December 3, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

Farmers constantly are trying to find crops to supplement income or help offset declining tobacco profits. Many have turned to fruit and vegetable production and slowly are finding their niche.

A joint conference of the Kentucky Horticultural Society, Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association and Kentucky Grape and Wine Short Course on Jan. 3 and 4, 2005, in Lexington will give growers a chance to share ideas and learn from experts in fruit and vegetable production.

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

Concurrent sessions will take place throughout the two-day event at the Holiday Inn North covering many aspects of fruit and vegetable production including commercial tree fruit, greenhouses, vegetable production and farmers’ markets. Participants also will hear about heirloom vegetables and specialty crops, tree fruit integrated pest management, cut stem production and value-added processing, cooperative marketing, organic farming and gardening, and small fruit production.

Fruit and vegetable specialists from across the United States will be speaking to joint conference sessions on the first day. Special out-of-state speakers include: Wesley Kline, 
Rutgers University Extension vegetable and herb specialist; Fred Whitford, Purdue Pesticide Program coordinator; Jerry Cajka, district director, Investigations, Midwest Field Office, Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; Dave Lockwood, University of Tennessee Extension fruit specialist; and Alan Straw, UT small fruit and vegetable specialist.

Gwynn Henderson will speak on Dispelling the Myth: Prehistoric Indian Life in Kentucky at the banquet. The Kentucky Vineyard Society will host an optional “Celebration of Kentucky Wines” where participants may sample wines from 10 Kentucky wineries prior to the banquet, Strang said.

Registration is $25 and includes a one-year membership in the KVGA or KSHS and entry into the Grape and Wine Short Course. Advanced registration must be received by Dec. 20. Banquet and luncheon tickets are only available with advanced registration. 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 your local county Extension office or contact Mary Ann Kelley (270) 365-7541, ext. 216. The conference program is available at


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Contact: John Strang 859-257-5685