December 2, 2009

The 2010 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show will have something of interest for anyone interested in fruit and vegetable production. This year's event convenes Jan. 4 at Lexington's Embassy Suites Hotel, and concludes around 5 p.m. Jan. 5.

Highlights of the meeting include a pre-conference record-keeping training; a Midwest Apple Improvement Association session where participants may taste new selections; and sessions on farmers' markets, commercial fruit and vegetable production, small fruit production, organic farming and gardening, woody cut stems, the Grape and Wine Short Course, winemaking, marketing, a food safety session detailing good agricultural practices training and third party audit preparation.

"We have many excellent sessions and speakers this year," said John Strang, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture horticulture specialist. "Success with fruit and vegetables is most always based on a producer's management skills, especially being able to do things on time. This conference is for beginners and experienced growers alike. We believe we have something to share with everyone, no matter how steep their learning curve."

The conference is a joint meeting of the Kentucky State Horticulture Society, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, the Kentucky Farmers' Market Association, the Midwest Apple Improvement Association and the Kentucky Grape and Wine Short Course. The conference also includes the inaugural meeting of the Organic Association of Kentucky, Strang said.

The Kentucky Vineyard Society will offer an optional Celebration of Kentucky Wines prior to the banquet. At the banquet, Drew Graham, assistant to the dean and director of advancement for the UK College of Agriculture will speak about interacting with the Kentucky legislature, and Thomas Barnes, UK extension wildlife specialist, will provide an entertaining discussion of "Wildflower Myths and Realities."

Participants will have an opportunity to use a Trading Post bulletin board to sell used equipment.

Conference registration is $30 and includes a one-year membership in the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, Kentucky State Horticulture Society or the Organic Association of Kentucky and entry into the Midwest Apple Improvement Association session and Grape and Wine Short Course. Banquet and luncheon tickets are only available with advanced registration by Dec. 18. The conference is jointly sponsored by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

For more information about the conference, or to request registration materials, contact Mary Ann Kelley at 270-365-7541, ext. 216. The conference program and registration sheet are available online at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Horticulture/conference2010reg.pdf.

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