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University of Minnesota Extension, Published January 12 2012

Fruit and vegetable growers conference, workshops offered in St. Cloud Jan. 19-20

ST. PAUL — The Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show will be Jan. 19-20 at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. This conference is an educational highlight of the year for commercial fruit and vegetable producers in the Upper Midwest.

The educational events will benefit all commercial fruit and vegetable growers—those who are well established, new growers and those thinking about commercial horticultural production. In addition to outstanding educational opportunities, a variety of vendors will showcase their products at the trade show.

Educational sessions will focus on berry production, specialty crops, pumpkins and vine crops, and tree fruits. High tunnel production, business management, pest management and a variety of marketing opportunities will also be discussed. Area growers are on the program along with University of Minnesota Extension specialists and other regional experts.

There will be two beginning grower workshops on Jan. 18 designed for people thinking about starting a commercial vegetable or small fruit operation. The beginning grower workshops will help growers learn to identify a variety of potential problems, and learn control options and methods to minimize the potential for economic loss.

Two other workshops will also be held Jan. 18 at River's Edge Convention Center. One will focus on community supported agriculture and things to do when starting a CSA, as well as ways to improve and expand existing CSAs. The other will focus on food safety and good agricultural practices.

The educational conference and workshops are sponsored by the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association in cooperation with University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the USDA-Risk Management Agency. These agencies are equal opportunity providers.