SCHERERVILLE │ Vegetable farmers and market gardeners learned about resources and processes to improve their businesses Thursday during the Illiana Vegetable Growers Symposium at Teibel’s Restaurant.
Hosted by Purdue Extension and the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, the symposium provided insight on insecticides, managing vegetable diseases in dry weather, accurate pesticide measurement and programs for vegetable farmers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
A business display room featured suppliers and agency representatives in the vegetable industry.
Barry Rupp, of Rupp Seeds, said Rupp has “some new exciting sweet corns this year.”
Siegers Seed in Holland, Mich., announced two new large pumpkins in the 30 to 40 pound range.
Representatives also were on hand from the Indiana Farm Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and PathStone Corp., a nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance to growers who employ migrant workers in need of housing.
Growers also had an opportunity to register with Driftwatch. Located at www.driftwatch.org, the registry helps protect pesticide-sensitive crops and habitats from the drift that could occur during spray operations.
Speakers included Purdue Extension specialists Rick Foster, Dan Egel and Fred Whitford, presenting on neonicotinoid insecticides, managing vegetable diseases in dry weather and accurate pesticide measurement.
Foster’s presentation discussed how neonicotinoids are effective in the industry with one caveat – they are extremely toxic to bees.
“That’s a concern,” Foster said.
Foster said the European Union has banned neonicotinoids. His recommendations for their use locally include avoiding their use close to flowering and use as close to planting time as possible.
Marketing sessions for growers also were scheduled, including a presentation from Kathy Sipple & Associates on how to employ social media.