The largest gathering in the southeast United States for growers, vendors and suppliers, the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference has become one of the premier fruit and vegetable production conferences in the nation.

In addition to the many exhibitors and 3,500-plus attendees expected to arrive, the annual conference will feature commodity-specific educational conferences such as vegetable, peach, blueberry, and more, as well as specialty conferences focusing on a variety of topics. Here’s a sample:

During the four-day conference, over 85 hours of production training, pest management information and marketing updates are offered to attendees — most of which have pesticide educational units/ credits offered by several southeastern states.

The Southeast Regional will also provide a PSA Grower Training Course Thursday, Jan. 5, before the trade show. In addition, the conference will present the 2017 Unmanned Systems in Precision Agriculture, hosted by the Coastal Plain Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. The oneday event, held Thursday, Jan. 5, will feature a focused schedule of relevant information on the latest in agricultural drone use and regulations. The morning session will cover the proven applications of drone-based scouting and mapping for agriculture. The afternoon session will address business opportunities and emerging applications for the technology, with a special training session covering compliance issues for drone operations under the new Part 107 FAA regulations.

Food safety:

  • Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course
  • FSMA Review
  • Environmental Sampling
  • Group GAP

Organic production:

  • Trap crops
  • Biocontrols for Plant Disease
  • Organic Fertility
  • Cover Crops

Vegetables:

  • Insecticides/Fungicides/Herbicides
  • EPA Updates
  • New crops
  • New technologies

Business Operations:

  • Human Resources for Ag
  • Funding
  • Immigration/Health Care
  • Digital Marketing
  • Commodities Outlook
  • Estate Planning

Here are a list of networking and special events scheduled for the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Savannah.

Friday

Welcome reception and live auction

The Welcome reception and live auction is held on the trade show floor to give everyone another opportunity to visit with our exhibitors and other growers. The live auction is a great time for competition and camaraderie. The live auction prizes range from artwork, jewelry, hunting trips and toys. Following the welcome reception and live auction, the evening is open for you to enjoy one of the city’s world-renowned restaurants on your own.

Saturday

Awards presentation

A special awards presentation will be held on Saturday morning to recognize members of the industry. Individuals recognized have made major contributions to the industry, so be sure to come and help express our appreciation to these individuals.

Closing reception at the Westin Savannah Harbor

The Saturday night reception is a great wrap-up for three days of education, networking and interchange with growers and vendors in the Southeastern fruit and vegetable industry. The reception is held at the Westin Savannah Harbor and sponsored by Syngenta. Following the reception enjoy another of Savannah’s fine restaurants.

Silent Auction

The silent auction has become one of the most popular activities at the conference. The items donated by industry suppliers are available to attendees on a bid basis and include seed, chemicals, fertilizer, jewelry, paintings and gift baskets. Funds generated from the silent auction go to support youth education and other association activities.

Sunday

Worship service

Join attendees across the southeast to worship Sunday morning at 8 a.m. at the Westin Savannah Harbor. Held just prior to the Industry Roundtable, it’s the perfect conclusion to the regional conference on the southeastern seaboard.

Industry Roundtable

Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in an Industry Roundtable with all commodity and industry organizations to discuss issues of mutual concern to growers and suppliers alike. An excellent forum to voice your opinions and provide input for a 2017 Program of Work to be adopted by the GFVGA board of directors in February 2017. A continental breakfast will be served. The meeting is 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Sunday.