Conference combines fruit, vegetable growers, marketers, Christmas trees

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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association, the Ohio Fruit Growers Society, Direct Agricultural Marketing Association of Ohio, Ohio Christmas Tree Association and the Ohio State University are proud to present the 2003 combined conference Jan. 15-17.

Fruit and vegetable growers, direct agricultural marketers, Christmas tree growers, Ohio State University faculty and staff and allied industry have prepared a package of quality educational sessions and a first-rate trade show.

Growers, marketers and exhibitors from Ohio and other states are welcome and encouraged to attend.

New addition. The Christmas Tree Association’s winter meeting is a major new addition to the conference.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Christmas tree growers to interact with educators, exhibitors and a diverse cross section of specialty crop growers.

“Technical and marketing educational sessions and the trade show are especially appealing,” said Dale Arnold, executive director of the association.

The group’s presence will also add new exhibitors for growers to exchange ideas and seek new opportunities.

Over 100 exhibitors will present their latest products and services for attendees.

Show specials. Since the conference is earlier in the year, some exhibitors have taken the opportunity to offer show specials on products or services. This will be an extra benefit to growers looking for that special deal to assemble inputs for the upcoming year.

Educational programming includes grower and marketer interaction along with presentations from numerous experts from throughout the country.

Susan Zies of OSU Extension will present Dermascan and how it is used as an educational tool to instruct about sun exposure.

Mary Donnell of OSU Extension and John Wargowsky of Mid American Ag & Hort Services will demonstrate how a new program, the Ohio Specialty Crop Food Safety Initiative, will assist Ohio produce growers in staying competitive by utilizing critical food safety procedures.

More programs. Ohio State’s Carl Zulauf and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Constance Jackson will discuss both domestic and international effects of the 2002 Farm Bill.

Wargowsky will also review current farm labor issues and Bob Devaney of Ohio Department of Agriculture will emphasis the provisions and implementation of the Worker Protection Standards.

Another general session will teach producers how to do business with Wal-Mart through direct store delivery and their central warehouse system.

Ohio State’s Sally Miller will present a seed quality workshop and Jerry Hillard of Farmland Insurance will discuss liability insurance issues from an insurer’s perspective concerning production, product and marketing liability.

Direct marketing will present a special session on trends and opportunities for Christmas tree marketing.

Other sessions. Other educational sessions will cover media relations and promotions; small fruits; processing vegetable crops; weather trends; bioweapons concerns; and farm labor documentation.

Friday’s emphasis will shift to business and financial management for growers; tree fruits; direct marketing; farm promotions and getting started in ag-entertainment.

Other marketing topics will deal with tourism, packaging trends, product branding, market newsletters and marketer experiences.

There will also be sessions on controlling wildlife damage, insect trap crops, varieties and more.

Attendance. All fruit and vegetable growers, direct agricultural marketers and Christmas tree growers are welcome to attend.

Full details of the conference will appear at www.ohiofruit.org and www.ohiovegetables.org.

For more information contact the Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Growers office at 614-246-8292 or growohio@ofbf.org.

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