Taste the fruits of your labor and find ways to maximize your produce production at the first-ever Deep South Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show. The event will open on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the President Broadwater Towers Hotel and Conference Center in Biloxi, Miss. Southeast Farm Press and Delta Farm Press are sponsors of the regional meeting.
On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday with the trade show opening at 11 a.m. The general session begins at 1 p.m. with the following topics and speakers: Surviving in the 21st Century, Charles Gilliam, Auburn University; Keeping the Garden in the Garden State, Kurt Alstede, Alstede Farms; Agro-Tourism, Carl Motsenbocker, Louisiana State University; Agricultural Labor in 2003 and Beyond, Dan Bremer, AgWorks; From the Farm to the School Program, Ken Wilmoth, U.S. Department of Defense; Fresh Fruits & Vegetables: Foods that Help Preserve Quality of Life - We're Radical about them, Floyd Woods, Auburn University.
A New Farmers' Program, beginning at 6 p.m., will feature Jimmy Boudreaux of Louisiana State University speaking on the topic, “Getting Started in the Vegetable Business.” This will be followed by a panel discussion of new growers.
Concurrent sessions on Thursday, Dec. 5, will cover Vegetable Production, Fruit Crops, Blueberry Production, Citrus Production, Organic Fruit and Vegetable Production and Specialty Crops. These sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and adjourn at 5 p.m.
Agenda items of interest include: Plastics for Extending the Season and Increasing Returns; Variety Preview; New Tools for Insect Management; Disease Scouting and Sample Collecting for Diagnosis; Weed Management in Vegetable Crops; Commercial Production of Pumpkins and Winter Squashes; Postharvest Handling Practices for Vegetables; Economics of Production; and Boiler Litter in Vegetable Production.
Following the concurrent sessions Dec. 5, attendees can visit the “Taste of the States” exhibit, showcasing foods produced in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Friday morning's schedule consists of business meetings of the following organizations: Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association; Louisiana Vegetable Growers Association; Arkansas Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association; Miss-Lou Blueberry Growers Association; Louisiana Organic Growers Association; Mississippi Organic Growers Association; Miss-Lou Blueberry Grower Cooperative, and the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
Pre-registration for the meeting is $40 and can be completed online at www.msstate.edu/dept/cmrec/mfvga.htm. Additional registrants from the same organization or farm will be $30. Registration after Nov. 25 will be $50 and $40 respectively.
Hotel registrations can be made by calling 1-800-THE-PRES. The room rate for conference participants is $60 per night. Additional information about the conference is available from Bill Evans at (601) 892-3731 or [email protected].