The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), with funding made possible through a USDA Risk Management Agency educational partnership, is offering scholarships to Virginia growers to help defray the cost of attending the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Direct Marketing Conference (MADMC).

The conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Select in Solomons, Md., with pre-conference workshops Feb. 21-22.

Workshop topics include targeted marketing, cut flowers, creating and retaining sales staff, and more. Conference sessions will include everything from “Halloween: A Blueprint for Interactive Entertainment” to “Pass it On,” a session on transitioning the farm to the next generation, as well as agri-tainment, utilizing the media, working with your local government, marketing ideas for value-added products, e-tailing, and more.

Scholarships will cover the cost of the conference registration fee, workshop and lodging for two nights. Participants will pay for their own meals and transportation. Scholarship recipients must be growers in southeast Virginia who are raising produce, plan to increase produce acreage and want to stay abreast of the latest techniques and information.

Growers interested in applying for the scholarship to attend the Mid-Atlantic Direct Marketing Conference should contact VDACS Market Development Manager Gail Milteer at 1-757-569-1100 or via email at gail.moodymilteer@vdacs.virginia.gov to receive the application form.

The number of scholarships is limited. All interested growers are encouraged to apply; however, preference will be given to growers who have decreased their peanut acreage and have recently begun growing produce.

For more information on the Mid-Atlantic Direct Marketing Conference go to http://www.madmc.com/.