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2010 Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference

The conference will kick off with opening session, "From Market Gardening to Commercial Readiness: Keys to Effective Production and Marketing Across a Range of Market Arenas" by Tim Woods, University of Kentucky. The remainder of the conference will include traditional concurrent breakout sessions on fruits, vegetables, herbs, irrigation, agritourism/marketing, and business management.

What
When Jan 06, 2010 10:00 AM to
Jan 08, 2010 05:00 PM
Where Springfield, IL, Crowne Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
Contact Name Diane Handley
Contact Phone 309/557-2107
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Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference

January 6-8, 2010

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, IL

The Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference will be held January 6-8, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, IL.  Three pre-conference workshops (concurrent) will be offered during the daytime on Wednesday, January 6, which will include “Grow Your Market:  Creating a Memorable Experience for Customers,” “Getting Started in Local Food Production and Marketing,” and “Expanding Seasons and Markets with High Tunnels.”

On Thursday and Friday, January 7-8, the conference will kick off with an opening session entitled "From Market Gardening to Commercial Readiness:  Keys to Effective Production and Marketing Across a Range of Market Arenas" by Tim Woods, University of Kentucky. The remainder of the conference will include the traditional concurrent breakout sessions on fruits, vegetables, herbs, irrigation, agritourism/marketing, and business management.  New to the conference this year will be two organic tracks.  Thursday evening will feature a banquet followed by the announcement of the annual cider contest winners and comments from Doc Patterson, Fire Service Chaplain for the Lake County Honor Guard.

Peach and apple production will take center stage of the fruit breakout sessions with talks on disease management, thinning, insecticides, and fertility management to name a few.  James Schupp, Penn State University, will discuss “Plant Growth Regulators for Apples and Peaches” and “Current and Potential Approaches to Thinning in Apples and Peaches.”  “Fertility Management for Fruit Production” will be the focus of presentation by Eric Hansen, Michigan State University.

Topics in the vegetable sessions will run the gamut of disease, insect, and weed management to production problems to marketing.  Carl Cantaloupi, North Carolina State University, will discuss “Producing and Marketing Asparagus.”  Vegetables focused on will include asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and sweet corn.

The agritourism/marketing track will feature sessions on agritourism liability insurance, customer service, public relations and advertising strategies, and increasing marketing impact with photography.  Marsh Laux, Iowa State University Extension will speak on "Iowa Agritourism Development." Herb concurrent sessions will include subjects such as field herb production, composting processing and landscape waste, transitioning to organic greenhouse growing, seasonal herbs, and herb of the year.  Jim Crosby, Crosby Mint Farm, St. Johns, MI, will talk about "History of Mint Production in the US and the Changing Market" and "Medicinal Uses of Mint and Sustainable Living."

Organic Production joins the conference this year with two concurrent tracts of educational programming focusing on the following areas:  integrated organic vegetable production systems, grain and livestock systems, fruit production, and research.  Pete Johnson, Pete's Greens, Craftsbury, VT, kicks off the two organic sessions with "Building a Healthy Food System," followed by Steve Pincus and Beth Kazmar, Tipi Produce, Evanston, WI, with a talk on "Farming and Marketing in a Homegrown Wisconsin Co-op."

The 21st Annual Cider Contest and the 8th Annual Hard Cider Contest will again be held in conjunction with the conference.  For more information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Wahle, U of I Extension, at 618/692-9434 or wahle@uiuc.edu.  Or, please refer to the ISGA web site:  http://www.specialtygrowers.org/confagenda.htm. Trade show plans have spaces for over 50 exhibitors.  Plenty of time is allowed between sessions to visit with exhibitors.  Space is still available for those wishing to exhibit their specialty crop products or services. 

To receive registration materials or to obtain exhibitor information, please contact Diane Handley at 309/557-2107 or handley@ilfb.org.  A detailed conference agenda can be viewed at www.specialtygrowers.org.  The Crowne Plaza Hotel is reserving a block of rooms for $83 per night plus tax.  Please call the hotel directly at 217/529-7777 to make your reservations and ask for the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference rate.

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