On Gardening: Alabama produce growers conference slated for February
Nov 23, 2013 | 4962 views |  0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Producers should make plans now to attend the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow. The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, in Opelika. Organized by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Association, this is the premier educational conference for the state’s produce growers.

Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, leader of extension’s commercial horticulture team, says vegetable, fruit and nut production is an important part of the state’s economy.

“Consumers are hearing the message that purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables can mean better quality,” says Majumdar. “As a result of the increased demand for buying local, we are seeing more people producing fruits and vegetables that can be purchased locally here in Alabama. It is perhaps the fastest growing agriculture industry in Alabama.”

According to AFVGA President Jimmy Witt, growers of all levels of experience will find topics beneficial to their operations.

On Friday morning, concurrent educational sessions at the Ham Wilson Arena will cover a variety of topics including high-tunnel crop production, fruit and vegetable grafting, weed control, fumigation alternatives, no-till vegetable production, marketing the farm and pest management strategies in strawberry production.

Also Friday will be field tours looking at irrigation systems, soil moisture detectors, fire ant control, insect monitoring systems, conservation tillage and sprayer calibration. Friday registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

All conference events on Friday afternoon and Saturday will be held at the Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center. Friday workshop sessions include multiple tracks such as fruit and vegetable pest management updates, food safety, soil and water quality and pesticide safety. On Saturday, producers will learn about sustainable gardening practices and citrus production.

“These workshops will be presented by extension professionals, researchers and producers,” says Witt. “Of special interest on Saturday morning will be the session track for new and beginning farmers.”

A tradeshow will run concurrent to the conference with exhibitors from industries across the country. Attendees can earn pesticide continuing education points.

Cost for the two-day conference is $80 for individuals and $250 for exhibitors, which includes dinner on Friday. Registration is now open. For additional information, contact Jackie Cooper at jjcoop61@bellsouth.net or 334-728-4117, or visit the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association online at www.afvga.aces.edu.
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