Statewide high tunnel grower conference set for Baxter

The statewide High Tunnel Conference will be held Feb. 8 - 9 in Baxter, co-hosted by a regional partnership that includes Central Lakes College.

Guest speakers from three Midwest universities are among speakers scheduled at the Feb. 8 – 9 Minnesota High Tunnel Conference in Baxter.

High tunnels, or hoophouses, are unheated greenhouses that can help market gardeners extend their growing season so that they can improve the profitability of their farms.

Mary Gardiner of Ohio State, Russ Groves of Wisconsin, and Cary Rivard of Kansas State will lead sessions during the event that begins with a separate half-day beginner workshop. The event promises the latest research, demonstration reports and grower discussions on high tunnels and season extension in Minnesota.

Held at the Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, the conference co-hosts are the University of Minnesota Extension, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences at the University of Minnesota (U of M), North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, the United States Department of Agriculture’s North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, which includes the Agricultural and Energy Center of Central Lakes College, Staples.

Gardiner’s talk, to be given at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, is titled “Identifying and Enhancing Beneficial Insects.” Groves, who speaks at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, will address “Managing and Controlling Whiteflies, Aphids, and Other Serious High Tunnel Insects.” Rivard, scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Feb. 9, will present “The Art of Grafting High Tunnel Plants.”

The after-dinner “bull session” Feb. 8 is a traditionally popular time of opportunity to meet other growers, discuss issues, and develop suggestions for future research.

A reduced registration fee of $100 is due by Monday, Jan. 30 and is $125 thereafter. Register by e-mailing Sue Schuler at [email protected] or Terry Nennich at [email protected] or by calling 1 (888) 241-0885.