Last week’s Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute attracted its biggest crowd yet. Bob Hochmuth, a regional Extension agent based at the North Florida Research and Education Center, has hosted the event for eight years and is proud to see its continuous growth.
The institute began with a morning session about irrigation and fertilization management. In the afternoon, growers could visit with exhibitors and each other at a trade show. Also, there were informational sessions that covered topics ranging from disease management to food safety.
Hochmuth says another highlight of the event is the presence of the Florida Watermelon Association and the Florida Watermelon Queen. The 2017 Florida Watermelon Queen, Savannah Christensen, was all smiles at the Florida Watermelon Association booth, where she handed out watermelon to attendees. Christensen says she was attending the institute to meet growers and promote the association’s upcoming convention.
According to Hochmuth, the institute is a great opportunity for growers to get the latest research and mingle with each other. He says changes with technology and cultural practices are happening quickly, so it is important for growers to get as much information as they can.
Hochmuth adds that one of the best aspects of the event is that it gives growers the chance to talk and share ideas. “They (the growers) like to come in and just talk about what the upcoming season is going to bring,” he says.
The Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute also offers continuing education credits every year, giving growers another reason to attend.
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