Winter Apple School, Small Fruit Conference – February 6, 2019

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Winter Apple School is the signature apple meeting held in Western North Carolina for commercial apple growers and others interested in apple production. The program features a host of apple Extension Specialists and Researchers from NC State University as the core of the program. Each of these speakers brings a unique discussion of apples from their various disciplines.
Small fruits, including blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries, continue to grow in this area as well. For the second straight year, the small fruit conference will be held in conjunction with Winter Apple School with the groups meeting together on topics of common interest. Some of the highlights of the small fruit conference will include strawberry nutrition, blackberry plant growth regulators, and small fruit weed management and disease control.
This year, Winter Apple School and the Small Fruit Conference will be held on February 6, 2019, at Blue Ridge Community College in the Technology Development and Education Center. The program will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with lunch included.
Growers from all around Western North Carolina as well as surrounding states such as SC, TN, and GA often attend this meeting. The team of NC State University apple speakers brings highlights and updates to the program relative to the various aspects of apple production including variety selection, thinning, nutrition, weed control, disease control, insect control, and food safety updates.
This year the program will feature two guests that have been invited to speak on topics of current interest to the industry. One of these, Alex Sereno, is Director of the Raleigh Regional Office for the USDA Risk Management Agency. This agency develops the policies related to crop insurance for apples and other crops. There are some potential changes coming to the crop insurance program for apples beginning in 2020 and Mr. Sereno will give the group an update on these changes.
Also, Ms. Annie Baggett, Agritourism Marketing Specialist for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be speaking on Agritourism. In this session attendees will learn how to enhance existing farm operations and discover new ideas to connect and engage customers. Through an interactive session, your farm will leave with actionable plans that will result in new educational, entertaining and recreational activities to grow your business.
Last year over 200 people attended Winter Apple School and the Small Fruit Conference. The food safety, insurance, and agritourism topics are common to the groups and the program is aligned so that both groups can attend topics of common interest.
Between 35 and 40 exhibitors are expected in the trade show area at the meeting as well. These exhibitors help to sponsor the event and will also have exhibits where they can network with the growers who do business with them at their booths. The event would not be possible without these sponsors.
An annual highlight of the meeting is the awards presentation during the BRAG Annual Meeting. The Apple Grower of the Year, Friend of the Apple Grower and Lifetime Achievement Awards are all distinguished honors announced at that time.
The cost for attendance is only $30.00 ($35 after January 15) for the entire day and that includes the cost of lunch as well as membership in the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association for one year. What a bargain! Attendees who attend the entire program will receive two hours of pesticide credit.
Registration forms and payment may be mailed to BRAG at P.O. Box 578, Edneyville, NC 28727 or dropped off at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center at 100 Jackson Park Drive, Hendersonville. Credit card payments can be accepted as well by contacting Ivy at 697-4891. Registration forms can be obtained by clicking on the link above and are also available at the office or we will be happy to send you one via email.
For a tentative agenda of the apple program, click on the link below.