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Vegetable Expo to focus on marketing

The 10th Desert Vegetable Crop Workshop and Expo is scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Yuma Convention Center, Yuma, Ariz.

The daylong program will feature a wide array of speakers addressing issues important to Arizona and California vegetable producers. A complete rundown of speakers and topics are on this page along with a registration form.

This educational program will be the 10th for the University of California and University of Arizona Extension services. The Expo trade show is a new addition.

Western Farm Press has teamed up with the UA and UC Extension desert vegetable specialists to expand the educational program into a full-scale trade show for desert vegetable producers. Also joining as co-sponsors of the workshop and trade show are the Yuma Valley Shippers Association and Western Growers Association.

Vegetable production has long been a part of desert southwest agriculture in Southern California and Arizona and Mexico, but it has grown significantly over the past decade, especially in the Yuma area where lettuce and other winter vegetables have replaced cotton, alfalfa and other crops as the No. 1 ag crop in the region.

"More than $500 million in winter vegetables are produced in the Yuma area alone," said Western Farm Press publisher Mike Gonitzke.

"Western Farm Press is pleased to organize the trade show and join with the universities and trade organizations in recognizing the winter vegetable industry."

"Teaming up with Western Farm Press, WGA and the Yuma shippers gives our desert vegetable workshop much greater exposure," said Kai Umeda, University of Arizona vegetable specialist and program co-chairman. Keith Mayberry, UC farm advisor, Imperial County, is co-chairman in organizing the technical workshop program.

"Combining the workshop with commercial exhibitors servicing desert vegetable producers will bring all segments of the industry together for one day to kick off the harvest season," he said.

"We are hoping for a big turnout to draw from the southwest region including New Mexico, California, Colorado, Arizona, and northern Mexico," said Umeda.

This year the program is focusing on marketing both in this country and in the export market.

"Marketing has always been very important, but now it is even more so with the tighter margins for growers and increasing costs," said Umeda. "We have an outstanding lineup of experts to address this important topic."

Also on the agenda are presentations on production and labor.

The trade show and educational program will be combined in the main exhibit hall of the convention center in Yuma.

Western Growers Association is organizing a forklift rodeo for the event.

The expo and educational workshop along with lunch are free, courtesy of Expo exhibitors.

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