AAMPFor three-quarters of a century, small processors have been gathering to talk shop, share information about their businesses or discuss the opportunities or challenges of the meat industry in general. This annual gathering, sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors, moves to Milwaukee, Wis., this year. The 75th annual American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers Exhibition will be held from June 18-21 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Wisconsin Center.

AAMP’s annual convention is geared toward operators of small and very small firms in the meat, poultry & food business. Attendees to this event will discover a vast array of ideas, supplies and services. More than 60 exhibitors will be on the show floor to display their latest products.

The educational sessions at this year’s convention have been planned by a committee of meat industry participants. Morning-long concurrent sessions offer a wide variety of practical information, manufacturing solutions and business enhancement ideas. The focus is on small and very small operations. Session topics include: “How to Set Up an Allergen Program,” “How to Keep a Multi-Generational Company Thriving” and “Energy Saving Tips.”

How-to demonstrations, a popular event at past AAMP conventions, will return this year as well. “Value-Added Products Made Simple” will feature Jake Sailer of Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processors Inc., Randy Alewel of Alewel’s Country Meats and Randy Ream, Elburn Market Inc. They will show attendees how to take a product they already make and, with a little enhancement, create a new product to add to the bottom line. A demonstration on shelf-stable products will include the knowledge of Jason Jennings of Jennings Premium Meats, Doug Hankes of Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats, Rick Reams of RJ’s Meats & Groceries, Kevin Western of Western’s Smokehouse, and Jay Wenther of Handtmann Inc.

Wisconsin, of course, is home to numerous small meat processors, and two of them have agreed to participate in live facility tours. LeRoy Meats of Horicon is an old-fashioned meat market that has added many specialties with the changing times. Glenn’s Market & Catering is a full-service fresh meat market and catering service, selling authentic Wisconsin meat products such as bratwurst, bologna, meat snack sticks, and summer sausage. Additionally, PS Seasoning & Spices and Pro Smoker ‘N Roaster is hosting a tour of its facility, including the seasoning and smoker side. Lunch will be provided.

Given this year’s location, the American Cured Meats Championship is sure to be more competitive than ever, with hundreds of sausages, hams, jerky and bacon products vying for the coveted championship plaque, or even the Clarence Knebel Best of Show Memorial Award. This year’s annual featured class is the Bratwurst, and the Wisconsin processors in particular will be particularly determined to prove that their state is the Brat Capital of the United States.

For more information about the event, visit www.aamp.com. The deadline to receive the group rate at the Hilton is June 5.