HMNA 46th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Welcome to the 46th annual conference.
I would like to introduce Judy Magin, our new full-time executive director. Judy is based in Hilo at the HMNA's office in the MLR Center (former C. Brewer Building). She was formerly the executive director of the Hawaii Academy of Family Physicians in Honolulu.
I would also like to thank and acknowledge our Board of Directors who have served us so well this past year.
Thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors who have helped make this Conference a success.
Thank you, Mike Nagao, for all of the work and support that you have provided us over the last several years. It is definitely beyond the "call of duty" and it is very much appreciated. This is a good example of your tax dollars at work and we get more than our moneys worth from Mike.
Industry & Crop Overview
The rainfall trend seems to be continuing, with too much rain on the Hilo side of the Island and more than normal rainfall on the Kona side. Hilo growers should see a third year in a row with declining yields while Kona will experience record yields.
The record yields in Kona have created a problem that growers have not encountered before. Mac Farms announced last week that it will not purchase nuts from growers this coming season due to processing constraints they expect as the result of the pending record crop. This will be addressed during the panel discussion this afternoon.
This coming season's nut-in-shell price is expected to start significantly lower than prices paid for this past year's crop. The cause of the lower NIS price seems to be the current decline in kernel prices in both the U.S. Mainland and world markets coupled with last years record crop in Australia.
For the past two years kernel prices have been on the rise and at their peak, created market resistance and this was followed by, what seemed to be, an over supply of kernel in the U.S. market. Kernel prices began to drop last fall and the trade is reluctant to do much buying in a falling market. Interestingly, the California Almond Industry is experiencing a similar situation.
International Tree Nut Council
In mid-March, I attended the INC convention in Montreal, Canada. While Rick Vidgen was with Mac Farms, he was our representative. Following his departure from Mac Farms, the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Industry has not been represented at the annual conferences. Since the HMNA contributes between $15,000 and $20,000 for nutritional research on Macadamia, it is important that we are represented. Of the other major macadamia producing countries, Australia had 7 people at the conference, South Africa had 7 people also and Brazil had 2.
I believe that this kind of exposure is good for our industry and the HMNA as it allows for interaction and sharing of information with others in the world's various tree nut industries. Maureen Ternus from INC/ENREF will be giving us an update on current and future nutritional research on tree nuts, to include the macadamia nut later in today's program.
At last year's conference, I presented the key components of our strategic plan and I would like to provide you with a status report on accomplishments in regard.
Hire a full-time executive director and establish an office in Hilo.
Status: Judy Magin, our new full-time executive director was hired in January. She has done an excellent job in her short time with us. We have established an office for her in the MLR Center (former C. Brewer Building).
Primarily farm (grower) oriented, aimed at increasing both kernel quality and farm productivity.
Status: The research committee, comprised of Jim Trump, Alan Yamaguchi, Hilary Brown, and Mike Nagao, has pulled together 3 research projects and they have obtained a significant amount of outside funding for these projects, most of it coming from the Farm Bureau. Presentations on these projects are included in today's program.
Within the Hawaiian Industry and specifically the HMNA membership, education becomes important. One of the more significant tools is the HMNA website. This site needs to be improved.
Status: We have a new website and following the break, Steve Parente will provide the details of where we are and where are going with the website.
Limited to the promotion of the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut. The manufacturers are best suited to support individual brand promotion.
Status: The displays at the Honolulu Airport (2 in the inter-island terminal and 1 in the overseas terminal) have been overhauled with new information and macadamia products.
The Promotion Committee will meet sometime towards the end of the summer to review priorities and establish a strategy for the next fiscal year (beginning July 1)
Financing of the Organization
The existing voluntary assessment program has worked in the past and it is felt that with a solid plan, it can work again. Commitment from the major growers and processors is needed.
Status: The voluntary assessment program, while a good concept, hasn't really achieved its goal of providing adequate funding for the association on an equally distributed basis. As a part of our budget process in July, the mechanics of the assessment program will be review and changed as necessary to provide a funding mechanism that is reasonably fair to all in the industry. It is possible that a totally different funding method will be investigated.
The HMNA provides a unified industry group that represents the Hawaiian Macadamia Industry.
Status: I still believe this to be true.
Thank you and enjoy the balance of the conference.