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0108 FG: California alfalfa symposium really grows!

Published on 01 February 2008

The 2007 California Alfalfa Symposium held in Monterey, CA, grew beyond all expectations.

A positive symposium program developed to reinforce the theme ‘Alfalfa ..Back to the Basics’ grew the attendance beyond 530 registrants. Symposium program Co-Chairman Mike Canevari stated, “This is the largest California alfalfa meeting ever. In fact, it may be the largest alfalfa meeting ever in the United States.”

Further explaining the success of the symposium, General Chairman Dan Putnam, UC-Davis, pointed out that, “Part of this beyond-our-expectation attendance growth is due to the ever-increasing interest in quality alfalfa production because of the current high hay prices across the West. And when you want to grow top quality alfalfa...‘Back to the Basics’ is a good way to review your production techniques.”

During the Wednesday proceedings, the annual Jim Kuhn Leadership Award was presented to Mike Canevari for his 30+ years of accomplishments in alfalfa production systems while helping the industry maximize utilization of the best available information.

But there were additional factors that led to the over-the-top attendance. Monday’s tour arranged by Rachael Long, Yolo County UCCE farm advisor, certainly helped in this regard.

 The tour buses took folks to a vineyard, an artichoke operation in the harvest mode and the National Steinbeck Center/Agricultural Museum. The tour also provided an appreciation for the rolling topography along the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday brought in the bulk of the attendees because Symposium program co-chairs, Mike Canevari, UCCE San Joaquin Farm Advisor, Stockton, CA and Shannon Mueller, UCCE Fresno County, Fresno, CA had put together a wide range of vital alfalfa-related topics for the day-and-one-half symposium.

Topics were presented to the audience by industry-leading forage and industry specialists. During meeting breaks attendees had the opportunity to gather or share information with more than 50 significant suppliers to the forage industry right at their exhibits.

Another factor to this successful symposium was its location. It’s often said that ‘location is everything in putting on a record-breaking meeting,’ and Monterey is that type of location.

A Nevada farm manager said, “Grower attendance is attracted to a location that offers beauty and recreational benefits. In this meeting’s case, other family members often look for things to do beyond going to the technical sessions...at least my spouse does.”

A first-time symposium attendee wishing not to be named, brought his 18-year-old son with him.

The father explained, “As my son graduates from high school, I wanted him to see how technical and sophisticated agriculture has become.

I felt he needed to see how all the people at this meeting utilized information to improve products, marketing and profit margins. Hopefully, this meeting would help him understand why going to college would be good for his future. And we both got a different type of education when we spent time at Monterey’s famous aquarium.”  FG

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