If you grow fruits and vegetables in Alabama, make plans to attend the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow to join your partners who feed Alabama.

The Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be Friday, Feb. 8, at the Ham Wilson Arena at Auburn University and Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center in Auburn.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Association are organizing the conference. The two organizations have collaborated for more than 30 years to provide educational opportunities to the state’s fruit and vegetable growers. 

Both new and experienced growers will find topics beneficial to their operations at the two-day event.

Cost for the two-day conference is $80 if received before Jan. 31, and includes your 2013 membership fees to Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. The registration fee also includes supper on Friday night and lunch on Saturday.

Registration received after Jan. 31, will still be $80 but will not include meals.

For additional information and the registration forms (online or paper form that you can mail) visit the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website at http://www.aces.edu/department/associations/afvga/2013AFVGAConference.html.

On Friday, sessions will be held at the Ham Wilson Arena and will cover a variety of topics including soil conservation techniques, social media and its uses, farm and estate planning, and fruit crop updates. 

On Friday afternoon, there will be field tours looking at cover cropping techniques, measuring soil moisture, drip tape installation and maintenance, and demonstrating how to lay plastic in fields. Friday registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Also on Friday afternoon there will be two concurrent hands-on workshops in the ALFA Building Teaching Rooms.

There will be a fruit grafting workshop which has an additional $50 charge, and participants will receive common grafting equipment after completion.

Small family farms and limited-resource farmers can participate in a free workshop called ‘Wholesale Success” organized by the Wallace Center/Winrock International. This workshop is scheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

Register early if interested in either of these Friday workshop because classes fill up quickly.

Friday evening supper at 6 p.m. will have several distinguished guests interacting with producers and industry personnel. Among them will be state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Extension Director Gary Lemme, Dean of Agriculture William Batchelor, and Horticulture Department Chairperson Jeff Sibley.

This year, all exhibitors and sponsors will also have additional time to talk to the audience about their products and services during the general session on Friday (morning and evening program). However, you must indicate your willingness to speak on the registration form.

All conference events on Saturday will be at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Workshop sessions on Saturday include multiple tracks such as fruit and vegetable pest management updates, invasive pests, irrigation systems, and specialty fruit crop production in Alabama.

These workshops will provide research-based information from several subject-matter experts.

(Additional information about the conference can be found here).

A tradeshow will run concurrent to the conference with exhibitors who represent industries from Alabama to Michigan.

You can interact with the industry and government officials all day to get   answers to your questions.

Registration for individuals, exhibitors and sponsors is now open (see link above to download the registration form and mail it to AFVGA, P.O. Box 2081, Auburn, Ala.  36831-2081).

Please contact Leslie Brasher at thebrashers1@bellsouth.net for additional information. Register today for two days of fun and intense learning experience.