October 2015
Farm & Field

AFGA Conference

Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers meet for their annual Conference and Tradeshow on November 19-20, 2015.

In 2014, fresh market vegetable and melon production in Alabama was valued at more than $20 million, an increase of more than 25 percent over 2013. As Alabama growers look to improve production and their bottom line, the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Fall Conference will give producers the most recent information and research. The AFVG Conference and Tradeshow will be held November 19-20 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center in Chilton County.

Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, an entomologist and commercial horticulture program coordinator with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said fruit and vegetable producers are a valuable part of the state’s economy.

"We want to reach them with the quality farming information that they need," Majumdar said. "We hope that holding it on a Thursday and Friday in a more central location will make attending the conference easier for producers."

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and followed by a general session at 8:30 a.m. The second day of the conference and trade show opens at 7:30 a.m. and will end around 2:30 p.m.

The conference will feature farm tours on the first day for hands-on learning experience followed by educational sessions the next day for in-depth information. A producer networking session and equipment swap are also highlights of this event providing unparalleled networking opportunity for all participants. Also, experience the latest technology and farm equipment from many exhibitors showcasing their products and services. An agenda is available online and registration is open at www.aces.edu/dept/associations/afvga/2015FallConference.php. All major credit cards are accepted through the online system. Ten pesticide points are available for the entire event.

On Thursday, producers will tour the fruit farm operation at Petals from the Past as well as visit the Chilton Research and Extension Center to learn more about ongoing research into fruit production in orchards and high tunnels, plasticulture production of vegetables and strawberries, and pest management.

Workshops Thursday afternoon and Friday morning will address topics including pest management in sweet corn and squash, controlling vegetable diseases and new ways to market products.

"Dr. John Clark, a plant breeder with the University of Arkansas, will be one of our featured speakers," Majumdar said. "He has done extensive research in breeding improved blackberries, blueberries and peaches that should really interest many Alabama producers."

Other keynote speakers will include Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan and Alfa President Jimmy Parnell.

"We are working hard to invite the best possible speakers to deliver information that goes beyond any other conference for fruit and vegetable producers," said Ann Chambliss, AFVGA Conference Coordinator. "This fall’s conference offers a different agenda by introducing farm tours. These tours will showcase the latest technology and innovative farm practices to benefit new and experienced producers at the same time."

The conference is geared toward commercial producers, but Majumdar added that anyone interested in learning more about fruit and vegetable growing would benefit from attending.

Registration cost is $100 for the first member and $75 for the second member. The trade show cost is $300 per booth with two people.

Register today as a participant for a wonderful training and networking experience. Exhibitors are also invited to participate in the tradeshow for an unbeatable interaction. For exhibition queries, please contact Ann Chambliss (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or call 334-707-4923. For sponsorship or general registration questions, please contact AFVGA Executive Secretary Jackie Cooper (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or call 334-728-4117. For more information, visit the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website at www.aces.edu/go/560.