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Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Northern Illinois (Rockford) Update: Stateline Conference recap

person giving a presentation on stage

Sarah Farley and I were privileged to host again the Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference on Monday, February 19, in Rockford, Illinois. Over 100 attendees and Extension educators and specialists from 4 universities joined us this year for sessions in the fruit, vegetable, and new farmer tracks. For the 2024 program, the new farmer track covered introductory information on the topics of integrating livestock, pumpkins, blueberries, farm finances, and IPM.  Each year, Drs. Kacie Athey and Mohammad Babadoost contribute valuable research updates on insect pests and plant diseases. Along with Sarah and myself presenting, we were joined by Zack Grant who discussed fertility management decision-making tools. As this conference includes attendees from Southern Wisconsin, we depend on specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dr. Leslie Holland, pictured presenting during the conference, added to our program by covering raspberry and blueberry diseases. Additionally, Cheyenne Sloane, a Blueberry and Small Fruit Educator, from Michigan State University provided both introductory and advanced blueberry production sessions, topics that have been requested for many years. For the first time at this conference, the University of Minnesota was represented and provided exceptional contributions from Marissa Schuh, Extension Educator in Integrated Pest Management. To end the conference, Kathryn Seebruck, a University of Illinois Commercial Ag Educator, discussed herbicide resistance as it relates to specialty crops. 

Plans are already underway for the 2025 conference.

people standing on stage in front of a screen
Illinois Extension educators and specialists attending the Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Conference. From left: Renzo Ceme Vinces, Kathryn Seebruck, Emily Hansen, Grant McCarty, Zack Grant, Sarah Farley, Dr. Kacie Athey