Farming Magazine - November, 2009
Come to the Conference!
The 2009 New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show (NEVFC) takes place on December 15-17 in Manchester, N.H., at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel. This is a must-go event for commercial growers of all persuasions. It’s only held every other year, so don’t miss out. The diversity of topics covered means there’s sure to be something of interest for every kind of horticultural business.
This year, the program features five concurrent sessions every morning and every afternoon for three days. In the past, there have only been four concurrent sessions, so there’s more choice than ever. Each session includes five 30-minute presentations on a given topic, which totals up to 250 individual presentations organized into 30 sessions focused on major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops topics. Presenters include a great mix of farmers, researchers, extension and industry personnel.
|PHOTOS BY VERN GRUBINGER.
|Interested in reducing compaction and erosion on your farm? On December 16, there will be an entire session at the conference devoted to deep zone tillage.
You can earn plenty of CCA (certified crop adviser) and PAT (pesticide applicator training) credits, if you so desire, by attending the right mix of sessions during the educational program. For a listing of sessions and their credits, visit www.newenglandvfc.org/
In addition to the presentations, the conference’s trade show features over 100 exhibitors with all kinds of products that support the horticultural industry, from pest controls and fertilizers, seeds and plants, cultivation and irrigation equipment, to packaging and promotional materials. The trade show opens first thing in the morning, an hour and a half before the educational sessions, and is open during lunch and after the sessions as well, so you can visit all the exhibits without missing the talks you want to hear. For a list of exhibitors, see www.newenglandvfc.org/exhibitor_list.html.
Another popular part of the NEVFC is the Farmer-to-Farmer sessions. These are informal roundtable discussions led by experienced farmers; they take place at midday and late afternoon, when other presentations are not happening. Farmer-to-Farmer topics this year are: winter greens production, success with SARE farmer grants, diverse crops in high tunnels, learning with new farmers, growing great strawberries, cut flowers, equipment for weed control, disease management, grapes and farm wineries and seed selection, varieties and saving seeds.
The event is sponsored by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and the Massachusetts Fruit Grower’s Association, in conjunction with the universities of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine, as well as Cornell University and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. A steering committee representing these organizations, as well as farmers and industry, helps plan the overall conference and moderate the sessions.
Every effort is made to keep the cost of attending this conference low. The preregistration fee to attend any part or all of the conference or trade show is $90 for the first member of the farm or business and $60 for each additional member (family and/or employee) when preregistered with the first member. The preregistration fee for students (high school or college) is $40 each when pre-registered by the instructor.
Preregistrations must be received by November 30. You can preregister and pay for the conference online, or print out the registration form and mail it in with your payment. See www.newenglandvfc.org/registration.html.
There is an additional fee of $10 per person for late registration or walk-ins. Please bring your checkbook or cash if registering at the door; no credit cards are accepted. There is an ATM machine available in the hotel.
Pre-Conference GAPS Training
On Monday, December 14, a special workshop will be held from 1 to 5:30 p.m., prior to the NEVFC, to provide an introduction to the USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program. GAP certification is verification of practices on the farm to minimize microbial contamination in the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, and some wholesale buyers now require it. In this training, you will learn about the USDA third-party audit process and how to prepare a farm GAP plan. You will receive a manual filled with GAP resources and a CD loaded with templates that can help you keep the records you need to verify your GAP plan.
Registration for the GAP workshop is separate from registration for the conference. There will be a registration fee for each set of educational materials needed; participants who do not need educational materials will be able to register at a reduced rate.
To register or for additional information, contact Shirley Mietlicki-Floyd at 413-545-4420 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding the program, contact Rich Bonanno at 978-361-5650 or email@example.com.
The author is vegetable and berry specialist with University of Vermont Extension based at the Brattleboro office. Comment or question? Visit www.farmingforumsite.com and join in the discussions.