If you grow fruits and vegetables in Alabama, make plans to attend the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow to join your partners who feed Alabama. The Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be Friday, Feb. 8 at the Ham Wilson Arena and Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center in Auburn, Ala. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Association are organizing this conference. The two organizations have collaborated for more than 30 years to provide educational opportunities to the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.
Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, an Extension entomologist who leads Extension’s Commercial Horticulture Team, says demand for locally grown produce continues to increase.
“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.”
Both new and experienced growers will find topics beneficial to their operations at the two day event. Cost for the two day conference is $80 if received before January 31 and includes your 2013 membership fees to AFVGA. Registration fee also includes supper on Friday night and lunch on Saturday. Registration received after January 31 will still be $80 but will not include meals. For additional information, visit the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website at www.aces.edu/department/associations/afvga.
On Friday, sessions will be held at the Ham Wilson Arena and will cover a variety of topics including soil conservation techniques, social media and its uses, farm and estate planning, and fruit crop updates. On Friday afternoon, there will be field tours looking at cover cropping techniques, measuring soil moisture, drip tape installation and maintenance, and demonstrating how to lay plastic in fields. Friday registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
Also on Friday afternoon there will be two concurrent hands-on workshops. There will be a fruit grafting workshop which has an additional $50 charge and participants will receive common grafting equipment after completion. Small family farms and limited resource farmers can participate in a free workshop called ‘Wholesale Success’ organized by the Wallace Center/Winrock International. This workshop is scheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Register early if interested in either of these Friday workshop because class size is limited for both.
All conference events on Saturday will be at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Workshop sessions on Saturday include multiple tracks such as fruit and vegetable pest management updates, invasive pests, irrigation systems, and specialty crop production in Alabama. These workshops will provide research-based information from several subject-matter experts. A tradeshow will run concurrent to the conference with exhibitors who represent industries from Alabama to Michigan. Registration for individuals, exhibitors and sponsors is now open. Contact Leslie Brasher at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on how to register.
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