Southern produce growers are reminded to mark their calendars Dec. 3-5 for the second annual Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Conference and Trade Show. Last year's meeting marked the first time farmers from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas joined together for a regional fruit and vegetable meeting.

More than 450 people attended the 2002 conference in Biloxi, Miss., in addition to 50 exhibitors.

Southeast Farm Press and Delta Farm Press are sponsors of the 2003 conference.

Adams Mark

Alabama is hosting this year's conference at the Adams Mark Hotel in Mobile. Along with extensive programs covering fruit crops, blueberries, vegetables, citrus, organic fruit and vegetable production, specialty fruits and vegetables, labor, and marketing, there will be a session on peach production and a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 3, on budding and grafting which will include a tour. Two optional spouse's programs will be offered on Thursday, Dec. 4.

Following registration and a general session on Wednesday, Dec. 3, concurrent sessions on Thursday will cover Blueberry Production, Peach Production, Vegetable Production, Organic Production and Citrus Production.

Overall schedule

Most of these sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and adjourn at 5 p.m.

Of particular interest to Southeastern producers will be the Vegetable Production session, featuring the following topics: Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Application Techniques; Diseases of Vegetable Crops; Healthy Soil Microbiology; Sanda for Controlling Purple and Yellow Nutsedge in Selected Vegetable Crops; Fertigation of Vegetable Crops — The Do's and Don'ts; New Variety Preview; Seedless Watermelons — More Popular Than Ever: What to Grow and How to Grow Them; Planting Date, Irrigation and Cultivar Affect on the Yields of Lima Beans; Monitoring Water Movement in Mulched Beds with Dye; Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower Production; Greens Production; and Special Marketing Efforts for Vegetables.

A New Grower's Session will feature the topics How to Get Started in the Vegetable Business and A New Grower's Story, presented by a Mississippi tomato producer.

For more information about the conference, call Joe Kemble at (334) 844-3050 or go to the following Web site: http://www2.netdoor.com/~mfvga.

Special rates

The Adams Mark Hotel is offering a special conference rate of $57 per night (plus tax and occupancy fee) for single occupancy and $67 for double occupancy. This is less than half of the hotel's normal room rate. To receive this special rate, you must be sure to make your reservations no later than three weeks before the start of the conference. When making your reservation, indicate that you are with the Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference.

To make your reservations, call 1-866-749-6069 or (251) 438-4000.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the conference, please contact Guy Feltenstein at (601) 483-3451.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com