Tangi-Washington Grower Update - 21 December 2023

To receive a notification through the Remind text messaging system when a Tangi-Washington Grower Update is posted, please contact Mary Helen Ferguson. Click here for links to previous Tangi-Washington Grower Updates.

I want to share several updates. One is a request for input from current and prospective horticultural crop growers in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. If you’re a grower in one of these two parishes, please take a few minutes to respond to this questionnaire by January 15. I also want to call your attention to the Agritourism Education Meeting scheduled for February 23 in Hammond, as well as the annual announcement of sweet potato seed availability. You’ll find information about other events and resources, too.

The Watermelon Education Meeting (Franklinton) is tentatively scheduled for 6 PM on either Tuesday, January 23, or Tuesday, January 30. More information about this meeting will be provided in January.

Tangipahoa and Washington Parish Horticultural Crop Producer Questionnaire

Each year, the LSU AgCenter seeks input from client groups to help set priorities for the upcoming year. To get input from commercial horticultural crop growers in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, I’ve created this short questionnaire. If you are a current or prospective commercial horticultural crop (vegetable, fruit, nut, nursery, greenhouse, etc.) grower, please give me your input. The questionnaire will remain open until Monday, January 15. (Of course, you can contact me directly to give input at any time of year.)

Sweet Potato Seed Orders Accepted Through January 12

The Sweet Potato Research Station now has an online form for taking orders for sweet potato “seed” from the AgCenter’s Foundation Seed Program. Orders submitted online are due by Friday, January 12, 2024. If you are in Tangipahoa or Washington Parish and want to submit your order through me, please contact me by Monday, January 8.

The variety Beauregard is available for $25 per 40-pound box. Bayou Belle, Bonita, Burgundy, Murasaki, Orleans, Porto Rico, and Sakura are available at $16 per 20-pound box. Commercial growers needing large quantities of seed can purchase 25-box bins of Bayou Belle, Beauregard, or Orleans roots for $485, plus the cost of the bin. Quantities of Evangeline are limited this year, so roots are not offered at this time, but the Sweet Potato Research Station will sell Evangeline slips in the spring. If you would like to order slips, please contact the Sweet Potato Research Station directly, beginning in late February.

A licensing fee of $500 for up to 250 acres of production is charged for the patented varieties Bayou Belle, Burgundy, Murasaki, and Orleans, but those who will be growing less than one acre of sweet potatoes are exempt from this fee.

Variety descriptions are available here. Sakura is not included on that page, but a description of it can be found in the sweet potato section of this list. Some additional information about growing sweet potatoes is available here.

Growers who raise sweet potatoes to sell are required to have a Sweet Potato Dealer’s Permit from the Louisiana Dept. of Ag. and Forestry. Here in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, we are in the “pink tag” area, since we are within the area quarantined for the sweetpotato weevil.

Margie Jenkins Lecture Series Revived as Online Webinars – first Friday of the month (online)

From the organizers: “The Margie Jenkins Lecture Series, an educational session hosted by the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station is back, but this time it has gone virtual. We are shifting this educational seminar series to a monthly Lunch & Learn format, where the members of the Louisiana green industry and anyone else that is interested in our topics can join in and learn from the top professionals and scientists in our field. We will cover a wide variety of topics so be sure to join us on the first Friday of every month for an informative webinar. … Join our hosts Dr. Jeb Fields and Cari Jane Murray as we bring the presenters you want to hear directly to your computer or phone. Log on and bring your team. ...on the first Friday of every month. Sessions start at 11:30 AM.” (Contact me [Mary Helen] if you'd like the link for the webinars.)

Topics planned so far include The Margie Jenkins Azalea Garden – In the Beginning (January 5, Dr. Allen Owings) and Phytophthora Management in Nurseries (February 2, Dr. Raj Singh).

Louisiana Farmer's Climate Gathering – January 21-22 (Ville Platte)

Click here for more information or to reserve a spot.

2024 Precision Agriculture Summit – January 27 (Alexandria)

The focus this year is “Practical Applications for Improved Efficiency.” Additional information is anticipated and will likely be available through the LSU AgCenter Events page. Click here to register.

Mississippi Blueberry Education Workshops – February 8 (Hattiesburg) and February 15 (online)

Dr. Eric Stafne of Mississippi State University has announced dates for in-person (Feb. 8, 9 AM – 12 PM) and virtual (Feb. 15, 1-2 PM) blueberry education workshops. To get updates about the workshops and Mississippi Vaccinium Journal emails, contact Eric.

Agritourism Education Meeting – February 23 (Hammond)

Jessie Hoover and I have planned this event to assist people who are interested in agritourism. Speakers will address how to become a certified agritourism operation, insurance and financial considerations related to agritourism, and other topics. A panel of current agritourism operators will discuss their experiences and answer questions. This is intended primarily for people in the Florida Parishes region of Louisiana, but people from other places are welcome, also. Click here for more information, including information on how to RSVP.

Greenhouse Vegetable Short Course – February 27-28 (Verona, MS)

I think this Mississippi State University event is a great opportunity for those who currently grow or are interested in growing vegetables in greenhouses. Click here for more information and a registration link.

Regional and National Educational Opportunities

The 2024 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be held on January 11-14 in Savannah, GA.

The annual Gulf States Horticulture Expo, with educational sessions and a trade show, will take place January 24-26 in Mobile, AL.

The North American Strawberry Growers Association 2024 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held on January 28-31 in Hershey, PA.

Fall 2023 Edition of Small Fruit News Available

The Fall 2023 edition of Small Fruit News from the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium is available.

Nursery and Landscape Insider e-Newsletter Available

LSU AgCenter nursery Extension Specialist Dr. Jeb Fields is now Editor-at-Large of the Nursery and Landscape Insider e-Newsletter. Click here to read the most recent newsletter and here to subscribe.

(You may recall that, in a recent update, I mentioned Dr. Damon Abdi had recently revived the Hammond Research Station's Ornamental Updates. Contact him to request to be on that email list.)

New LSU AgCenter Publication Available

Rainwater Harvesting for Small Nurseries and Home Gardens

Let me know if you have questions.

Contact Mary Helen Ferguson, Ph.D.

The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

12/21/2023 5:44:02 PM
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