Published on 05/16/16

Inaugural Academy of Crop Production to be held in Athens, Georgia

By Matthew Chappell, Merritt Melancon

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Green Industry Association are inviting veteran nursery and greenhouse growers to “get nerdy” with them this summer at the inaugural Academy of Crop Production, June 12-15 at Hotel Indigo in Athens, Georgia.

Organized for greenhouse managers, nursery growers and landscape designers who want a more in-depth educational experience, the three-day Academy of Crop Production will include 18 speakers from 14 universities.

“Growers across the nation have been asking for more “high-level” education targeted at nursery managers and owners,” said Paul Thomas, an Extension horticulturist at UGA and one of the academy’s organizers. “There are lots of trade show type programs out there that target introductory-type ideas. But our content is more in-depth and technical, while maintaining that friendly and fun atmosphere that we are known for in the Southeast."

The goal of organizing the academy was to give experienced green industry professionals access to the most cutting-edge crop production research available in a non-academic and fun atmosphere.

Topics will include employee management, variety trial reports, the best uses of smart irrigation and unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

"It’s going to be a great time for people who love plants and plant production to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing their operations, and to learn from some of the best experts in the field," said Matt Chappell, an Extension nursery horticulturist with UGA Extension.

“It is a jam-packed program meant to focus on new products, technologies and processes that will improve profitability of participants,” Chappell said.

In addition to the daytime workshop session, the academy will be punctuated by events to allow participants and their families to socialize, including an opening night gala hosted by GGIA at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a pool party at UGA’s Legion Pool sponsored by Harrell’s Fertilizer, an evening banquet sponsored by Netafim USA and the UGA Trial Gardens Commercial Open House sponsored by Ball Horticultural.

As with most UGA Extension offerings, this conference will offer five to eight credit hours of pesticide continuing education credits and three to five hours of International Society of Arboriculture regional credits (depending upon state) for Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Registration costs $400 per participant. To register for the academy and to view the full schedule, visit

Discounted room rates for conference participants are available at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Athens. Reservations should be booked separately by calling (706) 546-0430 with hotel booking code "UGA Horticulture Commercial Agriculture." Conference pricing is available through May 31.

Matthew Chappell is a Cooperative Extension nursery production specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
Download Image