Texas High Tunnel Conference, SARE Strawberry Workshop set for Oct. 11, Oct. 12

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

People interested in high tunnel horticulture and strawberry production will have two opportunities to get the latest information on both during back-to-back workshops Oct. 11-12 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth.

The Oct. 11 Texas High Tunnel Conference will start with registration at 8 a.m., followed by the program from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the botanic garden’s Lecture Hall.

The Oct. 12 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE, Strawberry Workshop follows the same time frame, but will be in Rose Hall.

The preregistration deadline for both workshops is Oct. 3. Participants can register for one or both programs online at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/Horticulture or by phone at 979-845-2604.

“We have an exceptional agenda for both programs filled with expert presenters from across the U.S. who are experienced with many aspects of high tunnel and strawberry production,” said Dr. Russ Wallace, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist at Lubbock and a program coordinator. “These workshops will offer a rare opportunity to gain knowledge in two areas, often closely related, that have a very bright future in Texas agriculture.”

The Texas High Tunnel Conference topics and speakers will include:

– What’s New and What’s Not in Pesticide Laws and Regulations, Laura Miller, AgriLife Extension horticulture agent, Tarrant County.

– Aquaponics and High Tunnels: Are They a Good Match?, Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension  vegetable specialist, Overton.

– Adopting an Integrated Pest Management Strategy in High Tunnel Systems, Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management program specialist, Overton.

– U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service High Tunnel Options, Michael Brooks, USDA-NRCS, Arlington.

– Sustainable and Organic High Tunnel Vegetable Crop Production, Luke Freeman, National Center for Appropriate Technology horticulture specialist,Fayetteville, Arkansas.

– High Tunnel Design Options and Construction, Steve Upson, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation soils and crops consultant, Ardmore, Oklahoma.

– High Tunnel BlackBerry Production on the Texas High Plains: Year 1, Wallace.

– Group Discussion on Critical Issues with High Tunnel Production.

The SARE Strawberry Workshop topics and speakers will include:

– The Texas and Arkansas SARE Strawberry Project: Improving Organic Pest Control Options, Wallace.

– 100 Years of Growing Strawberries in Central Florida, Alicia Whidden, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences vegetable and small fruits Extension faculty, Hillsborough County, Florida.

– Sustainable Soil Management for Strawberries, Dr. Amanda McWhirt, University of Arkansas Extension specialist in horticulture and cropping systems.   

– Season Extension in Strawberry Production, an online presentation, Dr. Marvin Pritts, Cornell University professor of plant science and small-fruit production expert, Ithaca, New York.

– The Challenges of Growing Strawberries Successfully, Jim Goodson, Goodson Farm and Nursery co-owner, Damascus, Arkansas.

– Diagnosing Strawberry Diseases, Dr. Kevin Ong, Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab director, College Station.

– Strawberry Cultivar Performance in High Tunnels Under Under Sustainable and Organic Production Practices in Arkansas, Dr. Elena Garcia, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service professor of horticulture, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

For more information on the two programs, including information on sponsorships and exhibits, contact Wallace at 806-746-6101,rwwallace@ag.tamu.edu or Miller at 817-884-1945, lmiller@ag.tamu.edu .

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