Mid-Atlantic Strawberry Programs, Virginia Beach, VA

Mid-Atlantic Strawberry Programs,

Virginia Beach, VA, Feb. 27, 28, and Mar. 1, 2017

We are currently seeking pesticide recertification credits for the Strawberry School and the Field Walk from Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, please contact me directly if you would like to be notified when these are secured.  Also, if you are traveling in from another state and would like me to try and get recertification credits for that state, please contact me directly and I will be happy to try and make that happen.

Many Thanks, Roy D. Flanagan III, royf@vt.edu , 757-641-1434

REGISTRATION FORM (click on link)


Strawberry Field Walk – February 27th, 12:30 p.m. until Dark

Field Walk will begin at Hickory Ridge Farms 2928 Battlefield Blvd. S., Chesapeake, VA 23322 and end at Brookdale Farms-Chesapeake 2133 Mount Pleasant Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23322

Cost: No Cost, pre-registration required

This is an opportunity to join some of our region’s strawberry experts from Virginia Tech and growers from all over.  The program discussion takes place in the fields and comes from recent situations observed. Specialists confirmed:  Drs. Chuck Johnson, Jayesh Samtani, and Allen Straw

Hickory Ridge Farms Plantings include:  Camarosa, Chandler, and Sweet Charlie.  We will see various pre-plant herbicide, fumigant, and non-fumigant treatments, as well as biodegradable mulch film.

Brookdale Farms Plantings include:  Ruby June, Camarosa, and Chandler.  We will see the effects of row cover management for optimization of growing degree days in the fall, and winter applications of row covers to reduce desiccation and increase ripening of Chandler variety.

Evening Program:  New Grower Workshop/Back to Basics Training – February 27th 5:30 to 9:00p.m. Location:  2449 Princess Anne Rd., Building #14, second floor conference room

Cost: $50.00 per attendee to receive manual, additional attendees $10.00  |  Dinner Included, pre-registration required

Each attendee will receive an updated Plasticulture Notebook (a handbook of essential information necessary to grow a strawberry crop).  This notebook is must-have for any strawberry grower, and is valued at $75.  The specialists and growers presenting this program have a combined experience in excess of 30 years in plasticulture production.

Strawberry School and Trade Show – February 28th 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.:

Virginia Beach Advanced Technology Center, 1800 College Crescent, Virginia Beach, VA 23453

Lunch and snacks included. 

Cost:  No Cost, pre-registration required

Regional strawberry experts from leading Universities will provide information on fertility programs, insect pests, diseases, variety selection, fumigation alternatives, overall strawberry production considerations, and a forecast for the 2017 crop.  There will be an updates from the Virginia Strawberry Association and the Southeast Strawberry Consortium, with ample time for attendees can visit with program sponsors. Our grower spotlight will be 5th generation farmer Danny Van Meter of Van Meter Family Farm (http://vanmeterfamilyfarm.com/).

Presenters Include:

Dr. Hannah J. Burrack, Associate Professor- Entomology, North Carolina State University

Dr. Burrack focuses on understanding the ecology of insect pests in small fruits and tobacco, utilizing that information to enhance pest management.  She is particularly interested in landscape scale management issues, host preference behavior, and invasive species biology.

Dr. Charles S. Johnson, Professor- Plant Pathology, Virginia Tech- Southern Piedmont Agriculture, Research, and Extension Center

Dr. Johnson cooperates with colleagues, industry, local extension agents, and growers, to enhance his extension program seeking to extend the best and latest research results on improving control of plant diseases and plant-parasitic nematodes to tobacco and small fruit producers in Virginia.

Dr. Jeremy Pattison, Global Plant Physiology Manager, Driscoll’s, Watsonville, CA

Dr. Pattison concentrates on strategic planning around Driscoll’s multiple crops in relation to research and plant breeding to meet the demands of a global marketplace and various cropping scenarios.

Dr. Jayesh Samtani, Assistant Professor and Small Fruit Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech- Hampton Roads Agriculture, Research, and Extension Center

Dr. Samtani focuses on integrated weed management in small fruit production, chemical and non-chemical alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation, sustainable berry crop production and management practices, as well as new berry varieties and genotype evaluation in field and protected environments.

Dr. Allen Straw, Extension Specialist- Horticulture, Small Fruits, and Specialty Crops, Virginia Tech- Southwest Agriculture, Research, and Extension Center

Dr. Straw specializes in all horticulture crops, on farm research of varieties, chemical and biological controls, and production practices.  Based in SW Virginia, Dr. Straw is available and accessible to all agents and producers in Virginia.

Dr. Natalia A. Peres, Associate Professor-Strawberry Pathology, University of Florida- Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Dr. Peres conducts basic and applied research on important diseases affecting strawberry production.  The goal of her program is to develop a better understanding of the etiology of the diseases and the environmental factors affecting their development, and to provide more effective disease control recommendations.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training/FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule – March 1st 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Virginia Beach Advanced Technology Center, 1800 College Crescent, Virginia Beach, VA 23453

Virginia Residents: $30.00 per person, All other states: $110.00  |  Manuals, Certificates of Completion, Lunch and Snacks included. 

A Virginia Tech Produce Safety Specialist and team will conduct this training.  The curriculum is similar to a Good Agriculture Practice course, with key requirements of the Produce Safety rule.  Attendees will receive a manual and certificate of completion.  You must attend the FULL day to receive the certificate of completion from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).  The cost varies for Virginia growers and out of Virginia growers since The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is providing substantial grant funds for Virginia growers to attend.

So, if you are like most of us you are asking yourself, should I attend this training or do I have to comply with the new regulation.  It comes down to a few factors.

  1. Is your average food sales (produce, grain, fruits, and value added products) less than $500,000 annually? If yes, then you may be exempt, but must be able to answer yes to question #2 as well, if no then you have to comply and this training will meet the grower training requirement
  2. Does more than 50% of your food sales go to end users within 275 miles of you farm? {Examples are consumers, restaurants, or individual grocery stores (not distribution centers, food hubs, or brokers)}?  If the answer is yes to this question and the one above then you are most likely “qualified exempt” and the certification is not required, if you answered no, then it would apply and you need the training and certification. 

If you are determined to be qualified exempt, you must begin the record keeping for 2016.  The record keeping requirement needs to show your total food sales of less than $500,000.  The records must also contain the location of your customers.  The records need to be “available” to FDA, nothing will be submitted to them.  You must also provide the customer with the full name of your farm and address.  This can be on the sales receipt or a sign at the point of sale.  Any value added products sold will need to be labeled with your farm’s name and business address as well.

Food for thought:  A substantial amount of time and money are being put into these FSMA trainings and certifications this year, because it is something new.  So the reduced rates or even the full training costs are as low as they will ever be.  The certification is good forever, so if you think that today I am exempt, but next year we may want to more wholesale or what if the rules change, well if you attend and get certified, these questions will be answered and that box will already be checked.  So just because you are “qualified exempt”, don’t skip the training, it may be better to attend now, find out all you can, and if something does change, it won’t be so bad at that point.