Wednesday, 03 October 2012 06:28

NABEC-CSBE Joint meeting - Local arrangement committee report

Joint Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference
(ON), July 15-18, 2012

Members of CSBE LAC: Franklin Kains, John Ogilvie, Jan Jofriet
Members of NABEC LAC:  Julie Cayley, Michelle Stuckless

The following report gives the highlights and observations of the Annual Technical Conference for CSBE held jointly with NABEC.

The conference ran from July 15 to July 18, 2012.  There were 4 pre-conference workshops on Sunday, the paper and poster presentations on Monday and Tuesday, a BBQ on Monday evening, a banquet on Tuesday evening and 2 post-conference tours on Wednesday.


The conference was held on the Orillia Campus of Lakehead University.   This was a new site for Lakehead University (2 years old) and is located at the edge of town.  The campus is made up of 3 buildings – the AcademicBuilding (main lecture and administration building), the student residence and the cafeteria, all within 50 m of each other.  This made for a very compact conference during the day. The 2 plenary sessions were held in the main lecture hall and the presentations and poster sessions in 4 classrooms on the second floor.

Registration and the Sunday evening reception were held in the common area on the main floor.   The facilities on the whole were excellent and, being new, were in perfect condition.


Academic Building, Lakehead University (Orillia Campus)


Accommodation was provided at 2 local hotels and in the student residences on campus.  Both hotels were 3 km from the university site.  The Best Western was also the site of the Tuesday evening banquet. The university residences rooms turned out to be exceptional.  They were new, well appointed and the room rate was less than half the hotel rates. 

Pre-conference Workshops

There were 4 preconference workshops held on Sunday preceding the conference.   Most attendees were preregistered with many students joining on-site. The topics as chosen by the VP Technical were: 

  • Biomass crop production for energy, Tim Rennie
  • On-farm anaerobic digestors for energy, Jake DeBruyn
  • Design of composting facilities for municipal organic waste management, Susan Antler
  • Nanotechnology: Exploring Practical Solutions in Agriculture, Food and Biological Systems, Suresh Neethirajan

There were a total of 50 attendees (original estimate was for 40).  The registration fee was $30 (lunch and refreshments included) for members and $60 for non-members. The numbers were fairly evenly distributed between workshops.  Attendees reported that they were very pleased with the material presented.


The registration process, operated through the CSBE/SCGAB website worked well, with online payment and sign up for various functions. This aspect of the LAC took up considerable time for two of the members of the committee – learning the system, and then dealing with the results.

On-site sign in started at 2:00 pm Sunday and ran until 6:00 pm when the wine and cheese reception started. To ease the load on the sign in table and to provide a attendees with nametags, the folders for each workshop registrant were given to the workshop leaders. With the workshops taking place both Sunday morning and afternoon, there were some who wanted to register earlier than 2:00 pm. It reopened again on Monday and Tuesday mornings.


On Sunday evening there was a wine and cheese reception for the delegates after the registration desk closed.   It ran from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  This time frame worked well as most attendees had left by 8:00 pm for their rooms. There was a host bar serving red and white wine.  The location was very close to the registration area, which was logistically an advantage.

Plenary Speakers

The plenary speakers were suggested by the LAC and approved by the executives of NABEC and CSBE/SCGAB.   On Monday morning Karen Landman, Landscape Architecture, UniversityofGuelph, spoke on urban agriculture and detailing her observations of the several North American cities she visited on her recent study leave/sabbatical.   On Tuesday morning, the plenary speaker was Helmi Ansari, director of Sustainability and Productivity with PepsiCo Foods.  He gave a wide ranging talk on sustainability, the energy we use, the waste we generate and the efforts by his company to reduce both in their manufacturing processes. Both talks were outstanding and well received.


The Monday evening BBQ was held atBayviewMemorial Parkon the shores ofLake Simcoe. It provided a sandy beach, swing area for kids and a roofed pavilion with picnic style tables. Food (hamburgers and sausages) were provided by a local catering company.   After eating, there was an informal music jam with Stacey Chirnside, her husband and others.  The beautiful setting and a warm summer evening made for a wonderful time of talking with friends and colleagues.

Awards Banquet

The awards banquet was held in the Best Western Mariposa Hotel, one of the 2 conference hotels.  As with many banquets, there was a cash bar before and during the banquet.  During the meal, wine was provided at the table and poured by the servers.

Accompanying person (guest) program

Two days of programs were set for accompanying persons.  On Monday, they did a walking tour of downtown Orillia and in the afternoon a boat tour of LakeCouchiching .  On the second day they visited the Coldwater Canadian Museum, and a farmer’s market.

Post Conference Technical Tours

There were 2 post conference tours arranged.

Tour 1 was to the Holland Marsh, a 7000-acre muck farming area south of Barrie that has provided Toronto with much of its vegetables (onions, carrots, etc) for 100 years.   We visited the Muck Crop Research Station (operated by the University of Guelph) and then a large vegetable farm and packing operation (Hillside Gardens).  Before lunch we toured the marsh by bus to view the current $25 m drainage works with commentary by the drainage superintendent for the township. They are deepening the canals and raising the levees to protect the marsh from flooding. (as happened during Hurricane Hazel, 1954).  We ended the day at the Holland Marsh winery with a tour of their facilities, a lunch and a wine tasting.   It was a very good tour particularly because of the people hosting us – they all could tell a good story of their operations or activities.

Tour 2 visited the Muskoka area.   This started at the university with a short tour of the new buildings to explain the features that gave them a LEED platinum rating.  The second stop was the Matchedash Bay wetland site (Ramsar world listing).   The third stop was the Big Chute marine railway, which carries pleasure boats up 60’ on an inclined railway.  A box lunch was provided by the university, which was eaten at this site.   The final stop was the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst to see the in-water exhibit of over 60 antique wooden boats.  This also was an excellent tour with many saying they had seen some very unique things.   The LEED tour did get too technical and a better direction to the tour guide as to who was on the tour and what they wanted to learn could have given it more focus.


Technical Sessions

There were 36 posters expected so we provided for 40 spaces.  There were also 85 oral presentations expected. The posters were mounted on 4’ h x 8’ w sheets of foam core (2 per sheet).   The posters were held on with velcro which we provided to the participants.


The primary promotion of the conference was through the CSBE website and the newsletter.  ASABE was able to put out update notices for the conference on very short notice (once in as little as little as 2 hours). Along with the regular material posted on the website (call for papers, the various programs, accommodation information, registration, etc), we did include a page on Vacation Tips.  

This was to give attendees some ideas as to what might be available in the area if they wished to stay longer in the area for a vacation.  We included information on cruising the Trent Severn Waterway in a rented houseboat, camping in Algonquin Park and exploring the Muskoka vacation region including some pictures and useful websites. 

The attendance statistics for the conference are available in the PDF Newsletter.

Read 3935 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 06:41
René Morissette

Research Engineer for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Québec City research centre. Mainly working on forage harvesting and conservation, biomass combustion. CSBE webmaster since 2008. Part-time webdesigner.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Submit your news

The CSBE is looking for news from its members!

Please send your text with good resolution pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Your news will be published in the next Perspectives Newsletter.

Search for News