A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference set for Jan. 6-7 at Lexington’s Embassy Suites Hotel

By Carol Lea Spence
University of Kentucky

Fruit and vegetable producers will find information aplenty at the 2020 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference Jan. 6-7 at Lexington’s Embassy Suites Hotel.

“This yearly conference provides growers with up-to-date information that will help production, management, business and marketing aspects of their operations,” said Rachel Rudolph, extension vegetable specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We’ve changed things up a bit this year. For example, for vegetable production, there are separate tracks for experienced growers and new growers.

“We think this will allow us to better target the right audience with the appropriate information.”

Pre-conference sessions on Jan. 5 will begin with a workshop about farm food safety plan writing and a farmers market short course at 3 p.m., a vegetable roundtable discussion at 6:30 p.m., and a tree and small fruit roundtable at 7:30 p.m.

During the conference, participants may choose from several concurrent sessions with topics that include direct marketing, commercial fruit and vegetable production, organic production, protected agricultural production, marketing and business management, a grape and wine short course and updates on Produce Best Practices Training, PBPT, and the Food Safety Modernization Act, FSMA.

Early June growth of apples at the UK Horticulture Research Farm. (Photo by Stephen Patton)

In addition to UK extension associates and specialists, speakers will include Gary Gao, extension small fruit specialist, and Matthew Kleinhenz, vegetable production systems extension specialist, from The Ohio State University; Wayne Mitchem, Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium coordinator and fruit weed management extension associate, North Carolina State University; and Scott Rush, president, Farmers Alliance, Immokalee, Florida.

An Exhibitor/Grower Luncheon will be offered on Jan. 6, with an optional wine tasting that evening. Both the Monday and Tuesday luncheons will feature Kentucky Proud products. Participants will be able to explore exhibits on both days during the trade show.

The conference is a joint meeting of the Kentucky State Horticulture Society, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, the Organic Association of Kentucky, the Kentucky Wineries Association, and the Kentucky Horticulture Council, in cooperation with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Conference preregistration is $40 per person, while registration after Dec. 13 or at the door is $60. Registration includes a one-year membership in the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, Kentucky State Horticulture Society or the Organic Association of Kentucky and entrance to the Grape and Wine Short Course.

A block of rooms at The Embassy Suites will be held until Jan. 3. Call 859-455-5000 to obtain the conference’s special room rate of $123 per night.

The conference program and registration information are available online at www.uky.edu.

Carol Lea Spence writes for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

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