By BOB RIGGS
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kicking off the coming year for ag meetings in the Bluegrass State will be the 2013 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show, in Lexington Jan. 7-8. The venue again this year will be the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Several grower and marketing associations will be represented and there will be educational sessions on topics such as: farmers’ markets, commercial fruit and vegetable production, small fruit production, organic farming and gardening, a grape and wine short course, beginning fruit and vegetable production, agritourism and wholesale marketing.
Participating professional organizations are the Kentucky State Horticulture Society, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Assoc., the Kentucky Farmers Market Assoc., the Organic Assoc. of Kentucky, the Kentucky Vineyard Society and the Kentucky Wine Assoc.
“It’s a nice place for growers to get together and talk to each other,” said John Strang, a fruit and vegetable specialist from the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture. “It is a chance for them to learn new ideas and angles for their businesses.”
Again this year, there will be some pre-conference sessions on Jan. 6 in the afternoon, highlighted by a winemaking techniques workshop and a fruit roundtable discussion. According to Strang, the fee is reasonable. Registration is only $30 and that allows attendees to get into any of the meetings. For the caterers’ convenience he would like people to sign up immediately.
Timothy Coolong is an assistant professor of vegetable production at UK and a coordinator of the educational sessions associated with vegetable production and organics. He said fruit growers from all over the state attend the conference, including a number of grape, vegetable and organic producers. Further, Coolong said there will also be several outstanding out-of-state speakers.
Speakers will include: Dr. Richard Bell, research horticulturist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Kearneysville, W.Va.; Dr. Brad Bergefurd, extension vegetable and small fruit crops, The Ohio State University; Dr. Chris Gunter, vegetable production specialist, and Dr. Barclay Poling, small fruit crop emeritus professor, North Carolina State University; Elizabeth Slater, In Short Direct Marketing, Windsor, Calif.; and Dr. David Lockwood and Dr. Annette Wszelaki, extension fruit and vegetable specialists, University of Tennessee.
Strang said there is a speaker coming in from the Appalachian Fruit Research Center to talk about pear production, too. “He is one of the top pear breeders in the U.S.,” he explained. “We don’t have a lot of that in the state.”
The registration fee is $30. Hotel and meals are only guaranteed with advance registration; to learn if registrations may still be accepted after Dec. 19, call Mary Ann Kelley at 270-365-7541, ext. 216.
Details ae available online at http://