East Texas Fruit and Vegetable Conference to offer tips, tricks for amateur and expert growers

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

The inaugural East Texas Fruit and Vegetable Conference will offer professional and amateur producers tips on everything from wildlife management to vegetable and fruit production and marketing.

The event will be Aug. 19 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1710 Farm-to-Market Road 3053 in Overton. There is a $30 fee for individuals and $50 for couples. The deadline to register is Aug. 1. There is an additional $5 charge for late registration.

The program offers three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education credits.

Registration for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program begins at 8 a.m. followed by an 8:45 a.m. discussion on wildlife management and controlling wild pigs by Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Overton. Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist, Overton, will discuss the use of aquaponics systems for production, followed by beekeeper Gus Wolf, Big Sandy.

Concurrent educational sessions for producers and homeowners will begin at 12:45 p.m. following a free lunch. Randy Reeves, AgriLife Extension agent, Gregg County, and Chad Gulley, AgriLife Extension agent, Smith County, will moderate the producer and homeowner sessions, respectively. The sessions include:

For producers:

  • 12:45-1:30 p.m.  Vegetable production, Lowell Tanksley, of Tanksley Farm, Quitman.
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m.  Stone fruit production, Elizabeth and Brady Johnson, Cooper Farm, Fairfield.
  • 2:30-3:20 p.m. Marketing, Kim and Randy Snider, Snider Farms, Neches.

For homeowners:

  • 12:45-1:30 p.m.  Backyard grape and muscadine production, Justin Scheiner, AgriLife Extension viticulturist, College Station.
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m.  Integrated pest management, Masabni.
  • 2:30-3:20 p.m.  Figs, David Creech, director of the Stephen F. Austin University Gardens, Nacogdoches.

A tour of an aquaponics greenhouse will follow the sessions at 3:30 p.m.

Masabni said the event was organized to meet the growing demand for information about fruit and vegetable production for home gardeners and established commercial growers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn some tips and tricks from our specialists and growers on how to be successful,” he said. “It’s a chance to see what successful producers are doing to grow better quality and quantities of fruit and vegetables and how to market your products and farming operation.”

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