State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania

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Convention Information

2014 Mid-Atlantic Convention Set for January 28-30

The 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held January 28 to 30, 2014, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Over 2,100 fruit, vegetable, and berry growers and other industry persons from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond are expected to attend. The North American Raspberry and Blackberry Growers Association will be joining the Mid-Atlantic Convention in 2014 as will the Virginia State Horticultural Society. This year’s convention will again feature several pre-convention workshops and a trade show with over 165 exhibitors expected.

The keynote speaker for this year’s Convention is Steven Wiley with the Lincoln Leadership Institute in Gettysburg. Steve is a proven entrepreneur, author, and highly acclaimed speaker who has influenced and entertained tens of thousands of top executives from around the world. He will speak on January 28 at 11:00 a.m. addressing the topic “Performance in a Rapidly Changing Environment.” Steve brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of leadership development marketing, negotiation, sales and business development – skills growers can use in a small family farm business, a larger agricultural business, or community and church organizations.

His business experience includes the founding of three companies: two international franchise organizations and a national chain of fleet management centers. He has successfully negotiated multi-million dollar funding agreements for his own companies with some of the top venture capital organizations in the world. His lucrative and varied high-ticket consultative selling and negotiating experience began over twenty years ago and includes tens of millions of dollars in the sales of companies, divisions, hard goods, and services. His strong leadership ability has earned him recognition in top publications including Venture Magazine, USA Today, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Over the past ten years he has conducted thousands of seminars on negotiation, sales leadership and wellness for numerous public and private sector organizations.

The day before the main Convention opens, the Young Growers Alliance will sponsor a workshop entitled Equipping a New Generation of Specialty Crop Growers which will focus on entrepreneurship, team-building and opportunities for innovation. Other pre-convention workshops include Raspberries and Blackberry Production, Greenhouse Short Course, Good Agricultural Practices, Getting Started in Vegetable Production, Creating Outstanding Gift Baskets and Employee Etiquette. On January 29, the session “Técnicas de Producción de Frutas y Hortalizas ” will be presented especially for Spanish speaking workers in the fruit and vegetable industries. It will feature various relevant production presentations in Spanish. That evening a workshop on Vegetable Seed Heat Treatment will be offered.

The Mid-Atlantic Convention has been jointly sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society for the past 36 years. The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland and Rutgers University Cooperative Extension plus the National Peach Council all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions. The Convention has become one of the premier grower meetings in the Northeast and is pleased to be joined by the Virginia State Horticultural Society on a continuing basis beginning in 2014.

The Great American Hall and the Aztec Room at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center will host the Trade Show. Specialized horticultural equipment, farm market merchandise, and packaging, will all be on display along with information on the latest seed varieties, fruit varieties, pesticides and other supplies and services for the commercial grower.

Many pesticide applicator update training credits will be available to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia growers attending the sessions. The program covers nearly every aspect of fruit, vegetable, potato and berry production. Commercial growers should not pass up this terrific educational opportunity.

Eight concurrent educational sessions will be offered on all three days of the Convention. Besides a combined session for the keynote address, the opening day will feature breakout sessions on Tree Fruit, Vine Crops, Pumpkins, Emerging Trends in CSAs, Wholesale Marketing, Organic Vegetables, Greenhouse Ornamentals, Greenhouse Vegetables, Asparagus, Herbs, New Vegetable Equipment and Labor/Farm Management.

On the second day, sessions on Direct Marketing 101, Agritainment, Raspberries/Blackberries, Tomatoes, Tree Fruit, Peaches, Potatoes, General Vegetables and GMO’s will be offered. The Convention will close on the third day with sessions on: Tree Fruit, Sweet Corn, Strawberries, Blueberries, Food Trends, Digital Marketing, High Tunnels, Season Extension, Cut Flowers, Cole Crops, Soil Health, Peppers/Eggplant and Value-Added Products.

The eighth annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest will be conducted during the Convention to determine the best tasting cider produced in the region. On January 28, fruit and vegetable growers will gather for the annual Fruit and Vegetable Growers Banquet which will include awards and recognitions. On January 29 there will be an Ice Cream Social in the evening.

Registration is required for all persons attending the Convention trade show or educational sessions.

A complete schedule is at the program page located on the MAFVC Web site.

For information on exhibiting at the Convention, contact Maureen Irvin, Convention Coordinator at 717-677-4184 or