Mississippi fruit and vegetable growers are at the Lee County Agri-Center for a two day conference.
The topic of discussion among attendees at this annual conference is certainly about the weather. Fruits and veggies are having to endure a very cold winter which includes extremely low temperatures for extended periods of time.
“Those who were trying to grow vegetables during the winter have had some significant losses. Their crops have been frozen out. The ones who are growing fruits, they have not been effected for the most part yet to this point,” said Jeff Wilson, MSU Horticultural Specialist.
Producers are having to replant winter crops like greens and cabbages.
By attending seminars like these, growers are abreast of the latest on new methods of managing their produce.
“We’re talking about insect control, disease control, new varieties that they can try; honeybee production that they can take and use in their farm land,” said Wilson.
Then there is the valuable networking with those having experience… like Golden Triangle farmer Melvin Ellis whose been in business for about 17 years now.
“I think success in this business is achieving a realistic goal. We all enjoy, growing. We wouldn’t be doing this, but unfortunately finances is part of it and if you don’t make enough money to make it worth your time, its very difficult to continue to do it,” said Ellis.
These producers are also able to confront and deal with new guidelines or regulations effecting their success.
“It should not put too much strain on them. Most, we don’t have, Mississippi only has a handful of producers that are big enough to have to comply to the new guidelines of the food safety modernization act,” said Kevin Brown, Farm Bureau Horticultural Director.
The second day of the conference addresses research, bees and outdoor demonstrations. Producers came from far away as Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.