The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference has been scheduled for Jan. 6-9. The event, sponsored by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) and the South Carolina Peach Council, will be held in Savannah, Ga., at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Featuring informative workshops, classes and demonstrations, the 2011 event has also been expanded to include a third day of programs. In addition, The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association will hold their annual meeting in conjunction with the conference as well.

Designed to bring the most up-to-date and relevant information to the fruit and vegetable industry, the 2011 show promises to be bigger and better than ever. More than 2,200 growers and industry representatives attended in 2010.

The conference, currently in its 13th year, offers some of the most informative educational sessions available for fruit and vegetable production. During the three-day program, more than 85 hours of commodity-specific production training, pest management information and marketing updates are offered to attendees.

Commodities include peaches, vegetables, Vidalia onions, watermelons, muscadines, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and pecans. In addition to the commodity production sessions, special Good Agricultural (GAP) Food Safety, Organic Production and Roadside Markets sessions will be held. A Business Operations educational track has also been added this year to help producers across all commodities run the day-to-day operations of their organizations and make sound business and marketing decisions. Continuing education credits are available.

Other special events

Other special events are planned for the conference as well. On Saturday morning, there will be an awards program and several individuals and groups will be recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry. On Sunday, an Industry Roundtable is planned for both growers and suppliers to discuss issues of mutual concern. This forum provides input for the 2011 Program of Work to be adopted by the GFVGA Board of Directors in February 2011.

The 2011 Trade Show, held in conjunction with the educational sessions, offers an exciting assembly of vendors and suppliers to the fruit and vegetable industry. With more than 200 companies already committed to the conference, the 2011 Trade Show will provide attendees the opportunity to compare products, talk with industry representatives, observe demonstrations, network with other growers, and learn about the latest in fresh produce technology. Hours for the Trade Show have been expanded in 2011 to give both attendees and exhibitors plenty of time for interaction.

Other events during the conference include a Friday night reception and live auction on the trade show floor, a Saturday night reception at the Westin Savannah Harbor and a silent auction held during the trade show.

For more information on hotels, education sessions or to register for the 2011 SE Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference go to www.gfvga.org or call (706) 845-8200. Take advantage of early bird discounts by registering before Dec. 15, 2010.

GFVGA is a trade association representing farmers producing fruits and vegetables in the southeastern United States. The organization provides a viable and united voice to represent the industry. Through support for educational programs, agricultural research, member services and marketing activities, GFVGA encourages efficient, cost-effective production for growers and increased consumption by consumers.