Pumpkins, hard cider production, and updates on insects/diseases in fruit and vegetable production are the agenda this year for the 25th Annual Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference hosted by the University of Illinois Extension. Held virtual this year over Zoom, this program is geared toward commercial fruit and vegetable growers to provide them with updates for the upcoming season and information on diversifying their operation.

“This year’s program is virtual and because of that it presents an opportunity for us to bring in speakers to cover topics that we haven’t covered before,” states Grant McCarty, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator for University of Illinois Extension. “For instance, there’s a wealth of research on new pumpkin varieties and growing vegetables in high tunnels that is occurring in Southern Illinois and this year, Extension Educators in those areas of expertise are presenting for our group in northern Illinois”

McCarty sees Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference as an opportunity for beginning and future growers. “While the topics are aimed for established growers, we also see this program as one that could provide those who are considering starting a specialty crop farm or wanting to diversify their farm.”

The Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference will be held on Thursdays, February 18 and 25 (Fruit and Vegetable Insect and Disease Updates) from 1:00-3:30PM and Fridays, February 12, 19, and 26 (Hard Cider, Pumpkin Varieties, High Tunnels) from 12:00-1:00PM. Cost for the program is $20 (Thursdays and Fridays) or Thursdays ($10) and Fridays ($15). For more information and to register, please visit go.illinois.edu/Stateline2021 or call the University of Illinois Extension at (815) 986-4357.