Season Extension Seminar for specialty crops growers Aug. 17 at Panhandle Center

     The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is hosting a Season Extension Seminar and hops production and harvesting demonstration Aug. 17, 2018 at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Avenue I, in Scottsbluff. 

      The seminar, which will last from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., is targeted to specialty crop growers, who will have the opportunity to connect with a retailer interested in sourcing local produce, learn about affordable financing options, and watch a cooking demonstration using locally grown produce.

      There is no cost to attend, but individuals need to RSVP by Aug. 13 to or 800-422-6692. A complimentary lunch will be provided. 

      The Season Extension Seminar (from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.) will address the steps involved in implementing a variety of season extension methods, including crop selection, growing techniques, soil nutrition, disease and insect management practices, alternative hybrid varieties, reduced tillage strategies, intensive farming practices, season extension units (high tunnels), and market and selling strategies.

      A university horticulturalist, extension educator, Farm Service Agency representative, local retailer, and NDA representative are scheduled to be the featured speakers. Attendees will receive an educational book related to specialty crop production.

      The hops production and harvesting demonstration will begin at 2:30 p.m. It is intended for people who have an interest in hops, hobbyists, opportunists, or individuals exploring high-value specialty crops as a profit making venture.

      Topics include: hops growth and development, trellising systems, plant production, an update on Nebraska hops cultivar evaluation research, harvesting and marketing.  Participants will explore the hops research plot at the Panhandle Center and watch a hop cone harvest demonstration using the Hopster 5P cone stripping unit.