"These schools offer information for anyone interested in small fruit or strawberry production, from novice to established producer," said Jeff Kindhart, senior research horticulture specialist at the University of Illinois Dixon Springs Agricultural Center. "The educational sessions can benefit people interested in developing viable income-producing enterprises on their small farm, or those who are interested in developing greater diversification in their large farming operations. But it will also be interesting for established growers."
Presentations will be provided by specialists from the University of Arkansas, and the University of Illinois as well as industry leaders. The Illinois Small Fruit School will be on March 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. It will feature a full day of educational sessions and provide information on small fruit crops that can be profitably grown in Illinois.
The first educational session will provide information on expanding small fruit sales. Other presentations will include pruning small fruit, starting a small fruit business, and fertility management for small fruit. There will also be educational talks on the research of small fruit production in high tunnels, managing spider mites and other fruit pests in high tunnels, and information on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program.
The Illinois Strawberry School will be held March 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Presentations will include information on risks of herbicide drift, weed control, strawberry plug plant production, managing fertility in strawberries, and strawberry plasticulture. Bill Bass, an experienced strawberry plasticulture producer in the Midwest, will share what he has learned in 20 years of experience with raising strawberries on plastic mulch.
In addition to the educational sessions, there will be a trade show both days featuring vendors offering products, supplies, and services to small fruit and strawberry growers.
The pre-registration fee is $35 per farm family and includes admission to the educational sessions and trade show along with a copy of the 2012 Midwest Commercial Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide. Registration forms must be postmarked March 1 to receive the early-bird rate. The same-day registration fee will be $40 per farm family.
For more information on these schools, contact Jeff Kindhart at 618-695-2441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.