WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue Extension’s annual Indiana Horticultural Congress will be Jan. 21-23 in Indianapolis with sessions designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics and specialty crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states.
There also will be special daylong sessions Jan. 21 on agritourism, food safety, vegetable farming and apple growing.
All of the sessions of the Horticultural Congress and its trade show will be at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel, 2544 Executive Drive. They are open to the public whether participants are beginners, established or diversifying farmers, or consumers wanting to learn more about where their food comes from and meet with those who produce food.
The program has been developed to meet rapidly changing needs of food producers and marketers. Attendees will learn more about evolving issues such as understanding and complying with new regulations and identifying and controlling some emerging and potentially damaging pests.
There also will be presentations on how to meet the needs of various buyers, how to extend the growing and marketing season for a variety of crops, organic production, wine grape production and farm marketing.
The trade show will consist of more than 70 exhibitors that include vendors of equipment, seeds, plant protection products, processed foods and irrigation supplies.
“The Congress is a wonderful opportunity to reacquaint with old friends and business contacts, as well as form new connections to make your business successful,” Purdue horticulture professor and chair of the event Peter Hirst said.
Farmers interested in allowing visitors to their farm or who want to expand this part of their larger farm operation can attend the Indiana agritourism session. Now in its 10th year, this year’s program will focus in large part on ways farmers can anticipate and effectively provide for the needs of visitors to their farm.
“Agritourism - bringing visitors or guests to the farm for an enjoyable, entertaining or educational experience - continues to grow in popularity each year across Indiana and the country,” agriculture and natural resources Extension educator in Hancock County and an organizer of the event Roy Ballard said.
In addition to presentations by tourism experts throughout the day, an evening roundtable discussion will provide an opportunity for informal exchange of ideas.
Participants also will have the opportunity to learn more about the Indiana Farm to School Initiative and what the role of this emerging organization can mean to farmers, schools and families.
Food safety has become an important issue in the last few years, and the Food Safety Workshop will address all aspects of food safety that growers need to consider.
In the Beginning Commercial Apple Growing and Getting Started in Vegetable Farming workshops, new growers will learn from Purdue specialists as well as from experienced growers.