The Illinois Association of Meat Processors’ Annual Convention boasts a line up of educational seminars, hands-on processing demonstrations, 60+ booth trade show and social activities. This annual event is usually held on the fourth weekend of February each year.
The current convention site is the Thelma Keller Convention Center and Holiday Inn at Effingham, IL. The Thelma Keller Convention Center is conveniently located in Central Illinois. It is a comfortable drive for guests arriving from across the State or throughout the entire Midwest. Effingham offers easy access via major Interstate, U.S. and Illinois highways. The convention center is located at the intersection of Interstates 57 & 70 at Exit 160, U.S. highways 40 & 45 and Illinois highways 32 & 33.
The focus of IAMP is to bring meaningful programs for its members to the convention. Past sessions have included meat processing tips, business planning, social media, energy saving tips, panel discussions on remodeling, upcoming inspection regulations, venison processing tips, marketing tips and many more. The educational seminars usually include timely issues and are relevant for the small to mid-sized meat processing.
Each year the convention begins on Thursday with either a hand-on demonstrations and involvement at the University of Illinois or a bus trip to local plants or supplier members.
One of the highlights of the convention each year is the Product Show. IAMP is proud to have over 200 entries in 24 classes each year. Plaques are presented to the top three winners in each class to display in your plant. The IAMP Convention is also home to the Innovative Beef Competition sponsored by the Illinois Beef Association and the Innovative Pork Competition sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producer’s Association. The Innovative contests allow members to bring new and exciting products for evaluation. Winners of each competition receive $450 and the runner up receives $200 to be earmarked for advertising and a product launch. IAMP also promotes the both the Innovative winners and the Product Show winners at the Illinois State Fair.
The 60+ booth trade show features vendors from all aspects of meat processing, packaging and business needs. Vendors may include processing and packaging equipment and supplies, spices, seasonings and additives, natural and collagen casings, cleaning equipment and supplies, scales and labeling equipment and supplies, grills and smokers, refrigeration needs, smokehouse controls, rendering and meat wholesalers. Other related vendors may include promotional items, insurance needs, financial solutions, pest management, testing and lab needs and related retail items (fruits, vegetables, cheese and more).
The convention continues to be a “family” event with events for the young ones too. Kids may participate in the Kids’ Judging where they chose the best of a meats class which is usually wieners. They may also show off the talents in the Snack Art Competition. Finally, all kids are welcome to have fun at the Annual Pizza, Swim and Movie party.
Even though IAMP offers many opportunities to learn and help you with your business, we do have several social events to meet new contacts and “catch up” with old friends. The convention includes a Mix n’ Mingle with meats provided by the IAMP President.. The awards for the product show are presented on Saturday afternoon. The Annual Banquet premiers fantastic Prime Rib and Pork Loin Buffet and the honoring of the Sleeter Bull Award. Entertainment follows the banquet and has included a casino night, IAMP Derby, bands or musical entertainment.
The convention also serves as a time to for the IAMP Board of Directors to get feedback from the membership and plan the upcoming year’s activities. Three meetings are held during the convention: Annual Membership Meeting and two Board Meetings.
The IAMP Convention and Trade Show are only open to members of the association, but first time members may receive a complimentary convention registration. Please contact the IAMP Executive Secretary for further details.