2010 National Institute: Are You Ready?

June 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

By: Mary Ann Hooker, Director of the National Institute

I can hardly believe it’s almost time for Institute! It seems like the discussion in Sacramento at the NALC meeting was just last week… Before long, December will be here and we’ll all be scurrying around trying to absorb all that the Central Coast has to offer.

The Central Coast of California has a long history of agriculture. The Rumsien Ohlone Indians gathered food along the Salinas River and Carmel River valleys for thousands of years. The Spanish padres introduced tomatoes, maize, olives, and other crops, including the grapes for their sacramental wine to this valley. Farm crops and farming techniques have evolved, transforming our local agriculture into the “Salad Bowl of the World.”

Monterey County’s Ag industry is the largest economic engine in the county. The county’s Ag production ranks third in the state and ninth in the nation. The diverse microclimates allow for a diverse range of commodities to be grown the county.

During your visit to Monterey County, you will experience some of its agricultural production and history during two full days of tours. The south county tour will include Gill’s onion processing plant. You will also learn how they convert their waste materials into green energy to power their Southern California plant. You will also tour their transplant nursery, which will be in production for early planting. Time will also be spent at the Monterey County Ag & Rural life and History of Irrigation museums.

The north county tour stops will include Ocean Mist artichoke fields and processing facility. And we will see how a value-added salad processing plant takes lettuce fresh from the field to packaged product ready for your local grocers shelves. Last, but not least, there will be a stop along the wine corridor for a little sampling of Monterey County’s fine wine…

Thursday evening we will get a taste of Central Coast BBQ at a beach themed evening – so feel free to wear your best Hawaiian shirt! Friday evening, we will dine along Cannery Row – made famous by Salinas’s own native son, John Steinbeck.

The Young Ag Leader Event will take place Friday afternoon, where YALE attendees will participate in the Ag Communication contest, sponsored by John Deere. The winners for this contest will then go to Washington D.C. for the Agriculture’s Promise event to complete their communications plan on Capital Hill. On Saturday, the YALE group activity will center on leadership skills.

The Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Monterey will be the Institute headquarters. The Hyatt, adjacent to the historic Old Del Monte golf course, has renovated the entire property. We have secured a deeply discounted rate of $120 night – a 37% savings over the current internet special rate and a 70% savings over their normal rack rate. On-site parking is free. All of Saturday’s events will be held at the Hyatt’s conference center. The Hyatt is offering the room rate to attendees who would like to arrive 3 days before Institute or stay later 3 days after Institute.

There are three options for you to arrive in Monterey: You can fly into the regional airport in Monterey. There currently are three carriers that service the airport with direct service from Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. If you fly into the Monterey airport, we ask that you notify us in advance so that we can make arrangements to pick you up. You can fly into San Francisco or San Jose airports and rent a car. The third option is fly into San Jose’s International airport – which has been designated as the official airport for the 2010 institute. Since the distance between the airport and the Hyatt is 80 miles, arrangements have been made for airport transportation on Wednesday and Sunday at a cost of  $50 per person for round trip door-to-door service – a 62% savings over the local airport shuttle service.

The website for this event is in it’s infancy: http://home.earthlink.net/~inst2010/. It currently has basic information for the Monterey Institute, so please check back often to see the most current information for this year’s Institute.

We look forward to seeing you on California’s Central Coast…

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Entry filed under: NYFEA info, The National Institute 2010.

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