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U OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION ANNOUNCES ITS 17TH ANNUAL FRUIT & VEGETABLE GROWERS CONFERENCE
Source: University Of Illinois news release

University of Illinois Extension and University of Wisconsin Extension will host the 17th Annual Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference on Monday, Feb. 11, at Midway Village Museum in Rockford.

The conference will feature speakers from University of Illinois Extension, University of Wisconsin Extension, and Purdue University Extension. Liz Maynard, Extension specialist with Purdue University, will be the keynote speaker.

She will discuss last year's cantaloupe contamination in Indiana - how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Other session topics include insect and disease control for fruits and vegetables, use of high tunnels, organic soil amendments, drought issues, crop storage, produce safety tips, and more.

The Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference is for both experienced and beginning farmers, conventional and organic growers, and those with many acres as well as small-scale market growers. Sessions will provide research-based information and best practices from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Purdue University Extension Services.

Competitions will be part of this year's conference. The Innovator Competition will highlight farmers' ability to fix, mend, and innovate. Entries can be anything that has been created to solve a problem or make a piece of equipment easier to use or safer to use. Only a picture and description are needed on the entry form.

The Social Media Contest, which will showcase farmers who have added marketing to their business plans and made an investment in marketing tools, will be offered at the Stateline Fruit and Vegetable School. Categories include farm websites, farm Facebook pages, and farm marketing tools such as brochures or flyers.

The categories will be evaluated for effectiveness, branding, comprehensive information, and professionalism. A nominal award to the entry with the most points will be announced during the last session on marketing.

The competitions are limited to registered participants in the Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Check out the rules and download an entry form at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw/.

The cost to attend is $40 per person or $50 for late registration (after Feb. 7). Registration includes two general education sessions, attendee's choice of four breakout sessions, continental breakfast, and lunch. To register, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw or call the U of I Extension-Winnebago County office at 815-986-4357.

For more information, contact Ellen Phillips, Extension educator and local foods and small farms educator at ephillps@illinois.edu or phone her at 815-732-2191.

The Annual Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference is co-sponsored by U of I and University of Wisconsin Extension.


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