As I write this report we, as an industry, are approaching yet another year of producing, processing and supplying the highest quality peppermint and spearmint oil to the global marketplace. Our organization, the MIRC, remains highly active on many fronts and we, without any doubt, “punch above our weight” for a council with relatively small membership. Despite what we have been able to achieve over the years, it is critical that we continue to always be on the lookout for new membership and I encourage all current members to play an active role in recruitment! Current prospects include IFF and Mane and I continue to have discussions with them concerning potential membership.
It was delightful to see such active participation, as always, at our annual meeting held January in San Diego. All facets of our membership clearly continue to work together, along with our esteemed researchers, to reach common goals relating to varietal improvement, IPM/disease management and improvements in various areas of distillation.
Although space does not permit me to name all of the valuable research/researchers, specifically there are two I would like to make a reference to. Dr. Bryan Raudenbush of Wheeling Jesuit University has provided some promising results relating to the effects of Mentha Piperita scent on pain threshold, pain tolerance, physiology, mood and workload. As finding new marketplaces for the use of peppermint and spearmint would undoubtedly be beneficial to us all, this new research has upside potential and the SAC is currently working with Dr. Raudenbush to explore how to best move forward with this research. Secondly, Dr. Troy Peters of Washington State University has recently submitted a research proposal that would compare Low Elevation Precision Application (LEPA) to Mid Elevation Sprinkler Application (MESA) yield under full-size 8 span center pivot. Data will demonstrate water and energy savings as well as oil yield increase with LEPA. I believe this to be of interest due to the ever increasing global concerns surrounding water conservation.
From behind the scenes, Steve Salisbury continues to tirelessly work hand in hand with the SAC to monitor and manage the valuable research being conducted for the MIRC. He continues to work closely with the IR-4 (EPA) in hopes of assuring we have the tools necessary to manage/combat the various pests that present challenges to the healthy production of United States peppermint and spearmint oils. Of course, on behalf of the entire MIRC, I would be remiss if not to mention the fantastic administrative work being done by Bryan, Kari and the entire Ostlund team.
I would like to finish by thanking all fellow officers and committee members who continue to volunteer their time to support the betterment of our great industry.