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There Was Plenty for Everyone at the 2007 Annual Meeting
Good food, stimulating speakers and plenty of exhibits greeted members at the IMSA annual meeting held Saturday, December 1 in New Castle, Indiana
A short business meeting included the usual, plus a report from our ‘sugar shack’ at the state fair and a humorous, with serious content, report about the NAMSC meeting at Akron Ohio.
Ron Burnett, chairman, reported for the nominating committee. Nominees were elected unanimously.
Roy Childers, one of our producers from Peru, gave a very informative talk on the results of a tree fertilization experiment that he had conducted. He had some very surprising results, including the fact that trees could double their usual growth if proper fertilization was provided.
One of the key reasons for joining any association is the benefit of exchanging ideas, hearing the results of experiments tried by other members, and learning new ways of doing things. This is true of the IMSA too, and time was allowed just for this give and take of ideas.
Vendors were given time to tell of their concerns about the industry and about some of their new and standby products.
Dave Hamilton introduced our keynote speaker, Brad Gillilan. Brad is the sales and marketing representative for Leader Evaporator Co in Swanton, VT. Brad grew up syruping on his family’s 1000 tap bush. Graduating from Vermont Technical College, he has continued to work in maple. He has been a volunteer at Proctor Maple Research Center and he helped run the evaporator at Vermont Technical College. In 2000 he was selected as Vermont’s Maple King. He founded the Institute for Maple Education (TIME) which produces and distributes educational products for the maple industry. Brad started his talk with several humorous lines; that he comes from a rich family…rich in maple, that is. There are two kinds of maplers…those who have burned a pan….and liars. Making maple syrup is always a learning process. He stressed that he (and we) can learn something from every producer he talks to…..may not be something he wants to try….may be something that he absolutely never wants to try, but that he always learns something.
Then Brad got serious with the question, “Why do or should people buy your syrup vs others?” And we spent three easy listening hours (with a break for lunch) giving answers to that question that were helpful to producers with all types of syrup houses and experience.
Dave Hamilton, chair for this year's program, had warned us in his introduction, not to let Brad’s youth fool us, that he had a wealth of information and that he had a very charismatic way of sharing it. The evaluations at the end of the day confirmed that every producer present felt the same way.
Evaluation sheets were drawn to see who won the nice door prizes donated by the vendors. The next annual meeting will be Dec 6 (always the first Sat in Dec) 2008, at the county fair grounds at Columbia City.
Director of Public Relations