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Deep South fruit, vegetable conference approaching

Pre-registration and hotel reservation deadlines are fast approaching for the Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show. The conference will be Dec. 8-10 at the Riverview Plaza, formerly the Adams Mark Hotel in Mobile.

Southeast Farm Press and Delta Farm Press/i> are promotional sponsors of the conference and trade show.

Reservations must be made by Nov. 15 to get the conference room rate.

Producers should call 1-251-438-4000 and identify themselves with the Deep South Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference. The conference occupancy rate is $63 for single and $73 for double, which includes parking.

Pre-registration forms are due by Nov. 25. Pre-registration is $50.

Additional registrants from the same organization or family will be $35 each. Registration after Nov. 25 will be $60 and $50, respectively.

Growers can visit the Web site at to download registration forms as well as a conference schedule.

The conference will bring together Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Associations from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

"Growers really need to stay on top of things to stay competitive," said Joe Kemble, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System horticulturist and adviser to the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. "As a grower, you can't just do your own thing and ignore what is around you. If someone wants to remain competitive, especially outside the state of Alabama, they need all the information they can get. The conference is a great opportunity to do just that."

Scientists from throughout the United States will speak at a diverse conference offering the latest information in production methods.

As the demand for organic crops increases, the need for producers to supply that demand has become a profit-based opportunity. A panel discussion addressing the approved methods of organic crop production should be a conference highlight.

Topics to be discussed include specialized equipment, organic and biological product usage, approved pesticides and fertilizers and the profitability of organic production.

Other production topics include sessions for new blueberry growers, fig production, growth and development of the pecan nut, plums, greenhouse tomatoes and growing cucurbits (watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins, squash and other vining crops).

Presentations discussing other important issues and opportunities important to a successful operation are web marketing, migrant versus local labor, record keeping, food safety, bio-terrorism, value-added products and agri-tourism.

"If growers are looking for the latest information in labeling regulations, blueberry production or pecan production, they should attend this conference," says Kemble. "With all of this information available at one location, there is something for all types of producers."

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