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The Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference has been scheduled for Jan. 6-9, 2011. Sponsored by the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and the South Carolina Peach Council, the event will be held in Savannah, GA, at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.

Featuring informative workshops, classes and demonstrations, the 2011 event also has been expanded to a third day of programs. In addition, The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the conference.

Designed to bring the most up-to-date and relevant information to the fruit and vegetable industry, the 2011 show promises to be bigger and better than ever. More than 2,200 growers and industry representatives attended in 2010.

The conference, currently in its 13th year, offers some very informative educational sessions available for fruit and vegetable production. During the three-day program, over 85 hours of commodity-specific production training, pest-management information and marketing updates will be offered to attendees.

Commodities will include peaches, vegetables, Vidalia onions, watermelons, muscadine grapes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and pecans. In addition to the commodity-production sessions, special Good Agricultural Practices, food safety, organic production and roadside markets sessions will be held. A business operations educational track has also been added this year to help producers across all commodities run the day-to-day operations of their organizations and make sound business and marketing decisions. Continuing education credits are available.

Other special events are planned for the conference as well. On Saturday morning of the event, there will be an awards program at which several individuals and groups will be recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry. On Sunday, an industry roundtable is planned for both growers and suppliers to discuss issues of mutual concern. This forum provides input for the 2011 program of work to be adopted by the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association's board of directors in February 2011.

The 2011 trade show, held in conjunction with the education sessions, offers an assembly of vendors and suppliers to the fruit and vegetable industry. With over 200 companies already committed to the conference, the 2011 trade show will provide attendees with the opportunity to compare products, talk with industry representatives, observe demonstrations, network with other growers and learn about the latest in fresh produce technology.

The hours for the trade show have been expanded in 2011 to give both attendees and exhibitors plenty of time for interaction.

Other events during the conference include a Friday night reception and live auction on the trade show floor, a Saturday night reception at the Westin Savannah Harbor and a silent auction held during the trade show.