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Stink bugs one topic at Hort Convention

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We’re already excited about the upcoming Hort Convention, if only because we’ll get the lowdown on those pesky brown marmorated stink bugs. Not your usual convention topic.

Officially, the gathering is called the Washington State Horticultural Association’s 109th Annual Meeting, Postharvest Conference and Northwest Horticultural Exposition. (Unofficially, it’s the Hort Show.) And it’s all in one location Dec. 2-4 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

Attendees should prepare for three days of time travel. The theme — “Is Your Orchard Ready? Preparing Your Operation for the Next Generation” — will launch orchardists into the future of sprayers, canopies, robotic tray fillers, labor shortages, higher land prices, new varieties and the possibility of (mmmm) pear slices from Crunch Pak.

Terence Robinson, one of the world’s top professors of pomology (that’s the study of fruit, not cheerleader pom-poms), will truck over from Cornell University in New York to give the 34th Annual Batjer Address: “A Vision for Apple and Pear Orchards of the Future.”

And speaking of futuristic stuff, the stink bug lectures are in both English and Spanish. In fact, there’s a whole Spanish-language track of presentations (worker safety, fruit diseases, orchard systems, pesticide handling) throughout the three-day event.

In light of future challenges, “we all need to keep our focus on producing only high quality fruit,” says WSHA Board President Jeff Cleveringa. “As consumers in newly emerging markets try our produce for the first time, we want them to become repeat customers from the very beginning.”

You can register or scan a convention schedule (it’s extensive) at wahort.org.