Published on 07/11/17

Northern Nut Growers Association's annual conference to be held at UGA-Tifton

By Clint Thompson

Sustainable, efficient agricultural practices will be featured at this year’s Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) annual conference, which will be held at the Tifton Campus Conference Center from Aug. 13-16.

During next month’s conference, University of Georgia scientists will share the best practices for producing specialty crops, like citrus fruits, muscadine grapes and pecan trees.

“This is an important conference that UGA has the privilege of hosting and participating in. What better way to educate people than to introduce them to the research being done here on the UGA Tifton campus?” said UGA scientist Patrick Conner, who studies pecan tree and muscadine grape breeding.

Conference attendees will visit various research sites at UGA-Tifton, including a muscadine grape vineyard and pecan tree orchard, during the field trip portion of the conference on Wednesday, Aug. 16. They’ll also visit the Future Farmstead, an energy-efficient home that features an edible landscape consisting of crops researched and bred at UGA-Tifton.

“A lot of people attending this conference want to learn how to grow self-sustaining trees on a small property to provide food for families and friends,” said Jerry Henkin, NNGA conference chairman. “What better way to do that than through a conference like this at UGA-Tifton, where research is impacting people around the world?”

This year’s conference includes trips to Fort Valley State University; the U.S. Department of Agriculture station in Byron, Georgia; a tour of the Ellis Bros. Pecans facility in Vienna, Georgia; and a stop at the Horse Creek Winery in Sparks, Georgia.

“Our goal in coming to the University of Georgia and south Georgia is to meet people from the Southeast, go over the best ways to grow nuts and fruits, (and to) introduce our members to different crops that are produced in the Southeast as a commercial crop and can be grown in the backyard,” Henkin said.

The NNGA consists of people interested in growing and producing nut trees. The members range from experts in nut-tree cultivation to those who are interested in learning to plant a tree.

The NNGA meets once a year. Members visit amateur and commercial orchards, experimental and research sites, local nurseries, and nut-processing plants.

Those interested in registering for the event can visit the conference’s website at for more information. Registration is also available the day of the event.

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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