Berries on a tree

Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Annual Conference Coming Up

Iowa association's annual two-day conference will be held Jan. 23-24 on DMACC campus at Ankeny.

The Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association conference will be held Jan. 23-24 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny, just north of Des Moines. The address of the Enrichment Center is 1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, in Ankeny.

High tunnel bramble production will be offered as an educational track at this year's conference. The day-long high tunnel track will be offered Friday, January 24 with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists Linda Naeve, Joe Hannan, Ajay Nair, Donald Lewis and Gail Nonnecke doing the instructing.

They will cover multiple aspects of bramble production including raspberry anatomy, life cycle, fertility, cultural practices, post-harvest handling, marketing and pest management. This workshop is geared toward growers who already have a high tunnel and are growing brambles or those looking to add brambles to their high tunnel. Space is limited for this track and available on a first come, first served basis.

IFVGA Annual conference details: The 2-day Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association conference includes a trade show and a variety of speakers and informative sessions for Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association members. More than 30 exhibitors will display the latest seeds, supplies, equipment and grower information.

Conference registration form and more details can be downloaded from the association's website; completed registrations can be emailed to [email protected]. Registration for the bramble production track is $55 prior to January 7 - same as the conference registration prior to January 7. After that, conference fees are $70 per day. IFVGA membership must be current; dues are $50 per farm. For more information, contact Joe Hannan at [email protected] or 515-993-4281.

Flavors of Northwest Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Production Series in February

In other news, ISU Extension will host a series of meetings this February for fruit and vegetable growers on transplanting, advanced high tunnel tomato production, drip irrigation and water management, and invasive pest management.  "These workshops address a variety of production problems that many growers deal with on a regular basis," said Joe Hannan, ISU Extension and Outreach horticulture field specialist.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

All workshops will be held at the ISU Extension and Outreach - Woodbury County office in Sioux City, 4301 Sergeant Rd #213, Sioux City. Pre-registration is required for all workshops by calling the Woodbury County office at 712-276-2157 or emailing [email protected].

* Transplant Production Workshop: Friday, Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 4. Cost is $30 per person; $35 for registration after Feb. 4. Sessions will focus on nutrient medium, lighting, pests, diseases and proper hardening techniques for transplants. This educational workshop will help growers learn how to successfully grow strong and healthy transplants

* Advanced High Tunnel Tomato Production Workshop: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration deadline is Friday Feb. 7. Cost is $55 per person or $90 per couple (or employees from the same farm) and includes a resource guide, lunch and refreshments. This workshop is for growers already using a high tunnel structure in their production system or desiring advanced high tunnel training. Topics covered include environmental control, nutrient management, foliar sampling, hands-on grafting practice, production budgets and succession plantings for maximum efficiency.

* Drip Irrigation and Water Management in Fruits and Vegetables Workshop: This session will be held Tuesday, Feb. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 14. Cost is $20 per person. Irrigation is an essential tool in vegetable production to grow high quality produce. Building a drip irrigation system and determining when and how much water to apply can be a challenge for anyone. This workshop will address the principles of drip irrigation, provide a hands-on opportunity to build system layouts in a classroom setting, and include small group and large group discussion on managing water on a produce farm.

* Invasive Pests in the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Workshop: Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 21. Cost is $20 per person. Spotted winged drosophila and brown marmorated stink bug are new invasive pests identified in Iowa. Spotted winged drosophila is a fruit fly, but unlike other fruit flies, it lays eggs in fresh fruit just prior to harvest instead of into rotting fruit. Brown marmorated stink bug is a stink bug with a wide host ranging across fruits, vegetables and ornamentals. Damage is severe and control is difficult. This workshop will discuss the life cycles for each pest, trapping, identification and management practices. For more information contact Joe Hannan at [email protected] or 515-993-4281.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Iowa Marketready is a new program offered for local food producers to reach beyond local consumers

While significant opportunity exists to build on the demand for local products in local markets, many farmers are hesitant or unprepared to meet the transactional requirements required by institutional, wholesale and restaurant buyers to manage food safety, insurance, product quality and traceability risks. Iowa MarketReady, a new program from ISU Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture, addresses these issues and seeks to educate food suppliers to succeed in today's markets and continue to be profitable, while utilizing a new marketing stream. The training is based around best business practices identified by buyers in these markets that are actively seeking local suppliers. Iowa MarketReady will help farm vendors selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables design a business strategy to succeed.

This two-day training will be held Feb. 20 and March 6, from noon – 5 p.m. both days at the Iowa State University Extension Linn County office, 383 Collins Road NE, Suite 201, Cedar Rapids. Producers need to attend both days of the workshop. Topics to be covered include communications and relationship building, packaging, labels, supply and delivery, post-harvest handling for produce, grading, insurance, regulatory and marketing.

The workshop costs $55 per person or $90 per couple or two employees from the same farm. Fees include training materials, light lunch and refreshments. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, call or email Christa at 515-294-4430 or [email protected]. Please give the name of the registrant, address, phone number, e-mail address and indicate whether the registrant is a produce or livestock/poultry/egg producer. Sponsors of the program include ISU Extension Value Added Agriculture Program and Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development.

TAGS: Extension
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