A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The IFTA Conference

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The IFTA Conference

For six years I’ve covered the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual conferences and awards. And this year, the tables were turned at the 2019 International Fruit Tree Association’s Annual Conference (#IFTA2019) when they recognized American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, and parent company Meister Media Worldwide, along with the Good Fruit Grower and Fruit Grower News editorial teams, for industry service. I’d like to think we’re more than trade magazines. We’re the family historian.

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It’s also fitting as our Editor-At-Large Dick Meister has long been involved with IFTA and was recognized for outstanding work for the industry and the association in 1976.
It’s a humble job of service we have. It’s not always easy balancing a full day of sessions or tours with a very late night or extra early morning recounting the day’s events in a feature for GrowingProduce.com or one of our enewsletters.

I know it’s my responsibility to share a few enlightening points I heard in a talk on orchard economics or the name of that obscure piece of equipment a grower might use. And it’s not something I take lightly. Nor should I, as we’re in the business of informing and entertaining, as the dynamic Michigan grower Josh Wunch once said to me. It should be fun, not work (and it is).
And it’s fun to have folks not in attendance at the tour or conference ride along with us digitally and get a taste of what we’re seeing, hearing, and learning. I always enjoy the dialogue and feedback while we’re in the thick of things, and seeing new folks follow me on social media.

I like to tell a story of a few years ago covering the 2014 IFTA Conference in Nova Scotia. I was tweeting away, and I noticed getting a lot of traction from Irish apple growers. There were new folks following me and commenting and I patted myself on the back for a job well done getting new followers. Little did I know that #IFTA2014 was the hashtag for the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, and these folks likely stumbled on my content while searching for what film was named best picture.

All the congratulations and well wishes in Rochester were wonderful, and it’s so nice to get recognition for the time and effort we put in after the day of tours or sessions is over. And, for those of you who were not able to attend IFTA’s Rochester conference and wish to see photos of snowy orchards, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @HerrickAFG and visit GrowingProduce.com/tag/ifta-conference-2019 for the content from this year’s winter meeting.