By Ashley Robinson
More than a decade ago, growers Tony DiMare and Jay Taylor attended a fruit and vegetable tour and expo in Mexico. They realized Florida needed a similar type of event.
As members of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) Advisory Council, both growers worked with the center to form the first Florida Ag Expo. The event launched in 2006 after the GCREC opened in 2005. The Florida Ag Expo began as a way for the center to showcase its fruit and vegetable research. Over the last decade, the event evolved and changed as Florida’s agricultural landscape shifted. The state’s fruit and vegetable growers turn to the Florida Ag Expo to keep them updated on the latest research and products.
The Florida Ag Expo is gearing up for its best year yet as AgNet Media (publisher of VSCNews) takes over management of the event. AgNet Media is excited to be working with UF/IFAS to bring growers and industry together on Nov. 21 for a day of networking, education and a chance to see all the great work being done at the GCREC.
Florida vegetable and specialty crop producers will not want to miss this one-day event. Growers will learn about key topics and up-and-coming crops in Florida that should be of interest to both large and small acreage farmers.
With all the hype surrounding hemp as an emerging alternative crop in Florida, many growers are still considering whether they’ll produce the crop once legalities allow them to do so. Growers can meet Holly Bell, Florida director of cannabis, and hear her speak at the event. Bell will give an overview of Florida’s hemp industry, which will be followed by a hemp discussion panel. Attendees can also tour one of Florida’s first hemp plots at the GCREC during the afternoon field tour and hear about the latest research surrounding the crop.
Following lunch, two concurrent educational programs will be taking place. One of the sessions will focus on soil fumigation, and the other session will feature pest management in vegetables. While getting industry updates and learning about cutting-edge research during both educational sessions, growers will earn continuing education units for their Florida restricted-use pesticide licenses.
In addition to the educational sessions, the Florida Ag Expo will feature a bigger trade show than ever before, full of leading suppliers of the inputs, services and equipment needed to produce a successful crop. While walking the trade show floor, attendees can make connections with vendors and see the latest products and services available to them.
A fundraiser for GCREC scholarships has been added to this year’s program as well. The fundraiser will offer valuable prizes for attendees who participate to support the center’s research scholarships program.
Registration is now open for the Florida Ag Expo. All pre-registered growers will be entered in a drawing for the chance to win a John Deere gun safe donated by Everglades Equipment Group. Visit FloridaAgExpo.net for more information and to register.
Ashley Robinson is events intern for AgNet Media in Gainesville, Florida.
This article was featured in the October issue of VSCNews magazine. To receive future issues of VSCNews magazine, click here.
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