Virtual Iowa Specialty Producers Conference set for Jan. 19-20

Kendra Meyer
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

ANKENY, Iowa — The Iowa Specialty Producers Conference is scheduled for Jan. 19-20. This second joint gathering of the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Iowa Wine Growers Association will take place entirely online.

Keynote speaker Hugh McPherson will share best practices for incorporating “agri-tainment” into a farming operation. He owns Maize Quest Fun Park near York, Pa., and advises a network of 80 more agritourism farms in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Five breakout sessions will focus on fruits, vegetables, viticulture (wine-grape growing), enology (wine-making) and other specialty crops. Speakers include producers, industry experts and specialists from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The lineup from ISU Extension and Outreach includes Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca, plant pathology diagnostician; Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist; and Ajay Nair, associate professor in horticulture and extension vegetable production specialist.

The event also will feature virtual exhibitors offering products and services of interest.

“We are excited for the opportunity to offer this year’s conference virtually to our members and specialty producers in our state and beyond. We have a great lineup of speakers giving talks on a wide variety of specialty crop management, business, and marketing,” said Kendra Meyer, an education extension specialist with Farm, Food and Enterprise Development in ISU Extension and Outreach.