference typically brings together upwards of 1,000 hazelnut community members, from farmers to handlers, to sponsors and vendors. Due to pandemic-related restrictions, the conference will now be conducted online via live stream, but the NGS board members and staff have still worked to bring together the best minds and most up-to-date information for growers.
“This year has brought us unprecedented challenges, but the NGS board has done a fantastic job adapting and taking this one step at a time,” says NGS president Jason Perrott. “We have been able to secure all of the speakers we originally wanted when this event was going to be in person, and we think we have the best lineup possible for this time in our industry.”
The event will be a unique combination of pre-recorded presentations and live interaction. Twelve speakers recorded their presentations in advance of the event; these videos will be played at their respective times on the agenda, but the speakers will also be available for a virtual Q&A session after their presentation. Viewers can type their questions into a virtual chat feature, and speakers will answer them after their pre-recorded presentation plays.
Presentations will include: Legislative Outlook for the Oregon Hazelnut Industry; Promotional Efforts, Marketing and the Current State of Tariffs; Research Updates from Oregon State University; USDA/FSA and the Oregon Hazelnut Industry; Hazelnut Pricing Report; De-Rocking a Hazelnut Orchard; OSU Hazelnut Breeding Plot Tour.
In addition to the educational seminars, NGS has created a new feature they hope will become a hallmark of the event—the Seasoned Growers Corner. The NGS team visited with three growers to share their knowledge and wisdom about the hazelnut industry; information from these growers is imperative for historical information and educating new orchardists.
The other cornerstone component of the Winter Meeting, the trade show, will also look different. Sponsor and vendor contact information along with direct website access and company video will be listed in the new Sponsor/Vendor Directory located on the NGS “Growers Corner” website (oregonhazelnuts.org). Sponsors and vendors will be recognized throughout the meeting in between each presentation.
NGS members will receive a link to the event via email in the first part of January. Current membership is required for access. Viewers can watch the sessions on any internet-enabled device, from desktop computers to smartphones. Attendees can also pick and choose which sessions they would like to view; for example, attendees can view the 9 A.M. session, log out to get a few chores in and log back in for the 1 P.M. session. Additional Winter Meeting information and an agenda will be coming out in the NGS Winter Newsletter in the first part of January.
“We are excited to try the event this way,” Perrott said. “We hope to be back to our traditional in-person meetings in the near future, but we knew we had to do something for our growers. There is too much valuable information that needs to be shared with our community.”
For more information on the Winter Meeting, Nut Growers Society or membership, contact 503-582-8420 or email@example.com.