The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) heads south for its 69th American Convention July 24 to 26. The convention’s educational sessions, exhibitions and demonstrations will be held at the Duke Energy Center in downtown Cincinnati. The host hotel for this year’s convention is the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. This National Historic Landmark is in the center of downtown and only a block from the Duke Energy Center.

As in past years, the focus of the event is education and communication. The sessions begin on July 24. Topics cover issues from the basic, such as “How to Sell Your Business,” given by W. Kent Lutz of the Goering Center for Family & Private Business, to niche activities such as deer processing, given by Dan Glier of Glier’s Meats Inc., Mike Sloan of Swiss Meat & Sausage Company and Rick Reams of RJ’s Meats & Groceries.

On July 25, preventative maintenance will be the subject of discussion lead by Dean Dewig of Dewig Meats and Brett Walton of Mid-Western Research & Supply Inc. Gary Crane of Ralph’s Packing Co. will talk about “tricks of the trade” and give attendees a chance to share production shortcuts, innovations and techniques to save money and improve production.

Ranging from the serious to the “just for fun,” demonstrations will be held all three days of the convention in the exhibit hall. On July 24, food security will be covered with experts demonstrating some basic security techniques that can be implemented immediately in smaller processing plants. Attendees will also learn of the possibilities of moving into private-label production.

On July 25, fun activities take place with The Kid’s Cookie Decorating Competition open to children of attendees.

Kids will be able to compete in decorating animal-shaped cookies. Attendees will also see how to create gift boxes to enter into a largely untapped market. Ideas from the new-product demonstrations held the same day could be used to fill those gift boxes.

Demonstrations wrap up July 26 with information on new E. coli O157:H7 interventions that can be used by smaller to mid-sized processors. Attendees will also see how MarketMaker, a new online marketing resource connecting farmers, processors, retailers and consumers, can help a small company’s business. The searchable database has more than 200,000 profiles of farmers and other food-related enterprises in Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, Kentucky and New York. The weekend wraps up with the winner of AAMP’s 2001 American Cured Meat Championship talking about how he developed the turkey product that took home the Knebel Best of Show Memorial Award.

Those getting in a little earlier can attend the pre-convention workshop on July 23, “Old World Sausages and New Age Meat Processing.” The workshop will be held at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza and will be lead by Dr. Jeff Sindlear of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohl Schrader of Iowa State University, Dr. Lynn Knipe of Ohio State University and Klaus Kreiberg of Devro Inc.

The convention also includes a number of social events for attendees and their families, an exhibit hall with suppliers and organizations serving AAMP members, and the American Cured Meat Championships.