Friday, July 18, 2008

Growers Conference

This year's Southern Peanut Growers Conference was the best yet according to all accounts. I had more folks come up to me and tell me that they just couldn't believe that the Conference continued to get better.

I was a bit disappointed that we had so few researchers from UGA there. We had an Assistant Dean, a peanut breeder, the newest peanut agronomist, a soil fertility scientist, a retired entomologist, and two economists. Our conference has, for all ten years started the second Sunday after the 4th of July and the American Peanut Research and Education Society this year, to satisfy the researchers in Oklahoma which produces far less peanuts than Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. I was pleased the Mike Steed of Mississippi State was there the entire conference.

Oh well, we face the same problem next year because North Carolina has again scheduled the APRES meeting on top of ours.

Still, it is a disappointment that the University of Georgia which has the strongest Extension and Research program for peanuts in the nation is so under-represented. I do have to compliment those UGA researchers in attendance for taking a very active role in the breakout sessions and providing valuable information for our growers. Also, Kris Balkom with Auburn and Marshall Lamb with the National Peanut Research Laboratory were there and helped with the Audio Visuals for the general sessions.

One really strong indicator of the success of this conference came from the raves from our sponsors who make this an affordable conference for the attendees. I had two separate sponsors who asked to be more involved in the future and the rest were more than pleased with the entire conference.

The entertainment on Tuesday night was by far the best we have ever had. We had the Alabama Blues Brothers which is the only Blues Brothers tribute band that consists of brothers. They were awesome. We sent a letter telling everyone to bring a white shirt and black pants or skirt. At the door we presented everyone with a black fedora, skinny black tie, and the black shades. It was like a room full of Blues Brothers. We had the movie running on a big screen and the band brought their Blues Brothers Police Car. They played from 8:30 to 11:30 and folks were dancing until the end.

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