Published on 06/22/16

Inaugural Academy of Crop Production draws dozens of nursery growers

By Merritt Melancon

From unmanned aerial vehicles to remote-sensing greenhouse control systems, nursery and greenhouse growers explored the future of the green industry as part of the inaugural Academy of Crop Production (ACP), held June 12-15 in Athens, Georgia.

Hosted by the the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) and the University of Georgia Department of Horticulture, part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the three-day conference offered advanced training on topics including greenhouse business, employee management, pathogen control, ornamental breeding programs and new technology.

The conference brought together dozens of green industry leaders from the Southeast and across the country, with 18 leading horticulturists from 14 universities.

“The Academy of Crop Production was the direct result of listening to floriculture and nursery growers from across the nation who overwhelmingly wanted an educational event that addressed topics that were of value to them,” said Matt Chappell, associate professor and UGA Cooperative Extension nursery horticulturist. “Horticulture events often focus on consumers simply because there are more of them. To be successful, UGA and trade associations like the Georgia Green Industry Association need to equip producers with information that makes their businesses more profitable and sustainable.”

The new conference draws on the excitement surrounding annual UGA events like the Trial Gardens at UGA’s annual industry open house, held on June 15, and created a fun and valuable event for Southeastern ornamental growers, said Chris Butts, executive director of the GGIA. Organizers have already set the date for next year: June 19–21, 2017.

“The ACP provided growers with a unique learning experience focused on providing a comprehensive examination of important issues ranging from technical growing problems to keeping employees motivated,” Butts said. “No other conference covers such a wide range of topics while still providing detailed, technical solutions to make attendees better growers. The variety of topics and speakers makes this a one-of-a-kind offering that provides the industry an exceptional product at a great value.”

For more information about this year’s program, visit For photos from the conference, visit

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.

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