Meetings to go virtual on Feb. 8-11 (Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference)
RICHLAND, Pa. — For 43 years, growers and other agriculture industry professionals have anticipated attending the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pa.
Along with other unfortunate situations, the coronavirus has struck a blow to many live events.
But the MAFVC directors have planned an impressive virtual conference from Monday through Thursday, Feb. 8-11.
The virtual event means not traveling to and staying at the Hershey Lodge for the annual in-person educational sessions and the industry trade show.
But access via computer, smart phone, electronic tablet and the internet will be available not only for the four conference days but also for 24 hours daily for the balance of February and all of March 2021.
What’s more, due to this virtual platform, session presenters hail from a more expansive geographic area than usual for in-person events.
This provides considerably broader perspectives among growing and marketing regions.
The four-day educational program features various aspects of COVID-19 legal compliance, CSAs, farm markets, grafting, high tunnels, hydroponics, liability, marketing, pollinators, online sales and soil health.
The crops focus will include general, organic and specialty; cole, cucurbit and vine; plus potatoes, tomatoes and sweet corn. Tree and small fruit will also be covered.
Each of the 44 sessions feature multiple speakers. Examples of the varied topics include “Water and Nitrogen Management and Use Efficiency of Hydroponic Leafy Vegetables,” by Daniel Leskovar, Texas A& M Univ.; “Vertical High Tunnel Specialty Melon Production: Variety Performance, Food Safety and Consumer Response,” by Petrus Langenhoven, Purdue Univ.; “Effect of Rootstocks on the Quality Characteristics of Honeycrisp Fruit,” by Macarena Farcuh, University of Maryland; “Application of Sensor-Based Automated Irrigation and Decision Support System for the Fertigation Management of Fresh Market Tomato in Pennsylvania,” by Francesco Di Gioia, Haozhe Zhang, Long He, Antonia Elia, Penn State Univ./Univ. of Foggia.
Written proceedings will not be produced this year. Also, no banquet will take place.
Penn State Extension, University of Maryland Extension, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Virginia Cooperative Extension all organize the educational sessions.
The trade show page on the virtual convention website will group the products and services.
By simply clicking on an exhibitor’s “booth,” MAFVC registrants will be able to study descriptions/pictures of products and services of show specials and demonstrations with the exhibitions. Plus, virtual chat portals will enhance interaction with the exhibitors.
The 2020 exhibitors have been invited. Although some may decline, others on the 2020 waiting list due to space limitations can be included in this virtual show.
At the past live conventions, posters reflecting agricultural research have typically been paced in the hallways of the conference area. This year the conference website will list the posters.
Registration at $40 per person allows one to ‘visit’ the trade show exhibitors and to participate in the educational sessions during the week of the convention and afterward as noted. Registration begins in early January.
Pesticide credits for growers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey are expected to be available for registrants who register separately with their pesticide license information and pay the $40 fee.
Log-ins will be required for the duration of the particular presentations that qualify for the core and category credits.
The State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticulture Society and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society have been sponsoring the convention for the past 43 years, and in 2014 the Virginia State Horticultural Society also began meeting at the convention.
Since details are being developed, the www. mafvc.org website should be consulted for current information. Inquiries may also be directed to 717-694-3596.