For almost three-quarters of a century, the American Association of Meat Processors’ annual convention has brought together small processors from around the country. This year, the 74th annual Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition heads to the East Coast, taking place at the Charleston Area Convention Center in Charleston, S.C. on July 18-20, 2013.
AAMP’s annual convention is geared toward U.S., Canadian, and foreign operators of small and very small firms in the meat, poultry & food business, including packers, processors, wholesalers, HRI, retailers, caterers, deli operators, home foodservice dealers and catalog marketers.
As in past years, the education sessions are designed to give attendees insights into potential new business opportunities or fine tune their operations. “BBQ 101” will take attendees through the basics of barbecuing. Bob Garner of Bob Garner Barbecue, Greenville, N.C., will lead the 90-minute session. There will also be two virtual plant tours of Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats Inc., Galesburg, Ill. and Frickenschmidt Foods, Lockwood, Mo.
Seminars geared toward the front office include discussions on creating an employee handbook, hiring and firing employees and labeling.
A pre-convention seminar on July 17 will tackle HACCP System Validation. The seminar will “aide members in the latest regulatory compliance issue and to offer exclusive AAMP resources that can be used by any establishment to validate their food safety systems,” according to the AAMP website. The cost of the seminar is $50 for members and $250 for non-members.
While not working to improve their business at the seminars, attendees can walk the show floor to look at the latest equipment and supplies for small processors. The floor of the Charleston Area Convention Center will be filled with suppliers ready to help processors take their business to the next level. For more information about some of the suppliers attending this year’s Convention, please see the booth previews on the following pages.
The American Cured Meat Championships, open to all AAMP members who are registered Convention attendees and produce their own products, is sure to get the competitive juices flowing. The only event of its kind in North America continues to grow, as more than one thousand products will be entered in more than two dozen categories. Judges will spend two days examining each product, checking external and internal appearance as well as taste. Four champions are chosen from each category, and one product will earn the coveted Clarence Knebel Best of Show Memorial Award. This year’s featured category is Flavored Bacon. 
The social gatherings at the AAMP Convention are always popular events, as attendees look to catch up with friends or talk business. AAMP’s Welcome Reception will be held at the Charleston Maritime Center on July 18. The Charleston Maritime Center was completed in October 1997 to bring the community in touch with the waterfront and Charleston’s rich maritime history. The closing event will be held in Ballroom A at the Charleston Area Convention Center. The Achievement and Accomplishment awards will be presented and the Grand Prize winner will be drawn. Tickets for both events are not included in the convention registration.
For more information about the AAMP Convention, please visit