ANKENY — Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association will feature Dr. Ron Hanson from the University of Nebraska as its keynote speaker for its 2014 annual conference Jan. 23-24 at Iowa FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.
Hanson shares a message on the importance of family and personal relationships with other family members when farming and working together in a family-owned business operation. He has counseled with Nebraska farm families for more than 30 years to help them resolve family conflicts in a more positive manner and improve family relations through better communications. He currently serves as the Neal Harlan professor of agribusiness in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Also headlining this year’s conference are Ken and Barb Hall, owners of Edwards Orchard of Poplar Grove, Ill. Listen to their story about how they completely rebuilt their business after a tornado destroyed their farm and home in January 2008 and re-opened later that year.
The conference will also feature a three-hour tract on social media. Bring a laptop or tablet and during the first hour, there will be a walkthrough on how to create a page. In the next session, learn advanced techniques and strategies about marketing your farm and connecting with new customers. Stay for the final session and learn about the new social media platforms.
Other session topics include: growing your traditional CSA, alternatives to CSAs, on-farm cold storage, cover crops, weed management, traceability and biosecurity and crisis management. The conference trade show will feature numerous seed reps, equipment and packaging material suppliers, high tunnel manufacturers and irrigation specialists.
On Jan. 24, there will be an all-day advanced high tunnel bramble production workshop conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach featuring Iowa State Horticulturists Linda Naeve, Joe Hannan and Dr. Ajay Nair. The workshop will cover soil fertility, plant selection, cultural practices, pest management, climate controls and post-harvest.
The registration cost for the IFVGA conference and trade show is $55 per day per participant. Early registration has been extended to Friday. Annual membership dues of $50 per farm are due at the time of registration. The complete conference agenda and registration information can be found on the association’s website www.ifvga.org.