WSTFA Annual Meeting Recap

Thank you! It was an incredible three days in Wenatchee for the WSTFA annual meeting organized by Washington State Tree Fruit Association volunteer leaders and staff!

We are very appreciative of each of you that purchased raffle tickets vying for a chance to win the Rears sprayer, stopped by our booth to visit, donated "bins" to the WAEF bin yard, volunteered to sell raffle tickets and donated and purchased auction items.

Below is a rundown of WAEF's three days at the annual meeting:

Alumni Breakfast:

The third annual WAEF alumni breakfast occurred Tuesday morning. In addition to our graduates, we also invited current students in tree fruit degree tracts. When the invite went out we were unsure if any could leave college for a day or two this near the end of the term. Four of our current students elected to join us at the meeting.

WAEF alumni ushered students through the trade show and annual meeting sharing about their own recent entry into the industry.  This was also a time for WAEF mentors to connect with mentees.

We were delighted to see a growing number of alumni present in the industry and appreciated their interest in fostering interest amongst current college students.

Donate A Bin:

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The bin yard was the biggest ever! This year, Wilbur Ellis Company and Henry Sanguinetti Trees joined Orchard-Rite in matching "bins" donated to WAEF to help support student success. The bin yard leaped from a generous 100 bins last year to 300 bins this year! Thank you to each of our sponsors and donors for your meaningful support of students!

Scholarship Promotion:

Scattered throughout the convention were WAEF scholarship posters sharing about the amazing opportunities made available to industry young people. This year we also got to share directly with moms, dads and students in the Spanish session about scholarships and paying for college. So much interest! We hope this can again be included in future agendas.

Live & Silent Auction:

Auctioneer Paul Newman never fails! Paul led bidders in the live auction through fishing and hunting adventures, a three-case cellar of wine, wine tasting & touring, golf outings, spa trips & more! Thank you auction donors 2nd Street Grill, AgroFresh, Almond Blossom Roasted Nuts, Andrew Sundquist, Balsamroot Boutique, Bart Gebers, Beach Haven Resort, Bob Mast, Brian Alegria, Buell Hawkins, Café Columbia, Carousel French Cuisine, Cave B Estate Winery & Resort, Cha Fine Teas, CliftonLarsonAllen, Col Solare, Crane & Crane, Crunch Pak, Dan Plath, Davenport Hotels, Deedol Collection, Desert Wind Winery, D'Olivio, Fire, Full Bloom, Gamble Sands, Hans & Lavonne van Someren Gréve, Hot Rodzz Espresso, Hotel Maison, Ice, Icicle Outfitters, Jones of Washington, Kailan Dunn, Kiona Vineyards and Winery, Larry Martin, Leavenworth Golf Club, L'Ecole No 41, Maryhill Winery, Mike's Meat & Seafood, Miller Ranch, Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort, Orondo Cider Works, Peter Van Well, Phillippi Fruit Company. Inc., Pybus Bistro, Rachel Sullivan, Rears Mfg, Redmond Inn, Robin Mooney, Royal Produce, Ruth Pringle, Slidewaters, South, Tallman Ladders, The 5th Avenue Theater, The Butchart Gardens, The Cheesemonger's Shop, Tsillan Cellars, USI Kibble & Prentice & Pillar International Insurance Advisors, Valley Tractor, Van Doren Sales, Inc., Van Well Nursery, Washington Apple Commission, Washington State University, Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company, Wilbur Ellis and Yakima POM Club. And thank you auction sponsors AgroFresh, CliftonLarsonAllen and Yakima Pomological Club.

Rears Sprayer Raffle:

Who won the sprayer? The question likely top of mind when you began reading this e-newsletter. Monica Barragan won the sprayer.  Ms. Barragan purchased a ticket to help support the foundation even though she does not own an orchard. She was delighted when she won sharing "I told my husband we now need to buy an orchard!"

This is the 21st year the Rear family has generously donated a Powerblast sprayer for the raffle and a flail for the auction. We are so appreciative of their belief in WAEF and support for the industry. A special thank you to company president Mike Rear. In addition to donating equipment to WAEF, he spends two full days in the WAEF booth selling raffle tickets and engaging each person that stops by.

FFA Leadership Luncheon:

The final day of the convention for WAEF includes hosting 150 FFA members from around the state for lunch and an industry presentation following their state apple judging contest. This year we were thrilled to have Dan Steele of Abundant Robotics share about the work underway in robotic harvesting. Questions from students and teachers addressed cost & rewards of the equipment, use in other crops, planting requirements, and more.

The FFA Leadership Luncheon culminates in the announcement of the recipient of the $1000 scholarship awarded to the top place finisher. The WAEF scholarship this year is sponsored by the NCW Fieldman's Association. Branden Denton of East Valley High School is this year's first place finisher. Branden is a senior at the high school and intends to put the scholarship to use at the start of the next school year.