BINGHAMTON, NY — After the rush of the holiday season Christmas tree growers from across New York and Pennsylvania gathered at the annual CTFANY Convention and Workshop to meet with other growers and stay up to date in the industry. This trade show has previously been held in Syracuse but was moved downstate to encourage attendance from southern New York and Pennsylvania growers, which tied into this year’s theme of “Stronger Together”. Working together in the industry will allow for better networking and exchange of information for established and beginning growers.
A trade show, wreath-making workshops, growing and shaping techniques, new findings on needle retention and pest problems and many other classes were offered. Many first year growers and those looking to enter the industry attended the event to network with current growers and suppliers. Classes on what to do with unused greens also gave growers ideas for an outlet for their products.
Some classes such as a discussion on the legal implications and opportunities of on-farm photography dealt with arising problems of photographers wanting to take photos of the farm and crops for weddings or other commercial uses of photography. The class explained the insurance issues and pros and cons of allowing on farm photography. Everyone in the class had a story of someone coming to their farm looking for photos and not many understood the implications or that this is becoming a growing trend.
Keynote speaker Marsha Gray of the National Christmas Tree Promotion Board spoke on the past years progress in marketing, research, and public reaction to the new campaign for real trees.
Commisioner of Agriculture Richard Ball spoke on the recent $50 million grant that was given to the New York State Fair due to record attendance and the fact that it is a great venue for introducing consumers with agriculture at its roots. Ball also touched on the constant struggle of first generation farmers getting into the industry. This year there will be a “one-stop shop” for those interested in becoming a part of the agricultural community. This will include everything from help with funding to informational resources.
Both days included opportunities to earn NYS-DEC Pesticide Applicator Credits and Pennsylvania Applicator credits as well.
CTFANY will hold their summer meeting in mid July. For more information on the organization and their events visit their website at christmastreesny.org.