By Abbey Taylor
Every year, southeastern produce growers kick off the new year at the annual Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference (SERFVC) in Savannah, Georgia. The SERFVC will take place on Jan. 9–12 at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. Featuring a top-notch trade show and extensive educational sessions, the event is organized by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA). It’s one of the largest conferences catering to agriculture in the Southeast.
Charles Hall, executive director of the GFVGA, is looking forward to the 2020 conference. Just as in years past, the SERFVC will feature hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees.
THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS
Hall says the main attractions are the trade show and educational sessions because they provide a little something for every type of grower.
With so many exhibitors on the trade show floor, attendees can see and learn about the latest products and technologies hitting the market. Several product demonstrations will also take place. The trade show provides a great space to mingle with fellow growers and industry manufacturers.
SERFVC also features a dynamic educational program that occurs over the course of the conference. Since so many crops are grown in the Southeast, the conference strives to ensure that there is something in the program for every grower.
The programs are split into commodity conferences, covering one topic or crop per program. A multitude of crops and topics are featured, including blueberries, strawberries, peaches, organic production and food safety. In each session, attendees will get the latest updates from university or U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers.
Hall is excited to announce some new features attendees can look forward to at the 2020 conference. The educational program will include a new satsuma session. According to Hall, interest in citrus is on the rise in Georgia, so the SERFVC partnered with the Georgia Citrus Association to make this new session happen.
Also new at the 2020 conference is a session on trade strategies for 2020. Hall says the session will include a panel of speakers and will be a good time for the industry to discuss how the current trade environment may impact their businesses going into the new year. “We’re looking forward to that,” Hall says. “We think that’ll be a very attractive session.” The session will take place the morning of Saturday, Jan. 11.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
The SERFVC’s precision agriculture workshop will be back by popular demand. “For the past two years, it has been very highly participated in and attended, so we’ll be working on that again,” Hall says.
The Food Safety Modernization Act requires growers to complete a food safety training course. Growers looking to complete the course need look no further than the SERFVC. The training course will be on Thursday, Jan. 9. In addition, food safety educational sessions will take place on Jan. 10–11.
“It’s going to be a great time, and we invite all fruit and vegetable growers to come over to Savannah for the conference,” Hall says.
The VSCNews team will attend the conference again. Stop by and say hello at the VSCNews exhibit in the River Concourse area by the registration desk.
SERFVC online registration is open until Jan. 7, or attendees can register on site. Visit seregionalconference.org to register, view the educational program agenda and get host hotel information.
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