AmericanFarm.com

Va. Christmas tree growers will gather in Winchester

By JANE W. GRAHAM

The Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association will gather in Winchester, Va., Aug 13 and 14 for its annual conference.  A variety of speakers will share information about the industry, a farm tour will showcase one grower’s trees and contests will provide fun and a way to tell the growers’ story to consumers.
The Hampton Inn N/Convention Center will serve as headquarters for the event which opens at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13 with greetings by the president, Gregg Lemmer.
The morning will be filled with a number of topics designed to help the growers improve their approach to their business.
“No viable business is devoid of risks, and the successful entrepreneur is proactive in anticipating and limiting the exposure,” the group reports.
With this in mind, the first topic for discussion will be “Tree Farm Risks and Management.”  Presented by Scott Denoon with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the session will cover, among other things, the various operational, environmental, market, product, legal/regulatory, labor and investment risks associated with a Christmas tree farm. It will also cover some of the policies, practices and tips that can be employed to mitigate the exposure in the Christmas tree business.
Other morning talks and presenters include the following:
• Virginia Grown and Direct Market Association and Farms — three farmers will tell about what they do to market their trees.
• Forestry Management Plans: Types/Use — Gerald Crowell, Department of Forestry.
• Considerations for New Grow-ers — Kyle Peer, Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension specialist.
• Advances in Point of Sale Technology — Charles “Chad” Johnson, BBT representative.
• A Choose and Cut/Wholesale Operation — Larry Kuhns, owner and professor Emeritus, Penn State
Other events of the day will include a box lunch and vender profile talks, tree and wreath judging, chances to visit with vendors and the annual business meeting. Danny Neel with VDACS will conduct a scholarship auction beginning at 5:05 p.m.
Dr. Theresa Nartea of Virginia State University will be the banquet speaker.  “Increasing Sales through Awareness of Live Tree Benefits” is her topic.
Friday gets off to an early start with a talk on “Tree and Soil Test Analysis given by Kuhns at 7:15 a.m.  He will be followed by Norm Dart, VDACS State plant pathologist, talking about “Rhizosphaera and Pine Shoot Beetles.”
The group will leave the hotel at 8:35 for a farm tour at Moose Apple Farm.
Other topics on the agenda for Friday are a discussion of “Chemical Protection Methods” presented by Mark Sutphin and Beth Sastre-Flores, Loudoun County Extension specialists; Wreath and Roping Demonstration by Donna O’Halloran of Glengary Farms and a VCTGA board member.
Kyle Peer, Eric Day and Norm Dart will be available during the day for field talks and consultations.  Lunch will be at Moose Apple Farm followed by a presentation from Winchester Equipment about small-medium engine repair.
For more information, call (540) 382-2716 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .