Each year for the past ten years, Far West has tracked the attendance numbers along with a profit and loss for our conferences, our trainings and any other event so can use the data in determining what we can and cannot afford all while making certain we offer a reasonable registration price and a high value experience. Over the years several companies have decided to offer their own in-house training and continuing education (CEU) venues to meet the State Pesticide recertification credits and the Certified Crop Adviser CEU’s. These and many other factors have resulted in less attendance regardless of our efforts to encourage participation.
During the March Board of Director’s meeting, data was shared and trends identified followed by a discussion of the various options available to our association. Some of the considerations were to create opportunities for our members to learn about valuable and relevant information while fulfilling the previously mentioned CEU requirements. Also, to put those members who are typically exhibitors at our conferences in front of those business representatives and owners who make the purchasing decisions and commitments for products and services. Finally, an outcome of a recent membership survey informed us that the number one desire people wanted was to have a greater opportunity to network within the industry. Another outcome was to have individual and small group meeting opportunities. The ability to rekindle current business relationships and develop new ones was another outcome. People want to do business with people they know and trust. The good old-fashioned handshake is making way back into our business community.
After a good deal of deliberation, a decision was made to replace the two winter conferences with one summer conference. The summer conference will primarily target business owners and managers at a location that would lend itself to networking opportunities with one another and those who typically exhibited at our past conferences. In addition, this summer conference will provide for two breakfast keynote speakers giving those in attendance an edge through the acquisition of insight and knowledge.
Change is sometimes difficult to embrace but change must occur for improvement to be experienced. The first such summer conference will take place August 27, 28 and 29th, 2019 at the Red Lion Hotel in what was Idaho’s first capital, Lewiston, Idaho. More information will follow as will registration but for now please reserve those dates for an industry experience you will not want to miss.
For those who count on the conferences as a venue for CEU’s, we will meet your needs. We are planning three one-day educational events located in three different states during three different times of the year. With an emphasis on Soil, Water and Pesticide issues, we will be providing those hard to get credits closer to home during a time that works for you. While we are on site, we will also offer the OSHA required 24hr. and 8 hr. Ag Spill Response training and the Safe Handling of Ammonia program. All three opportunities will have separate registrations so you can pick and choose what you need and obtain it at a location near you.
Here are the dates and locations, so please save the dates on your calendars.
August 5-9, 2019 The Red Lion Hotel, Pocatello, Idaho
September 9-13, 2019 Oregon Garden Resort, Silverton, Oregon
December 9-13, 2019 The Red Lion Hotel, Pasco, Washington
A good deal of thought and planning has gone into this new and bold change and we’re eager to see how our members and prospective members like the new venue. We will announce when registration opens which will provide a greater level of detail.
Much more information will be coming your way very soon but please do remember to mark your calendars so you ensure your ability to attend. It will be well worth your while.