Growers from across the region will gather for the 2020 Southwestern Illinois Commercial Tree Fruit School on Tuesday, February 4 in Hardin and the 2020 Southern Illinois Fruit and Vegetable School on Wednesday, February 5 in Mt. Vernon. These programs, sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hardin and the Double Tree Conference Center in Mt. Vernon, respectively. Registration starts at 7:45 a.m. and the program runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. View the conference brochure.

Elizabeth Wahle, U of I Extension horticulture educator, says that the programs include presenters from University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, University of Arkansas, and University of Kentucky, and from the tree fruit, small fruit, strawberry, and vegetable grower support industry.

Topics at the February 4 Hardin School include Peach Insect Management, Peach Bacterial Spot, Managing Secondary Pests of Apples, Pruning Fruit Trees, Fruit Boron Nutrition, Bitter Rot in Apples, FSMA Updates, and Managing a Food Safety Culture in an Orchard.  

These same topics will be presented at the February 5 Mt. Vernon School, along with Managing Key Vegetables Pests, Tomato Disease Management, New Varieties for 2020, High Tunnel and Winter Vegetable Research Updates, Managing Insect Pests of Cane Berries, Managing Berry Virus Diseases, and many others.

Advance registration by February 1 for the Hardin School is $35 per person. Walk-in registration at the door is $50/person. Registration includes lunch.

Registration for the Mt. Vernon School is $50 per farm by February 1. Late and at-door registration is $60 per farm. The Mt. Vernon School does not include lunch. Industry representatives will also be on hand to talk about their latest products and services.

For more details and online registration, visit our online registration page or contact Wahle at 618-344-4230 or wahle@illinois.edu.  If you need disability accommodations to participate in this program, please call by January 25.  University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.