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Tomato short course aims to help growers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Greenhouse tomato growers and people with an interest in this business should mark their calendars for the 17th annual greenhouse tomato short course to be held in Raymond March 6-9.
Organizers have increased the classroom time by one day and added the opportunity to tour a greenhouse facility on the final day. The intensive, one-of-a-kind short course is exclusively dedicated to helping producers of greenhouse tomatoes. Mississippi is home to about 130 growers who combine to produce a $6.5 million greenhouse tomato crop annually. In 2006, the short course attracted participants from 26 states.
Rick Snyder, Mississippi State University professor and vegetable specialist in Crystal Springs, is organizing the short course.
“Growers cannot find this much information about greenhouse tomatoes in any other short course or workshop in the country,” Snyder said. “That is why we attract growers from all over. Last year, they came from as far away as Hawaii and New Jersey.”
The 2007 Greenhouse Tomato Short Course will be at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center. The MSU Extension Service, the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency are sponsoring the course.
Sessions will take place from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the first three days. Topics for discussion include the basics of getting started, developing a business plan, designing a greenhouse, organic farming, heating and cooling, and controlling insects and diseases, both with chemicals and biological control. Additional topics include current research and alternative crop considerations, such as peppers, lettuce and mini-cucumbers.
Exhibitors from across the United States and Canada will be available to display and discuss their products related to the greenhouse tomato business.
Advance registration is $100 and must be received by Feb. 23. This fee includes most meals, coffee breaks, refreshments and a reference notebook that includes all the Extension bulletins and handouts. Registration at the door is $125. Those who pre-register will receive a Greenhouse Tomato Short Course all-cotton cap and a 14-ounce tomato coffee mug.
For more information, go to the short course Web site at http://www.greenhousetomatosc.com, contact local county Extension offices or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The complete agenda, registration materials, a map and list of suggested hotels are available online.