December 8, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson

Kentucky agriculture producers are finding more and more alternatives to tobacco, including fruits and vegetables. But the learning curve sometimes is steep. 

In an effort to provide the most up-to-date information about growing fruits and vegetables, a conference involving the Kentucky Horticultural Society, Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association and Kentucky Grape and Wine Short Course will be Jan. 10-11, 2006, in Lexington. Growers will also have a chance to share ideas and learn from experts in fruit and vegetable production and marketing.

“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 in Lexington covering many aspects of fruit and vegetable production, including commercial tree fruit, drip irrigation, winemaking 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, blueberry production, 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: Alan Walters, Southern Illinois University Extension vegetable specialist; Eric Hanson, Michigan State University Extension small fruit specialist; Dave Lockwood, University of Tennessee Extension fruit specialist; Duane Green, University of Massachusetts fruit research and teaching; Andrew Allen, Missouri State University viticulture adviser and Richard Boniak, University of Illinois soil physicist.

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.

Conference registration is $15 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. 21. 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 online at the following address,



Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: John Strang 859-257-5685