Yesterday, several team members attended the American Cranberry Growers Association’s annual winter meeting. The ACGA winter meeting is always a good opportunity for growers and scientists to listen to research findings from experiments during the previous growing season and the researchers’ recommendations for the 2016 growing season. This year, Pine Island sent new team member Matt Stiles, as well as COO Bryan vonHahmann and Mike Haines, Matt Giberson, and Jeremy Fenstermaker from our management/supervisory team. Everyone from Pine Island who attended (both the newer and the more experienced) were able to take a lot away from the experience.
“I always say this, but the main thing I like about the winter meeting is it gives you a chance to hear from other regions,” says Mike Haines. “I especially liked hearing from Hilary [Sandler, of UMass Cranberry Station]; I corresponded with her this summer about some issues we were having with poison ivy out at Boricua, and she had some excellent recommendations.” He also likes hearing from various vendors: “It’s great to hear about new things people are developing and how they can be applied to the cranberry industry.”
Matt Giberson was especially pleased to hear from DPI on the use of drones for mapping. “I think that’s the way of the future, depending on regulations,” he says. “It could definitely improve our applications. I know Peter [Oudemans, of the Marucci Center at Rutgers] has been working with him; this kind of tech can give us a better chance to examine sun damage, as well.” Matt also enjoyed hearing from Hilary: “She talked about paying attention to the perimeter being an important aspect in weed control, which is something we’ve talked about here as we continue renovation.” He also appreciates the chance to catch up on research updates every year. “We hear from a lot of the same researchers, obviously, but there’s always something different, something new. Research is always ongoing, and it’s good to hear about the progress everyone’s making.”
Bryan vonHahmann back ups Matt’s observation: “It’s great that we are able to attract quality speakers that provide research and information to help the growers improve their operations. We got to see a glimpse of the future with drones and precision agriculture to the basics on weed management. Another huge benefit is getting the growers together so that we can share ideas and information during the breaks; it’s a good collaborative event.” And as always, we’re grateful to Cesar Rodriguez-Saona for putting together yet another fantastic program!