Growers’ congress combines marketing and production sessions


COLUMBUS – If you’re a fruit or vegetable grower or specialty marketer, you can take advantage of more than 125 sessions and an extensive trade show this winter.

The Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Growers Congress, Direct Agricultural Marketing Conference and Ohio Christmas Tree Association winter meeting will be staged Jan. 21-23 at the Radisson Hotel/SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo.

The conference provides a forum for industry representatives and university researchers to interact with growers and marketers.

Developing market plan. Jane Eckert, Eckert AgriMarketing, kicks off the conference with a one-day Developing a Farm Market Plan workshop on Wednesday.

This workshop is designed to develop a marketing plan, strategies, budgets and discuss customer service and research.

General sessions. General sessions also begin Wednesday.

Several presentations include safety information that qualifies for the Ohio Farm Bureau Workers’ Compensation Program required safety training.

Sarah L. Fogleman of Kansas State University will lead presentations about workplace communications and creative employee compensation.

Don Nugent of Graceland Fruit Farm, Frankfort, Mich., will explain how he grew his fruit production into an international business that is now the largest processor of infused fruit in the world.

Wednesday’s final session features Christa Quinn, a weathercaster for WTVG-ABC 13.

Production sessions. Ohio State University specialists coordinated education programs for growers of tree fruit (apples, cider and stone fruit); processing vegetables; Christmas trees; small fruit; potatoes; greenhouse vegetables and hydroponics; truck crops; and direct marketing.

Session topics and schedules are found online at or

Trade show. The trade show opens Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the opening reception and prize drawings beginning at 4 p.m.

On Thursday, trade show hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with free morning coffee and pastry in the trade show and an ice cream social at 4 p.m.

Friday’s trade show hours are 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There will be education sessions presented in the trade show throughout the conference. Topics cover food safety, retail market sales, production practices, environmental self-assessment and research needs.

An exhibitors’ breakfast will be served Thursday, 7 a.m.

Awards and banquets. The Dave Ferree Recognition Dinner is Thursday evening in the Radisson.

Following the dinner, the associations are introducing a Presidents’ Networking Reception for growers, marketers, speakers, educators and trade show representatives.

Concurrent with the reception will be a card party for informal socializing.

Other special events for the conference include the Friday awards breakfast where the associations will present Distinguished Service Awards.

Cider Contest Blue Ribbon Awards will also be announced Friday morning and scholarship recipients will be recognized.

Association annual meetings follow the breakfast.

Growers and marketers can take advantage of preregistration savings. Exhibit space is also still available.

Contact Rachel Rittinger at 614-246-8292 or for more information.


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