Grower education is paramount at OFA Short Course

Posted On 01 Jun 2012
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COLUMBUS, USA, June 2, 2012: The soil conveyors, pot materials, and plant nutrition products found on the trade show floor are some of the newest technology available for the greenhouse growing trade, but when it comes down to the premier aspect of the OFA Short Course, the educational programming is what sets this show apart from all others.

The 2012 OFA Short Course, the largest horticulture event in the U.S., is set for July 14-17 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. As is tradition, show organizers have gathered a lineup of experienced and respected speakers for the event’s four days of horticulture sessions, tours, and workshops. Coming from academia, allied trade businesses, consulting firms, as well as directly from the greenhouse, these experts will share their knowledge of production, disease and nutrition management, media, crops, and variety selection—all in order to help greenhouse growers prepare and succeed in the coming seasons.

A Sampling of Sessions
This year’s Grower Solutions programming offers educational opportunities for greenhouse owners, managers, and growers. From the latest disease outbreak to gaining insight into the industry’s current and future drivers of change, attendees will leave Short Course with the know-how to address their specific operational and production concerns.
More than 35 education sessions and workshops will be available for those in the greenhouse-growing segment of the horticulture industry. A sampling of sessions and speakers includes:
• Impatiens Downy Mildew: What’s a Grower/Landscaper to Do in 2013? Presented by Dr. Allen Hammer (Dümmen USA), Ken Harr (Syngenta Flowers Inc.,) and Dr. Mike Klopmeyer (Ball Horticultural), 10:30 a.m., Saturday, July 14.
• Mealybug & Scale Management. Presented by Dr. Raymond Cloyd (Kansas State Univ.), 1 p.m., Saturday, July 14.
• Tough Perennials for Tough Landscape Settings. Presented by Rita Randolph (Randolph’s Greenhouses), 4 p.m., Saturday, July 14.
• Plants a Savvy Grower Can Position & Make a Lot of Money. Presented by Terri Cantwell (Bates Sons & Daughters), Garry Grueber (Cultivaris Europe), Nathan Smith (Golden State Bulb Growers), and Lloyd Traven (Peace Tree Farm), 1 p.m., Sunday, July 15
• Greenhouse Applications of Light-Emitting Diodes. Presented by Dr. John Burr (Purdue Univ.), Dr. Roberto Lopez (Purdue Univ.), Dr. Cary Mitchell (Purdue Univ.), and Dr. Erik Runkle (Michigan State Univ.), 2:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15.
• Biocontrol Hits & Misses. Presented by Suzanne Wainwright-Evans (Buglady Consulting) and Rich Densel (Van Vugt Greenhouses), 9:15 a.m., Tuesday, July 17.
In addition, there are a number of opportunities for incisive discussions on the greater challenges facing the horticulture industry. This year’s Summit topic, Value, Relevancy & Authenticity of the Horticulture Product, aims to present the industry’s current drivers with discussions to follow on how to then implement a strategic plan. The annual Town Meeting subject matter will focus on Putting the Steak Back in the Sizzle, in which the audience will try to figure out how to put some meat back on the bones of horticulture. These hard-hitting, focused discussions are one of the trademarks of Short Course.

Catch the Keynotes
Two keynote presentations will get the greenhouse trade thinking about how they can address the future. First, Joe Lamp’l (aka joe gardener) of “Growing a Greener World” and “GardenSMART” fame, will share ways to find and influence the ever-changing consumer. His key questions: Are our products, services, and marketing messages relevant and even reaching our target markets? Catch Joe’s insights Sunday, July 15, at 8 a.m.
On Monday, July 16, Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, will bring his passion for gardening and grow-your-own edibles to Short Course attendees in the second keynote presentation. Chef Sam is an integral voice in First Lady Michelle Obama’s national discussion of the importance of healthful eating. His message speaks directly to those in the horticulture industry who make fresh fruits and vegetables possible.

Register Now
Plan your experience and register for the 2012 OFA Short Course at

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